Highlights from the history of Macaulay Motors which is now in its 75th year of operations are recalled in the following account.
75 YEARS IN THE SOUTH
The company was incorporated on 22nd November 1935 and on 4th December commenced operations in Invercargill by purchasing the assets of the old established firm of G W Woods & Company who had been the Ford dealers in Southland since early in the century.
The garage was at the rear of what is now Waxy O'Sheas with access down an alleyway. Almost immediately the major problem was conjested floor space and within 12 months investigations were being made for larger premises. As a temporary expedient additional premises were leased for a vehicle bulk store and a used car reconditioning department. World Ward II delayed the expansion plans but the bulk store was retained and during the war was sublet for the storage of wool.
In 1942 the main Dee Street premises now Spotlight were purchased from the Ward Estate plus a block of buildings fronting Dee Street now Waxy O'Sheas. Then followed a complete redesigning of the premises. War time building restrictions and existing tenancies delayed immediate building alterations but soon steady progress was made. Originally a Livery & Bait Stables the Dee Street premises were seriously damaged by fire in 1915. During the course of the blaze the roof collapsed and a new roof was built on the existing walls.
In 1956 at a cost of over 20,000 pounds the dealership built new showrooms, offices, a parts and accessories division and staff facilities. During the course of demolishing the old offices there were still signs of the 1915 fire visible on the roof beams.
Earlier in 1954 5 houses an area of 3/5 of an acre were purchased further north at Avenal. The residences were demolished to permit the erection of a modern lubrication bay, truck servicing and tractor departments on the east side of Dee Street.
These additions still proved inadequate and in 1962 a further ½ acre opposite was acquired. This provided a modern new car pre delivery section, a truck and tractor parts department, truck servicing shop and used car department. This new area began operations in 1964 leaving the central city area as purely a new car sales site with servicing and parts department.
Successively over the years the dealership acquired more property bordering Fox Street & Liffey Streets. The old dairy on the corner was demolished along with several houses to make way for a new workshop. The finale of the centralisation of the Avenal sites was agreed in 1977 following the recession in the motor industry, with the decision to centralise all parts and workshop operations at Avenal. This meant that Macaulay Motors for the 1st time in some 20 years had all of its facilities in the one area.
The site has undergone many changes and significant expansion since the late 70's.
The original Avenal 1 site now Avenal Park Funeral Home and Riverside Rentals, was sold and tractors moved to our current site in the early 80's.
With a great deal of our clients in the Queenstown area a Service operation was opened in 1990. With the significant growth seen in the Wakatipu area over the last 20 years we now have a full Ford and Mazda Dealership with Parts, Service, New and Used vehicle sales in the Frankton Industrial Estate.
In 1995 a new company called Southland Tractors was formed and it was decided in 2001 to move the tractor operation to a purpose built facility, so land was purchased at Lorneville and a new dealership was built for Tractor operations which opened in August 2002.
In April 2004 Macaulay Motors took over the Mazda Franchise for Southland. A new showroom was built on our current site at Avenal to accommodate the Mazda brand and this opened in 2006.
In 2005 two properties directly opposite on Fox Street were purchased which is now our parking area for all New and Used vehicles.
In 2008 the Pizza Hut property was purchased on the North West Corner of Dee and Fox Streets, the building was demolished and our Used Commercial and Budget Yards now occupy this area.
Macaulay Motors 75th anniversary celebrations will culminate with a staff reunion which is to be held over the weekend of 20th and 21st November.