- Wednesday 21 October 2015
Access to the Sunshine Coast in its earliest days involved long difficult trips over roughly constructed tracks and roads via trains, coaches, wagons or on foot.
The rise of the motor car resulted in the construction of better roads that opened up the Sunshine Coast for discovery by many more people. This increase in the use of motor vehicles required the construction of places to provide fuel, repairs and servicing – the local garage or service station.
Dotted around the Sunshine Coast, these essential local businesses provided for motorist’s needs and were also often the dealerships for the sale of cars.
The growth of the number of these businesses mirrored the increased accessibility of motor vehicles for families and businesses, on the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere. This improved transport for goods, services and people enhanced access to areas of the Sunshine Coast for locals and visitors and it was the trusty local garage that kept everyone on the road!
Edward Aspland founded the Returned Soldiers' Garage (pictured) in 1919 and in 1924 he was joined by Edgar Wells, a fellow returned soldier from World War I.
The first petrol bowsers were installed in front of the garage office in December 1923. On March 31, 1926 the garage, along with eight other business premises in Currie Street, was destroyed by fire along with eight other business premises in Currie Street. A new brick garage was opened on the site in October 1926. The building comprised two showroom windows for the display of motor accessories and a vehicle, an office and main garage space with shelving for parts, tyres etc.
At the rear was a shed for storing machinery and a ramp was fitted at the end of the building for washing cars.
Over the years, the garage was an agent/dealer for various makes of vehicles and their products including Overland, Ford and Dodge. Edgar Wells continued the business after Edward Aspland retired in September 1955.
Learn more about the Coast’s unique history by reading our Backward Glance series. There’s a new story every Wednesday.