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Billy Carts

This is the definition according to Wikipedia

A soapbox car (also variously known as a soapbox cart, and especially in Australia, billy cart) is a motorless vehicle capable of holding a driver (usually a child) built for the purpose of racing or recreation. Propelled by gravity, soapbox cars can reach upwards of 50 km/h (30 miles per hour). Originally, soapbox cars were built from wooden soap (or orange) crates and rollerskate wheels, but have grown more sophisticated over time, with materials like aluminum and fiberglass being utilized.

In the United Kingdom a soapbox car is called a buggy, trolley, cart. It is also sometimes called a go-cart, although that now more usually refers to a similar vehicle with a motor, spelt "go kart". In Scotland and northern England it can also be called a bogie, cartie/cairtie or guider.

In addition to being built by children, there are organised competitions and races ("soapbox or billycart derby") that often engage the enthusiasm of adults. However, these things are usually entered into in a spirit of fun rather than serious competition. Often they will be fund-raisers for charity. Many, but not all, events impose the following rules:

Our definition is something on four wheels that gets you down the hill quickly!

The Billy Cart Bash

Billy Cart Bashes have continued to the present

The Billy Cart Bash started as a 'Soap Box Derby' run by the Castlemaine Apex Club in 1949. Back then carts ran two at a time (side by side) down Lyttleton Street, which was sealed for the event. Bashes such as Apex and the Ginger Meggs derby  have not only raised much needed funds but have been a great deal of fun for Kids. for more information on Apex soap box visit

Or The Ginger Meggs Derby

Billycarts are traditionally made from 'found' materials, either scrounged in the neighbourhood or from the local dump. The best carts were, of course, made by the children themselves, though doubtless there were some fathers who helped either with expertise or with supplies. If the neighbourhood boasted of anything approaching a hill, this added to the delight as rivals raced downhill. A brake might be an additional luxury.

In addition to the half pram/lawnmower and box combinations, came the Down -hill racers these were far more complex and ingenious from their counter parts. Ron Christiansen has sent some old photos and information about such a racer made in 1944 By Harold Cheesman to raise money for the "war effort' In WW2, thousands of children formed groups such as the Ginger Meggs Salvage Corps who used their billy carts to collect salvaged rubber, paper, car batteries and even bones. The materials were either recycled or sold to raise money towards the war effort through the Schools Patriotic Fund (SPF). Ginger Meggs was a well loved cartoon character at the time.

Harold's Workshop was a lean to off the side fence of his back yard, no vice or bench, hand tools only and a breast drill.

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