Sir Bruce Small Official

Sir Bruce Small
From Malvern Star To Mr Gold Coast

The extraordinary story of a man born into hardship who became a legend in Australian sport and politics, appearing in thousands of news headlines for half a century. As a brilliant entrepreneur and visionary, Sir Bruce Small built his bicycle empire into a household name, found fame managing cycling icon ‘Oppy’ and, as Gold Coast Mayor, transformed Surfers Paradise into a tourist mecca.

“This is destined to become one of the most important books on Australian cycling history.”

“Few men become a legend in their own lifetime. Sir Bruce, who rose from humble beginnings, was one of the remarkable few.”
— GOLD COAST BULLETIN, Gold Coast newspaper

“The Sir Bruce Small story is more relevant than ever … an essentially Australian story of opportunity and accomplishment. Sir Bruce Small’s life reminds us that our best years are often in front of us, and that dreams happen with hard work and dedication. His story reminds us of what is possible. His ideals endure and his dream shall never die. The legacy of Sir Bruce Small lives on and now the story is told.”
— THE HON. ROB BORBIDGE AO, former Premier of Queensland

“My father (‘Oppy’) and Bruce were like brothers. Over the years they would tell me all the stories of their years travelling the world together … with the thousands of fans lining the streets and packed into the velodromes of Australia and Europe. Enjoy a ripping read during which an icon of Australia is honoured.”
— IAN OPPERMAN, son of ‘Oppy’, cycling champion
Sir Hubert Opperman


Years in the making, this all-encompassing official biography lifts the curtain on the incredible life of the late Sir Bruce Small. The extraordinary story of a man born into hardship who became a legend in Australian sport and politics, appearing in thousands of news headlines for more than half a century.

A brilliant entrepreneur and visionary, he built a bicycle empire into a household name. Mayor and parliamentarian for Queensland’s Gold Coast, Sir Bruce Small transformed Surfers Paradise into a tourist mecca and developed canal estates now worth billions.

This visually captivating book features over 260 stunning photographs including never-before seen memories from the private collections of Sir Bruce and his best friend, the famous world champion cyclist ‘Oppy’, through to his flamboyant years as Mr Gold Coast promoting tourism with ‘bikini girl’ tours from Tasmania to Tokyo.

Combining 100 personal interviews – including with world champions, political leaders and family – and highly detailed research from over 110 newspapers, books and journals, Rachel Syers meticulously weaves the rich tapestry of a spectacular public success story and a surprising personal life of philanthropy, community service, love and loyalty.

Along the way we are treated to a comprehensive history of how Malvern Star became the largest bicycle business in the southern hemisphere, and entertaining tales of the Gold Coast’s most vibrant decades of tourism, political turmoil and development.


  • A pioneer of Australian cycling: His team winning ‘The Ashes’ of cycling in England, creating a legend in Paris, managing the first Tour de France Australian teams.
  • The untold story of ‘cycling soulmates’ Bruce and Oppy: finding world fame together, their legacy inspiring a generation, exclusive with Oppy’s son.
  • Cycling history: mentions more than 60 champions, 30 international races, 50 Australian rides and races including Oppy’s final ride setting 101 records in 24 hours.


  • Famous ‘bikini girl tours’ to over 45 towns around Australia, NZ and Japan.
  • The visionary: developing swampland into ‘Paradise’, designing Jan Juc and Jindabyne.
  • Millionaire Mayor of the people: donating all his political wages, supporting over 100 clubs, a lifetime of community service.
Photo strip above – left photo by Ken Ball; right photo by Samuel J Hood


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