Mo­tor bus pi­o­neer loses ticket to ride

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

On Sun­day, about 9pm, Act­ingSergeant Horni­brook re­ceived a re­port that a man was ap­par­ently drown­ing in Ross Creek, cries hav­ing been heard in the wa­ter near Chap­man’s tim­ber­yard. Searchers in a boat later found the body of a man near the cen­tre of the creek op­po­site Stan­ley St. Per­sonal pa­pers sug­gested the un­for­tu­nate man was James Larkin, once em­ployed at Al­li­ga­tor Creek. Con­sta­ble Peter­son re­ported hav­ing seen him about 11 o’clock on Sun­day at South Townsville when he ap­peared to be suf­fer­ing from the ef­fects of liquor. There were no sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances and it is be­lieved the un­for­tu­nate man must have fallen into the wa­ter. MacRae’s Sta­dium, in Den­ham St will this evening be the scene of a thor­oughly up- to- date and high- class en­ter­tain­ment, hav­ing for its ob­ject the rais­ing of funds to ben­e­fit the Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal. In the midst of var­i­ous calls on the gen­eros­ity of Townsville cit­i­zens it is de­voutly to be hoped that the needs ot this most de­serv­ing in­sti­tu­tion will not be over­looked. Mad­den owned it, and he was rightly proud of his pi­o­neer mo­tor bus.

He owned, also, the big­gest team of horse buses run­ning in Townsville but he re­alised that the mo­tor had now got past the ex­per­i­men­tal stage of its evo­lu­tion.

Af­ter six months’ try­out of the lit­tle Dennis, his am­bi­tion be­gan to soar to won­der­ful heights.

Sand­wiched in be­tween the horse buses, the busy ma­chine had shown splen­did re­turns.

Then a big scheme to sud­denly, at one stroke, mo­torise half of Townsville’s bus ser­vices be­gan to gen­er­ate in Mad­den’s brain.

Ac­coun­tants and so­lic­i­tors were in­ter­viewed, next was the man­ager of the Bank of New South Wales, and last but not least Mr J. K. Me­han ( manag- ing editor of the TD Bul­letin). And, lo was born the Townsville Mo­tor Om­nibus Com­pany.

The new com­pany de­cided to put a fleet of nine mo­tor buses on the streets of Townsville, and this at their ear­li­est pos­si­ble date.

Mad­den in­sisted that all the mo­tors must be of the same make and one de­sign, and that the mak­ers of the suc­cess­ful or­der be obliged to also ac­com­pany the consignment with an engi­neer who thor­oughly un­der­stood the run­ning of the en­gines.

Be­hold! Mr [ J. H.] Tice, now of the Aus­tralian Automotive Agen­cies, ar­rived from Eng­land with a ship­ment of Dennis chas­sis of three tons ca­pac­ity.

Un­for­tu­nately the com­pany di­rec­tors then de­cided Mad- den was too young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced to man­age such a large con­cern.

That was first mis­take.

In re­plac­ing Mad­den they dis­pensed with the only man who re­ally un­der­stood pas­sen­ger traf­fic.

One af­ter another, mis­take af­ter mis­take fol­lowed in quick suc­ces­sion, and the com­pany went into liq­ui­da­tion.

But the worth of a good power- plant at the front of a bus in­stead of a pair of horses had by now been firmly es­tab­lished in the minds of any­one not bi­ased.

The first big com­pany had gone, but from the ru­ins grew, and grew, the very fine pas­sen­ger ser­vices which con­nect our sprawl­ing city to­day.

[ Townsville Daily March 18,1926]




Share your mo­ment in time with Bul­letin read­ers. Email your story and pic­ture/ s to ian. frazer@ news. com. au or phone Ian on 4722 4523 Pic­ture: JAMES COOK UNIVER­SITY SPE­CIAL COL­LEC­TIONS ARCHIVE

Driv­ers and ve­hi­cles from the Townsville Mo­tor Om­nibus Co Ltd, The Strand rock­face, c. 1912.

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