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Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives

Does anyone know what a Moleyn Car looks like?

Rachel Hollis is an archivist working in Public Access at State Records NSW

Have you seen our latest Online Gallery?

Robbery Under Arms: The Eveleigh Payroll Heist, 1914

The gallery tells the story of the Eveleigh payroll robbery which took place on 10 June 1914. What makes this crime unique is not only the fact that it was committed in the middle of the day in a busy area but that it has been reported to be the first robbery in Australia where a get away car was used.

The Herald 11 June described it as:

the most sensational exploit of the criminal fraternity. The Eveleigh holdup is surely unique of its kind in the history of Australia…The most striking feature of the whole episode is the careful manner in which it was planned.

The thinly veiled admiration of the culprits is clear.

The crims

The daring robbers managed to escape with £3302 but not for long. Samuel (Jewey) Freeman was arrested at Strathfield Station just two weeks after the heist.  Ernest Alexander (Shiner) Ryan headed to Melbourne where he was eventually caught, but not before he wined and dined his way around Sydney spending the Eveleigh payroll on expensive jewellery, a new wardrobe, champagne and gifts for people. Well, he couldn’t be accused of not knowing how to have a good time.

A link to Kate Leigh

When we found out that the infamous Kate Leigh decided to provide Jewey with an alibi for a crime he committed a few days before the Eveleigh robbery, it all started becoming very interesting.

To gain support for her story Kate attempted to ‘persuade’ Raymond Moore (a resident in one of her houses) to collaborate her story. If you are thinking Kate’s persuasive techniques involved a nice little chat, you are wrong – think more along the lines of a “tommyhawk (sic.) “and words to the effect of

I will cut your bloody head off, you bastard.

Kate Leigh could be very persuasive when she wanted to be. Kate’s story backfired; she was charged with perjury, found guilty and spent 5 years in Long Bay.

Piecing together the story using the archives

Creating this exhibition was like putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. We hold Supreme Court deposition court papers, where the witness statements and words of the accused bring the events alive. Complimenting this series are the gaol photographs; now the voices from the deposition have faces. The police service cards provided extra background information into the individual police involved in the case. The railway photographs set the scene, and the list goes on.

The missing piece of the puzzle – can you help?

One item that wasn’t found in the records was a photograph of the car used in this famous case. According to the Superintendent of Police, Walter Henry Childs, who discovered the car was a Moleyn Car.

Can you help us find a photograph or a example from a car catalogue which illustrates what this make of car looks like?

  • enno says:

    I don’t think there was any such car as a “Moleyn” car. I think it is a typo or misspelling for something else.

    September 26, 2011 at 11:43 am
  • enno says:

    Try one of these

    September 26, 2011 at 11:46 am
  • Sue says:

    Try “Moline” AND “antique” and “car” in google images and a few 19110-20 models are shown – all in the US though. Also one on trove at

    September 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm
  • JennysOldCars says:

    It would be a Moline motor car. Modest but sturdy 4 cylinder vehicles the Moline came from a small US manufacturer that previously built stationary engines. Molines were sold in Sydney in the pre-war period by B&R Motor Co. ,Circular Quay then in Castlereagh Street. Lacking a significant distribution network in Australia and battling competition from the major makes Moline was another of the makes that failed to make it into the 1920s.

    September 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm
  • Fiona Sullivan says:

    Thanks for that @enno! I do believe you’ve cracked it.

    Edited to add: Thanks also @Sue and @Jennysoldcars. Somehow I took so long to respond to @enno’s comment the two of you managed to slip in between!

    September 26, 2011 at 1:07 pm
  • Alistair says:

    As an employee of NSWGR I was accustomed to being paid at a battery propelled fork lift truck. As it trundled across the 33 rail tracks at the Chullora workshops where I worked, the paymaster would clutch the money case as they bumped bumped along. I THINK it possibly was a 4 wheeled railcar, standard gauge.

    September 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    I was wondering about “Moleyn” too; glad it has been sorted. Here are a few contemporary Moline pictures and adverts – I don’t know which model or year was used – . I am surprised Molines didn’t take on a cult status and sell like hot cakes as a result, like the Subaru WRXs used by ram-raiders in the 1990s.

    September 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm
  • Rachel Hollis says:

    Interesting about the misspelling – that will explain why I couldn’t seem to find any information on the Moleyn. I love the images – now we can really imagine the heist in action. Great the final piece of the puzzle has been found!

    October 1, 2011 at 11:38 am
  • Anthea Brown says:

    Isn’t it a fantastic car! Probably not the best for a getaway, though, you might be able to run faster.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:11 am
  • Elias says:

    Dear Rachel Hollis

    Great work. I was wondering if you are able to do a seminar regarding your research at my organisation? We work with NSW Police in law enforcement.


    July 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm
  • Rachel Hollis says:

    Thanks Elias, I will reply to you by email.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm