Friday, October 20, 2017

Thames (NZ): Book - William White pioneering bus & coach operator of Thames

Photographs of Thames streets in the 1900s-1940s are fascinating for the images contained within the image. Of particular interest are the modes of transport that are glimpsed. Whether it be a horse and cab, an early bicycle, the first cars or buses that travelled the streets of Thames.

There is a 22 page booklet written by Clive Otway and Sean Millar in 2014 that covers the history of the buses that were operated by William White of Thames. A name that will be familiar to many old Thames families who will no doubt have had relatives who travelled on one of William White's fleet of vehicles.

The full title of the book is: William White pioneering bus & coach operator of Thames; A4 soft cover, ISBN 9780908726967.  There are several 'never before seen' photographs from the White family collection. (Cover right)
Purchase details are online.

BACKGROUND: Mr White was educated at Waiokaraka School in Thames and in the early days set up a cab service around 1902.  (Notice below) In 1907 White sold the cab business to Mr Meehan.

Thames Star 10 March 1947
Mr William White started back in business at Thames around 1910, after a stint in Coromandel as the proprietor of the 'Star and Garter Hotel'. In 1913 Mr White advertised he had purchased a beautiful Cadillac and that his garage was by the Karaka Creek, telephone number 40.

Then in 1914, the business was purchased by Mr Bowles, but soon after Mr White again has the business as Mr Bowles was leaving to go to the war.

The business grew until 1920 when a large concrete building was erected at the north end of Pollen Street, which would in 1947 be purchased by New Zealand Railways. A full history of the bus services are contained within the book by Otway & Millar.

Mr William White died 9 March 1947 at Remuera. The Obituary in the Thames Star 10 March 1947 heralded the amazing service given by Mr White to the town. Once the road was established to Auckland in 1924, White's provided an invaluable transport link to the city. Mr White was also a chief supporter of sport in the town, and had presented several rugby championship cups (Centennial and White cups).

Mr White's funeral took place at the St Paul's Church, and the burial at the Hillsboro Cemetery, Auckland. Mr White's obituary notice stated he was survived by three daughters (Mrs A Dovell, Mrs S Steele, and Mrs A R Johnston), and three sons (Messrs Roy and Ralph White of Auckland and Mr Leo White of Thames). William's wife Mary Ann had died 19 December 1944.