Saturday, July 1, 2017

Thames (NZ): New Fire Truck 1912

Well, every once and awhile it pays to keep researching past sites. A new photo I had missed is on the Auckland Libraries website from their Sir George Grey Collection.

The caption reads: "A MOTOR FIRE ENGINE FOR THE THAMES. Last week the Wakatere shipped a motor fire engine for the Thames Brigade. The motor driven engines are replacing the horse-drawn vehicles in nearly all the up-to-date brigades in the country, and, in fact, they have entirely ousted the horse in Auckland city."
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZG-19120724-23-2
On the 19th July 1912, a large gathering assembled at the Thames Central Fire Station to celebrate the inauguration of the new motor reel service. The chassis had been imported from England and fitted out by Dexter and Crozier in Auckland. Money had been principally raised by members of the public, the cost of the machine was 518 Pounds and 19 shillings.

UPDATE 1 April 2018
If you read the comments below, you will see that I was alerted to the fact that the old fire truck still exists and has been adapted back into a tourer. The following image comings from the Palmerston North Boys High School website - please respect the possible copyright requirements of the photo.
Thames' old 1912 Fire Truck now restored.


  1. The car is a Cadillac, so unlikely to have been imported from England. Much more likely to have come from the USA. Dexter and Crozier were the Cadillac agents in Auckland. This may well be the same vehicle which exists today, returned to touring car form, in the hands of the McLachlan family of Southbridge near Christchurch.

    1. Click the dexter crozier link, they define toy got the chassis from England but of course it could have previously come from US. Do you have a photo you could post of car today?

  2. Sorry I have not got back to this one sooner. Over the years I have found several references to this car. In the book series The Way We Were, in the BOP/Thames/Coromandel issue there is a photo of the car as a fire engine - but taken, when I do not know. I assume it was in the mid 1950s. A photo of it taken in Blenheim in 1960, on its way to a rally in the North Island, turned up on facebook recently. I traced that photo to the archives of the Marlborough Express. If you click through to #49 of 62 in this link you will find it. I don't have a good recent photo of the car but I did find this link. If you scroll down the page you will find a photo of the car with John Hastilow at the wheel. John Hastilow is John McLachlan's son-in-law and has inherited the car. The car was restored as a tourer more than 50 years ago and is still in very good order.

    1. Amazing photo many thanks for sharing, I will make a note and also let the local researcher know who collects Fire Brigade History.