Newsletter for the Point Chevalier Historical Society

No. 36 May 2014
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Times
The decade hadn’t even begun when the first company, the Thomas Dignan-associated Pt Chevalier Motor Bus Com-
pany, went into liquidation. For the next ten years, however, things got a bit hairy out on the dirt roads leading from the
city to the beach.

After the dominance of the original Motor Bus Company, the pattern seemed to be to licence two operators to serve Point
Chevalier, on alternating timetables, so as to provide residents with (on average) a half-hourly service at least. This
however did not always work out that way for most of the decade.
The Buses of the Point in the Roaring Twenties
by Lisa J Truttman
more inside
Calendar
Meetings—2014
10.30 at the Horticultural Society rooms, 990 Great North Road, Western Springs
19 June—Ray Walter, on life in the Lighthouse Service
21 August—To be decided
15 October—John La Roche, on the History of Auckland’s Water Supply
27 November—Graham Walton, on the History of Eden Park

Annual Point Chevalier Reunion 2014
at Point Chevalier RSA, Great North Road, Pt Chevalier, 1 pm, Saturday 28 June 2014
From the organisers: “Our yearly get together is back on for all the people who grew up in Pt. Chevalier in the
1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.” Contact: Jan Williams cell ph 0274928 or landline (09)8155335

1925 Reo bus with a Gallagher/Buck body licensed to carry 19 seated.
Photo from the Garth W Stewart collection and from Dick Sterling via Graham C Stewart.
The Lupton-Williamson Feud

Frederick John Williamson’s Point Chevalier bus service
began on 21 December 1919, after the liquidation of the
earlier Motor Bus Company. His rival, Percy Adelbert
Lupton’s bus service to the beach, began around the
same time. The public complained about the timetables
of both businesses, that instead of providing an alternat-
ing half-hourly service to the city between them, they
often clumped their buses together, competing for the
passengers’ coin. Just before amalgamation with Point
Chevalier in 1921, Auckland City Council called them
both in, and got Lupton and Williamson to sign a mutu-
ally arranged and agreed to timetable on 9 December
1920. They both gave, as an undertaking, “that in future
they would conduct the service in a manner satisfactory
to all parties.”

This entente cordiale between the two men didn’t last
long.

From Council’s files, we know that on 7 January 1921:
Lupton complained that Williamson wasn’t keeping to
the agreed timetable. 15 January 1921: Williamson
complained that Lupton wasn’t keeping to the agreed
timetable. 19 January 1921: Kelly, Williamson’s driver,
complained about Lupton’s dangerous driving, causing
damage to his bus. 8 February 1921: Lupton, complaint
against Williamson, the timetable. 22 April 1921: both
Lupton and Williamson were warned by the Council that
if they didn’t follow the timetable, they’d have to
appear before Council. 30 April 1921: the feud reached
the courts.

“Trade rivalry in the motor bus transport run between
Point Chevalier and the city was stated to be behind
charges against Percy Lupton, of negligent driving of
his bus, and of assault. Both Lupton and Lionel
[Hector Bates] Kelly, the informant, admitted the
rivalry, but claimed that it was a thing apart from the
charges. Kelly stated that as he was driving his bus
along the road, he was overtaken by Lupton's bus,
which was rushed past his vehicle without the horn
being sounded, and was then swerved so abruptly in
front of him that in order to avoid damage to his
machine by collision he had to turn sharply to the left,
and struck a lamp post on the path. Lupton stated that
he sounded his horn and did not cut across sharply in
front of the other bus. He suggested that unskilful driv-
ing was the reason for Kelly's bus colliding with the
lamp post. After considering the evidence on both
sides, the magistrate fined defendant £3 and costs.
“The second charge, heard separately, was to the
effect that some days after the incident of the lamp-
post, Lupton assaulted Kelly by getting on his bus and
striking him. Kelly testified to that effect, stating he
tried to push Lupton away with his foot. Lupton's
version was that after just avoiding an accident owing
to Kelly stopping his bus sharply in front of his and in
the track of his, he went merely to tell Kelly that sort of
thing would have to cease, and he was kicked by Kelly.
Pt Chevalier Historical Society
Minutes of meeting Thursday 17
th
April 2014
Auckland Horticultural Council Rooms

