Petrol station opens after fire
with all brands of motor spirits, oils, tyres, accessories and an expert electrical, battery and tyre service, Mr Howill advised.
On April 7, 1930, the Bulletin reported Townsville fire brigade had the previous morning extinguished a blaze dangerously close to a bowser at the filling station on the northern corner of Stokes and Sturt Sts.
“On arrival at the scene of the fire, which was Noel’s Filling Station, at the corner of Sturt and Stokes streets, it was found that the flexible feed pipe from the petrol bowser had caught alight and the escaping petrol was blazing merrily.
“With the aid of two fire snow extinguishers, the fire was suppressed and the danger over.
“Inquiries show that the cause of the outbreak was some attendant foolishly striking a match to examine the gauge. Very little damage was done, and the bowser was operating as usual during Sunday.’’
A public notice on May 17 announced that under instructions from the mortgagee, tenders were invited for the purchase of Noel’s Filling Station on the corner of Stokes and Sturt Sts. This led a fortnight later to the birth of Sturt Street’s second “Olympia’’, the first being the Olympia Theatre, just across the road from Noel’s ill- fated enterprise.
Townsville boasted between 800 to 1000 registered motor cars in 1929, according to a report by the local branch of the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, published in the Bulletin in February 1930.
Numbers had increased steadily through the decade, from 224 licensed motor vehicles in 1921.
In October 1930, the State Labor MP for Kennedy, Harry Bruce, complained to Country Progressive National Party Premier Arthur Moore that fixing the retail price of petrol had boosted sales of tinned petrol at the expense of service stations.
Men who had put their money into petrol pumps and service stations were facing ruin and sales of Shellkol, containing 15 per cent Queensland- manufactured power alcohol, had been seriously affected, Mr Bruce said.