Thursday, April 1, 2021

Visiting Lockhart NSW: Billabong Motors

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In 1935 Mr JM Smith established the firm of I M Smith and Co. which carried with it the Ford Company franchise in Urana. The motor business was registered in 1950 under the name of Billabong Motors. In 1959 the Ford Motor Company extended the franchise to take in the Lockhart district. Then in October 1962, the old garage formerly occupied by Mr Darcy McDougall in Urana Street was purchased and the business opened in Lockhart.

Ernie Rockliff, son-in-law of M Smith, purchased an Interest in Billabong Motors in 1962 and conducted the Lockhart section of the business so successfully that in 1968 major building extensions were carried out costing $30,000.

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On 28 October 1968, a dinner to celebrate the opening of the new extensions was held at the Lockhart Ex-Servicemen's Club and was chaired by Mr J M Smith. The guests walked to Billabong Motors where after several speeches, Mr Wal Fife officially opened the new building by cutting a blue ribbon. Tarpaulins covering the new building were then dropped and the lights turned on. Supper and drinks were then served

Roger Pigdon was appointed head mechanic and provided vast experience in the automotive industry and electrical field. At the height of trading, the staff numbers in the two centres grew to 24. Billabong Motors Phone in Lockhart was 199.

Along with his partner Anthony Smith, Ernie travelled to USA on two occasions for the official Australian Dealer visit meeting top Ford Company officials.

Billabong Motors provided valuable employment to the Lockhart community and supported the district with excellent service through the Ford Company franchise winning consistent yearly awards in the 1970's and 1980's for outstanding sales and performance in car and farm machinery sales. Both Ernie Rockliff and his son Andrew continued to service the Lockhart district for many years until Ernie retired. Andrew eventually downsized the business and rented the premises until it was sold to the Lockhart & District Historical Society

Text supplied by Greens Gunyah Museum, Lockhart

More: Lockhart at Aussie Towns

Some more images from inside the museum.

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Mapping Australia's coastline

Every map tells a story; it reflects the individual mapmaker's particular perception of the world. Maps are a graphic representation of how we understand the condition of the human world based on concepts and events. They show the location of items and places and the spatial relationship between them. Specific cultural symbols and lines are often used to illustrate geographical features.

Matthew Flinders

Matthew Flinders. Published by Joyce Gold, Naval Chronicle Office, 1814. Courtesy of the National Library of Australia: nla.pic-an9455829-1-v.

European mapping is based on Western concepts as they relate to geographical space. From the early 1500s to the 1800s, maps represented religious and political views of the communities that the map makers were serving as well as the scientific knowledge at the time. Artistic beauty was combined with geographical information because of the intention to sell the map or please a patron or employer.

Friday, March 12, 2021

South Australia: In the beginning

Colonel William Light
 Firm steps to establish the province of South Australia were taken in August 1834, by the Imperial Government when Colonisation Commissioners were appointed. Captain (afterwards Rear-Admiral Sir) John Hindmarsh became first Governor and Colonel William Light first Surveyor-General.

The instructions issued by the Commissioners concerning the selection of a site for the capital of the new province were as follows:

When you have determined the site of the first town, you will proceed to lay it out in accordance with the regulations. You will make the streets of ample width, and arrange them with reference to the convenience of the inhabitants, and the beauty and salubrity of the town; and you will make the necessary reserves for squares, public walks and quays.

The following letter dated 13 July 1836 (the original of which is in the possession of the Adelaide City Council) from Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Taylor, Private Secretary to King William IV, to Governor Hindmarsh, communicated the command of the Monarch that the capital of South Australia should be named after his consort, Queen Adelaide.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Motorcycle racing history at Woodside, SA

Motorcycle races at Woodside, October, 1949.
Motorcycle races at Woodside SA, October 1949. National Motor Museum Collection

Racing and competition have been an important element of motorcycle culture from the start, beginning with friendly club competitions and road races. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Stanthorpe Heritage Museum has fifteen buildings and more than 20,000 items

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School Residence (1894): The North Maryands schoolhouse features displays of a schoolroom, kitchenalia, religious vestments. banking office and photographic equipment.

Ardmore House (1920): This was one of five summer holiday homes built in Stanthorpe during the 1920s. It houses hospital, ambulance, dental, bathroom, bedroom, music, toy, domestic and textile collections plus the local Italian history.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Visiting Tibooburra in Outback NSW


There is something impossibly romantic about Tibooburra; there it is in the far north-western corner (Corner Country) of New South Wales. Tibooburra is 335 km north of Broken Hill, 1504 km north-west of Sydney, 900 km from Adelaide. It seems so isolated and yet it is full of friendliness and activity.

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