Bill and Harry be­gin new busi­ness in Dalby which be­comes ma­jor suc­cess

Dalby Herald - - FRONT PAGE - With Ray Humphrys

BILL Napier was only 21 when his fa­ther died.

How­ever the young man had re­ceived a good ed­u­ca­tion at Waver­ley Pub­lic School in New South Wales.

The fam­ily had con­ducted a newsagency and fancy goods busi­ness and af­ter his fa­ther’s death he was called upon to as­sist his mother in run­ning the busi­ness.

Dur­ing that time he mar­ried his wife Ma­bel and af­ter a time de­cided to do some­thing dif­fer­ent.

He then went on the land in part­ner­ship with his brother Harry in 1923.

Six years later the fam­ily de­cided to move north to Queens­land, along with his mother, brother and wife, and set­tled on land at Beel­bee, not far from Dalby, and started farm­ing.

They seemed to do well and in 1942 the brothers were able to pur­chase an­other farm at Pir­rin­uan.

By this time Bill and Ma­bel had four chil­dren.

Harry had some train­ing in en­gi­neer­ing while Bill was good at busi­ness and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

It was war time and fuel was scarce so Harry de­vel­oped a gas pro­ducer to be fit­ted to ve­hi­cles.

Soon their busi­ness was pro­duc­ing Napier Gas Pro­duc­ers which were fit­ted to cars, trucks and trac­tors.

They had moved their busi­ness to Dalby and some 500 units of the pro­duc­ers were man­u­fac­tured and sold.

The gas pro­duc­ers were not small but were fit­ted in the back of trucks and util­i­ties.

Some were also mounted on a trailer and pulled by the ve­hi­cle such as a car.

Char­coal or wood was fired to pro­duce the gas as fuel was ra­tioned and in short sup­ply.

At the end of the war, the firm changed to man­u­fac­tur­ing other items and soon gained a rep­u­ta­tion for mak­ing farm equip­ment.

Harry was do­ing most of the de­sign work while Bill man­aged the busi­ness.

The Beel­bee prop­erty was sold as it be­came nec­es­sary to ex­pand the busi­ness.

They moved from Eileen Street and es­tab­lished a foundry on the western side of Dalby.

Prior to this the brothers were able to pur­chase the Ford Mo­tor and Trac­tor fran­chise which was moved to Patrick Street and pro­gressed well.

The suc­cess of their busi­ness en­cour­aged more work­ers to come to town and 84 new homes were built.

Bill Napier formed ter­mi­nat­ing build­ing so­ci­eties to pro­vide hous­ing for the work­ers.

He was the foun­da­tion chair­man of Di­rec­tors of Napier Brothers Ltd and was a di­rec­tor for 20 years.

Apart from his work in the fam­ily en­ter­prises he was ex­tremely ac­tive in other fields.

Ed­u­ca­tional, sport­ing, cul­tural, re­li­gious and other or­gan­i­sa­tions re­ceived his val­ued sup­port.

In 1964, Bill and Ma­bel Napier re­tired to Tu­gun on the coast where they re­mained for the rest of their lives.

Prior to this the brothers were able to pur­chase the Ford Mo­tor and Trac­tor fran­chise which was moved to Patrick Street and pro­gressed well.


IN­NO­VA­TORS: Dur­ing World War II, gas pro­duc­ers were fit­ted to all types of ve­hi­cles. The Napier Brothers of Dalby man­u­fac­tured many for the lo­cal de­mand.

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