Backward Glance: Driving and motor garage memories - Part 2
  • Wednesday 12 December 2018
This week we continue with part two of the history of driving and garages in the early days.

A motor garage opened in the ginger growing township of Buderim in 1930, not far from where the Buderim Ginger factory once stood.

By 1946 it was known as Perkins Garage with a small residence at the rear of the garage for Charles Perkins and his family.

Throughout the 1950s this garage was the place to see monthly demonstrations of Australian built Holden cars.

In 1989, John Vandenberghe bought the business and changed the name to Vandy's.

The original garage was small, with a wooden floored workshop, mechanical petrol pumps and a gravel driveway.

Later, a larger repair workshop was added with a below ground grease pit.

It was a Shell petrol station, providing personalised service and mechanical repairs.

During the 1950s, Holden dominated the Australian car market with steady production of not only sedans but the innovative utility which really set the scene as being an all-purpose farm vehicle fondly known in Australia as “the ute’.

In 1958, Holden vehicle sales accounted for more than 40% of total car sales in Australia.

The iconic FJ Holden, built in 1953 with upgrades to engine power and sporting plenty of chrome, was a “must have” for many motoring enthusiasts.

At the height of its popularity, Australia’s Holden had more than 300 dealerships nationwide.

Excitement came to Maroochydore in February 1954 when Mr and Mrs J F Weir of the Beach Service Station promoted their new Shell lubritorium.

Mr Weir described the building as having full length, glass folding doors which gave the motorist easy access to the building, as well as being brightly lit by fluorescent lamps allowing night-time visitors a view of a welcoming interior.

The local newspaper, the Maroochy Advertiser, paid a visit to the Shell lubritorium where Mr Weir demonstrated the latest hydraulic hoist capable of lifting 6000 pounds to a height of five feet in a few seconds.

The impressive hoist was supplied by a three horse power, three phase motor which drove an air compressor which allowed easy access to clean spark plugs, test machines as well as access the difficult parts of the motor.

It also provided a free air service for pumping up tubed tyres.

Another advantage of the latest lubritorium service was the battery trickle charger which sent a small charge of electric current through several batteries ensuring the Near North Coast customer or visitor that they would get an efficient battery and not one deteriorated by non-use.

Another company which drew attention in 1954 was Dent Motor Co (phone 269) of Main Street, Maroochydore advertising their garage business as having everything the motorist would require.

Dent Motor Co guaranteed the motorist their company provided a prompt and efficient lubritorium service, as well as fast and slow battery charging.

The fittingly named Dent’s also sold Austin cars and were agents for car insurance, just in case your car might be involved in a motoring accident.

Neatly arranged on a mobile display stand was a comprehensive range of motorist’s requirements, including car polish, polishing clothes, brushes and tapes.

The Shell Panorama Roadhouse on the Bruce Highway, Nambour was officially opened by D A Low, MLA in 1955.

A bustling centre, due to its location on the major highway at the time, it included a café and balcony for outdoor dining overlooking the scenic vista of pineapple farms and the sugar town of Nambour.

There have been many service stations in Nambour over the years as it was the main business centre of the Sunshine Coast.

Some of you may remember the days when full driveway service was provided at all service stations.

Attendants were on duty to pump the petrol into the car, to check under the bonnet to ensure the oil and water were full, as well as clean the windscreen and check the tyre pressure if required.

Those were the days when you could drive in to the service station, have everything attended to and not even get out of the car.

Nambour’s General Motors garage, originally constructed in 1954, was situated on the southern side of Howard Street and then traded as the Ampol Service Station.

In April 1967, the site was taken over by Bayley and Grace Motors Dealers for Toyota and Mercedes Benz.

This company relocated to Coronation Avenue in 1978 and in the same year, Rod Smith Parts and Bearing Company began trading from the Howard Street premises.

Today the major highway for this region, the Bruce Highway running from Brisbane to Cairns, is catered for with large modern rest stops and fuel outlets for all types of road vehicles, including long distance haulage trucks, buses and family vehicles.

Names and locations of car related business outlets may have changed, but the automobile is still the most common mode of transport today and for the foreseeable future.

Gone is the need for the goggles and dust jackets of the early days.

New developments in vehicle design will continue to change the way we move from place to place, but there will always be a need for service and maintenance.

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images.

Image captions

Hero image: Les Everingham's Mobilgas Garage, Maroochydore, 1959.

Carousel image 1: Ampol Service Station and showrooms in Howard Street, Nambour, 1967.

Carousel image 2 General Motors garage, Howard Street, ca 1960.

Carousel image 3: Everingham's Mobilgas garage grand re-opening, Maroochydore, 1959.