Glen Innes history: From coach to car

Hard at work: A historic scene at Chaffey coachworks in Glen Innes circa 1900.
Hard at work: A historic scene at Chaffey coachworks in Glen Innes circa 1900.

In 1883, an advertisement appeared in the Glen Innes Examiner: “New Coach and Buggy factory, next Tattersalls Hotel, Grey Street, Glen Innes.

“JF Chaffey & Co Beg to inform the Residents of Glen Innes and District that they have COMMENCED BUSINESS, as above and hope by attention and superior Workmanship to merit a fair share of patronage.

“Buggies, Carriages and Carts of every description made to order on the shortest notice of the very best material. All work in the trade made equal to any in the colony. Orders will have prompt attention and despatch.  CHARGES MODERATE.”

Those horse-drawn vehicles received prizes at the northern shows and James Frederick himself was asked to judge vehicles at the Royal Easter Show.

The Ford car has proved itself time and again – proved that it is the most suitable car for Australia’s rough country...

The Examiner reported on May 18, 1890 at Bourke Street: “…As one enters the large doors … the first vehicle to take our eye was an improvised butcher’s cart…the painting and lettering is somewhat unique … A cart for Mr Utz was just receiving the finishing touches, also on the stocks was a commercial drag for Mr Cubis of Emmaville; whilst a handsome phaeton sulky unit to the order of Mr G Matthews, is a splendid piece of workmanship. … a buckboard for the use of Mr W T Burridge  completed the inspection.”

Eventually, he took his sons into the business and being realistic about the future, acquired the Ford agency and weathered the transition from the horse to the horseless carriage.

The advertisement in the Glen Innes Guardian newspaper on Thursday, May 20, 1915: “REDUCTION IN THE PRICE OF FORD CARS – Five Passenger Touring cards £195 FOB Sydney. 2 Passenger Runabout £180 FOB Sydney.

“HERE ARE THE REASONS! The car itself, the low purchase price and the small upkeep and expense. The Ford car has proved itself time and again – proved that it is the most suitable car for Australia’s rough country – proved by the Ford record miles to one gallon of petrol – that it is the most economical car.”

J. F. Chaffey, mayor in 1908, was one of the prominent business people in Glen Innes and there are many stories to come about his productive life.