Meeting started at 10.30 am. Present: 18 people
Apologies: Pam Bell, Pam Burrell, Max Catlin, Nita Clews, Des Gates, Neil Hogan, Valerie Long-
worth, Dot Tasker, Maurie Whallen,
President :
Welcomed members, guest speaker (David Wong)
Treasurer
00 account $1348.18
01 account $923.55
Term Deposit $2000
Vice President: will report on the recent meeting of NZ Federation Historical Societies at the next
meeting
Motion: That PCHS cover half of Lisa’s costs($180) spent on attending annual meeting of the NZ
Federation of Historical Societies). (Turner/ Jones). Approved
Guest speaker: David Wong spoke about the experiences of the Chinese in early Auckland
Meeting concluded : 11.30am
Next meeting: Ray Walter will speak on the NZ Lighthouse Service
The magistrate informed Lupton that his action was
provocative, when he might have taken other proceed-
ings, and fined him 20/ and costs.” (Auckland Star 30
April 1921)

More timetable problems, this time by Williamson,
who was cautioned, and in November 1921 both
Williamson and Lupton were called in again to Coun-
cil offices and put their signatures to a new set of
agreed timetables. From January to June 1922 how-
ever, Council received numerous complaints from
members of the public about the dangerous driving of
both Lupton and Williamson. On 17 February Lupton
was convicted of assaulting Williamson and bound
over to keep the peace for 12 months. On 6 May,
Lupton was convicted of assaulting a Williamson
driver named Merrick and fined £5. On 21 June,
Lupton complained that Williamson wasn’t keeping to
the agreed timetable. On 11 July 1922, they were both
brought before the Council’s Finance and Legal
Committee and warned that any further breaches of
Council’s by-laws would result in their licenses being
revoked.

On 29 January 1923, however, on the second day of a
beach and queen carnival held by the Pt Chevalier
Sailing Club over Anniversary Weekend, with
“numerous races and competitions, mock courts, baby
shows, and castle building competitions for the chil-
dren. Jazzing will be held on both nights. Admission
will be free”, Lupton found that a number of other out-
side operators from elsewhere on the isthmus took ad-
vantage of the crowds attracted to the events. He lost
his cool again.

“Percy Lupton, motor-bus proprietor, denied having
committed mischief by wilfully damaging a motor-bus,
the property of Horace Southgate, to the extent of £1
15s 10d. Defendant ran a regular service between the
tram terminus and Point Chevalier, but on January 29,
when a beach carnival was being held, other vehicles
were plying for hire on that route. Evidence was given
that complainant's bus had been left standing at the
dead end of a road. Lupton backed his bus near to it,
looked round, and then, giving his steering wheel a
turn, deliberately backed into the other bus. It was
stated that defendant resented any other bus drivers
doing business at Point Chevalier. Defendant con-
tended that plaintiff's bus was on the wrong side of the
road and he did not see it. Defendant was fined £5 and
costs, in default seven days' imprisonment.” (NZ
Herald 8 March 1923)

There were still more timetable complaints. On
5 March 1923, Pt Chevalier resident F McGrath com-
plained “that both Williamson and Lupton continually
fight each other and do not observe the timetable.”
On 22 March 1923, the Council cancelled Lupton’s
own omnibus driver’s license for a time. Some resi-
dents in Pt Chevalier got law firm Dignan, Armstrong,
Jordan & Jordan to write to the Council a day before to
say “the interests of the District will be prejudicially
effected [sic] and that some injustice will be done to
the above if his License is cancelled …” Lupton’s
license was restored by August 1923.

During his unlicensed period, in May 1923, Lupton’s
rivalry for the route with Williamson came to a head –
and yet another court hearing.

“What was described as another episode in a feud of
old-standing resulted in the appearance in the Police
Court this morning of two bus-men, Frederick John
Williamson, proprietor, of Point Chevalier, and Arthur
Flynn, driver for a rival proprietor named Lupton,
each being charged with the use of threatening behav-
iour in Great North Road on May 12. Williamson's
story was that he left Point Chevalier beach for Grey
Two more Gallagher 1925 Reo buses. Photo from the Garth W Stewart collection and from Dick Sterling via Graham C
Stewart.
Lynn with a few
passengers at
6 . 3 5 p . m .
Lupton' s bus
came along be-
hind, and passed
at a very fast rate
of speed, cutting
across the front
of Williamson's
bus, with the re-
sult that the last-
named had to
turn sharply to
the left to avoid a
collision. Flynn
was the driver,
and Williamson
felt sure that this
had been done
d e l i b e r a t e l y .
Later, words
passed between
the two and
Flynn struck Williamson in the face. Flynn, witness
asserted, was drunk—swearing, and in Williamson's
opinion, was not in a fit state to drive a bus. The whole
of the trouble arose out of Lupton's practice of running
a special bus at 6.33 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays,
from Point Chevalier. Flynn declared that his bus had
skidded and accidently cut in front of Williamson's
bus, causing the last-named to pull up. It was William-
son's fault for driving too near the middle of the road.
He denied having used obscene language, and denied
likewise that he was drunk. He hit Williamson only
when the last-named pushed him. "He said he would
throw me away if I did not go away."

"There will be a fatality out there yet if this sort of
thing continues," remarked Mr J E Wilson, SM. Flynn
was fined £2, and the information against Willlamson
was dismissed. The magistrate observed that there
would be an end to the trouble if the parties were re-
fused licenses.” (Auckland Star 15 June 1923)

A memo from the Council’s traffic inspector dated 28
May 1923 advised “a mutual feeling of bitterness ex-
ists between Williamson and Lupton, and, according to
the reports of residents at Point Chevalier, the irregu-
lar manner in which the respective ‘buses are run
accentuates this feeling.” Two days earlier the same
inspector wrote, “The Point Chevalier ‘bus service as
conducted by Williamson and Lupton is most unsatis-
factory. It is only when checked by this Department
there is any attempt to adhere to the official time table.
These men bitterly dislike one another and institute
Court proceedings against each other on the slightest
pretext.”

30 June 1923: Another resident from Pt Chevalier, J W
Scott, complained, claiming that “one of Williamson’s
drivers had called him a liar.” 29 August 1923, the
traffic department for Auckland City Council put on
file a list of the complaints and other matters arising
from the services offered by both proprietors. William-
son had nearly lost his own licence in June 1923, but
Auckland City Council’s decision to do so was over-
turned by the courts in November. He continued to
operate through to July 1924 at least.

Percy Lupton tried one last time to complain that Wil-
liamson wasn’t keeping to the timetable and was driv-
ing while unlicensed, but Council decided to take no
action. Lupton was declared bankrupt in December
1923.

“The bankrupt's statement set out that he started a
motor-bus service at Point Chevalier in 1919 with two
Ford vehicles. One of these was damaged beyond re-
pair in an accident at Waikumete, and its loss was a
severe blow to the business. Later he purchased two
larger buses on the hire purchase system, but he was
unable to maintain regular payments, and they were
returned to the motor dealer. The failure of the busi-
ness was attributed by bankrupt to lack of capital,
competition and sickness.” (NZ Herald 21 December
1923)

The Auckland Motor Bus Company

Another firm, the Auckland Motor Bus Company, ap-
pears amongst those running from Pt Chevalier to Pitt
Street by September 1923, with four buses by May
1924 and a fifth reported as soon to join them on the
road. (Auckland Star 31 May 1924). This was run by
Allan Alfred Thomas Wintour, based at Windmill
Road, Mt Eden. On 7 October 1923 he had a Pt Cheva-
lier-Pitt Street timetable approved by Auckland Coun-
cil. The company was incorporated on 18 August
1924, made up of Wintour, his wife Esther, and an-
other bus proprietor Francis Herbert Smith. To begin
with, however, there appears to have been a single bus,
and it was in direct competition with the existing ser-
vices. A resident named N Lilley of Meola Road re-
ported to the Council that the new service was under
fire from the old.

“As a resident of Pt Chevalier, and a constant user of
the Motor Bus Service, I would like to draw your atten-
tion to the underhand work that interested parties are
inflicting on the proprietor of the new bus, just recently
put on the road. This man, in endeavouring to further
the convenience of the travelling public, has seen fit to
run a first-class bus, charging the usual fare. Not sat-
isfied with this, the opposition have done and are do-
ing all in their power to run him off the road. They are
making threatening remarks daily and after stating
they would put broken glass on the road, for him, they
carried their threat into effect this week and covered
the road with glass in order to damage his tyres. Being
a passenger, I can vouch for this. Also whenever they
have the opportunity, they get in front of this motor
and impede his progress by going slow and refusing to






















From ACC 275-22-749,
Auckland Council Archives
make room to pass …”

The company also had prob-
lems with the Council –
forced to move their stop
away from Pitt Street and into
Beresford Street, due to re-
ports that they were compet-
ing with the tram service on
other routes. Wintour and
Smith withdrew their buses
completely for a time in July
1924. For a time, there was a
race organised by the Pt
Chevalier Sailing Club called
“the race for the Auckland
Motor Bus Company’s Cup”
by March 1925, reportedly
still competed for down to
1932. In September 1925
however, the company was
charged with permitting buses
to be used with faulty brakes,
and four drivers were fined:
Brodie Smith, Horace S
Webb, Ernest James Daniels
and W E Skinner (NZ Herald
19 September 1925). The
company was wound up on 10
October 1925; not to be con-
fused with the later (1929)
Auckland Bus Company started by William Iddeson in
New Lynn. The Wintours took up dairy farming in
Waimauku, Allan Wintour becoming a director of the
Kaipara Co-operative Dairy Factory in Helensville
from the early 1930s.

F G Watkinson
From July 1924, a service including Pt Chevalier as a
destination, operated by Frodsham Glasgow Watkin-
son (born c.1899), had begun, based at 53 Hinemoa
Road, Grey Lynn, and Bollard Road in Point Cheva-
lier. Watkinson used at least two Ford buses, and a
Chase bus bought from T B Dunderdale. He also de-
clared bankruptcy in the end, in May 1926, attributing
his business’ failure to the buses being of the “wrong
type”, too light to handle Pt Chevalier’s rough roads,
with breakdowns and heavy tyre wear a constant.
When he couldn’t keep up repayments, J W Andrews
repossessed his two Fords in January, during the busy
period (Watkinson must have repaid that debt, for he
got the buses back). Then the Auckland Motor Bus
Company withdrew a bus he’d hired from them. Fi-
nally the two Fords Watkinson had managed get back
from repossession were lost to a fire on 23 February
1926. Left with one bus, the Chase, he started a new
run from Dominion Road to Blockhouse Bay, but Dun-
derdale and a firm called Cars Limited repossessed
Watkinson’s last bus, and refused to return it even after
some Blockhouse Bay residents offered to pay the
debt.
Gallagher and Reliance
Sydney Harold Gallagher and Richard “Dick” Sterling
were the operators of the Gallaghers bus company at Pt
Chevalier from the middle of 1926. S H Gallagher ap-
pears to have run a motor garage in Pukekohe in the
early 1920s. By 1925, he may have been one of the
partners at Gallagher and Buck’s in Grey Lynn, deal-
ing with charabanc bodies. From around July 1925,
“Gallagher’s Reliance Bus Service” was running a full
timetable from Pitt Street to Pt Chevalier via the Zoo
and the Old Stone Jug. By 1926, William Iddeson, J
Gaddis and F D Harris operated the “Reliance Bus
Service” to and from Pt Chevalier, and Gallagher had
formed a new partnership with Sterling.
Motor-omnibus Traffic Act 1926
In late November 1924, the Motor Omnibus Bill was
drafted. This provided for the establishment of an advi-
sory committee to licence motor bus traffic in both the
city and suburbs. On 7 June 1926, a public meeting
was held at the Coronation Hall in Pt Chevalier to dis-
cuss the new bus regulations, among the listed speak-
ers S H Gallagher and an Auckland chemist and politi-
cal gadfly to the Council, Harold Schmidt. In July,
Gallagher applied for and was granted a temporary

NZ Herald 14 August 1925
licence to run his buses by the Council, with the new
regulations pending. In September 1926, Gallagher’s
offered a special link service between the city and the
Ambassador Theatre for a dance club night. In that
same month the Prime Minister Gordon Coates was
reported as being determined, along with other mem-
bers of the Reform Party, to see the Bill pushed
through Parliament with up to 40 amendments.
The new Act came into force on 1 November 1926. By
then, there were 9 buses used by Auckland Council for
the Pt Chevalier tram connection service. The two re-
maining private operators: Gallagher & Sterling (5 Reo
buses, 1 Republic), and Reliance Bus Co (2 Grahams,
1 Sanford, 1 Bessemer, 1 United and a United chassis),
asked for £4590 and £5324.7.10 respectively for their
vehicles. They received around half that amount.
Another, smaller operator, Andrew James Markey
(also in the tourist excursion sedan charabanc busi-
ness) ran two buses between the city and Pt Chevalier.
His offer to have his buses taken over by Council were
declined, as he was not seen as being in direct compe-
tition with the Council’s service. Markey from 1927
operated a special sedan service from the GPO to the
Dixieland cabaret. E L White, running a bus to and
from Pt Chevalier as well, also had his offer declined
by Council in 1926 for the same reason as Markey.
The Auckland community bus revolt
This began in reaction to the dominant control of the
tram feeder services by Auckland City Council under
the 1926 Act. Right from the start, districts which were
not, at that point, part of the City Council area felt that
the new Act had restricted their public transport
options, especially those areas still quite a distance
from tram terminuses. West Auckland district repre-
sentatives, meeting at Avondale in November, were
especially vocal in condemning the regulations, calling
for an interim committee of magistrates, pending
establishment of a true transport board.
A group of Three Kings and Mt Eden residents in the
same month, attending a meeting at the Mt Roskill
Public Hall held by Harold Schmidt who put forward
the idea, established the first “suburban transit and
social club” with the aim of circumventing the trans-
port regulations and to bring down the cost of public
transport. “Mr. Schmidt considered that 125 members
could maintain a bus that would have seating accom-
modation for 24 passengers, and a service of about 16
trips a day could be arranged. The members would be
classified in two groups. Group A members would
have to pay 4s weekly, being entitled to travel as often
as they liked through the day; and group B members
would be subject to a weekly maintenance fee based at
6/8, and allowing the holder, his wife, and all children


A nasty crash between
a Gallagher &
Reliance bus and a
Polar Ice Cream Co
truck, 24 January
1926.

From NZ Herald 25
January 1926
under 16 to travel free upon the bus. Mr.
Schmidt said that £35 a week will cover
the costs of running.” (Auckland Star 12
November 1926) The buses used in the
revolt picked up and dropped off passen-
gers along their routes; the passengers
considered “members” of the social club
on providing a voluntary donation in a
box by the driver’s seat, said box some-
times labelled “for the relief of unem-
ployed drivers”. The community bus
revolt had begun.
By early June 1927 the revolt, which had
spread to the North Shore, reached Pt
Chevalier where three community buses
were put into service, operated by the
General Transit and Social Club, the third
such club set up, also providing services
for Parnell and Birkenhead. The owner-
ship of the buses used by the clubs was
kept a secret. The Council retaliated with
prosecutions which began on 15 June.
The eventual success of the prosecution
against the Mt Eden and Birkenhead clubs
led to the ceasing of the community bus services to and
from Pt Chevalier in the third week of July, but
Edward George Meynell (owner of the bus, a machin-
ery dealer from Sandringham and a bus man on routes
to Pt Chevalier from 1924-1926) and A Hassall
(driver) who had been running the Pt Chevalier service
were prosecuted on 3 August. Meynell was fined £5,
and later declared bankrupt in November 1928.
Auckland Transport Commission 1928
Gallagher and Sterling were not happy with the Coun-
cil takeover in 1926. They petitioned the House of
Representatives, seeking compensation for their losses,
and were heard in Wellington on 4 November 1927.
“The whole history of Mr. Gallagher's service, from
the day it was instituted to the time when it was bought
by the Auckland City Council, under the provisions of
the Act of 1926, was reviewed by Mr. A. Harris
(Waitemata). He sought to show that when Point
Chevalier people asked the City Council for a trans-
port service, the city refused the request. Point
Chevalier folk at that time had only an inadequate ser-
vice, which cost 1/. In July, 1924 [actually 1925], Gal-
lagher and his partner instituted a service, the cash
fare being sixpence, while the concession card rate
was fourpence. Apprentices were charged only 2/6 per
dozen rides, and there were penny fares for children.
Largely as a result of this service, which was rapidly
augmented, the district made tremendous strides.
Gallagher and his partner undoubtedly built up a sub-
stantial goodwill. Then, with only two days' notice to
the petitioners, the Auckland City Council, on
December 23, 1925, put municipal buses on the route
at the cut-throat fare of fourpence per cash trip. This
was done with the object of running petitioners off the
road. Petitioners had, of course, to reduce their fares
to fourpence. This competition continued for ten
months, with the result that petitioners lost £1557, and
the City Council approximately £6000 of the ratepay-
ers' money. When the legislation of 1926 was passed
no provision was made for goodwill, in connection
with the taking over by the City Council of petitioners'
buses.” (Auckland Star, 5 November 1927)
The Gallagher and Sterling petition went further to a
Government inquiry which led to the Auckland Trans-
port Commission of 1928. At the hearings that June,
Gallagher said he’d welcome the chance to re-establish
a Pt Chevalier bus service at the rate of fares set by the
City Council, and was keen not to compete with the
Council’s trams. The main gist of the numerous peti-
tions received by Parliament against the existing
system was that the private services before the City
Council took over under the Motor Omnibus Act
worked well enough (the numerous complaints were
forgotten), things didn’t work well under City Council
control, property values had declined as a result, and
there were calls for an independent transport board.
523 signatures came from Pt Chevalier, out of a total
of 15,667.
The end result was the creation of the Auckland Trans-
port Board in 1929, the first step toward the later
Auckland Regional Authority, and the beginning of
another chapter for the story of public transport to the
Point.

A similar Community Bus to those which served Point
Chevalier during the revolt. The Auckland Sun, 25 May
1927.
1925 Reo Gallaghers bus. Photo from the Garth W Stewart collection and from Dick Sterling via Graham C Stewart.
Membership of the Point Chevalier Historical Society
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Send cheques to: Pt Chevalier Historical Society, C/- 119C Hutchinson Avenue
New Lynn, Auckland 0600

Your membership fees mean that we can keep publishing the Point Chevalier Times.
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