New Zealand Classic Car - - Report -

You feel an im­me­di­ate sense of pride when you talk to South­landers about the ef­forts a ded­i­cated team has put in, achiev­ing the com­ple­tion of Bill Richard­son Trans­port World, on Tay Street in In­ver­cargill. Opened in De­cem­ber 2015, this stun­ning piece of art-deco de­sign has been com­ple­mented by the re­cent open­ing of one of the big­gest col­lec­tions of clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cles in the southern hemi­sphere.

Now named ‘Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Mecca’, and lo­cated fur­ther along Tay Street in the cen­tral city, it was of­fi­cially opened dur­ing the Burt Munro Rally on Novem­ber 23, 2016, by UK mo­tor­cy­cle racer and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Guy Martin.

The sep­a­rate mo­tor­cy­cle ex­hi­bi­tion evolved af­ter it was re­al­ized that the col­lec­tion of more than 300 ma­chines and as­so­ci­ated arte­facts would have been far too big to house at Bill Richard­son Trans­port World, so an al­ter­na­tive site was lo­cated to do it jus­tice.

South­land truck­ing iden­tity Bill Richard­son died in 2005, but the trans­port legacy he cre­ated lives on in this land­mark build­ing. It was a huge project, largely driven by his daugh­ter, Jo­ce­lyn O’don­nell, who, with hus­band Scott O’don­nell, is a di­rec­tor of the col­lec­tion. To­gether with the Richard­son fam­ily and en­thu­si­asts, they turned her fa­ther’s pas­sion into re­al­ity, cre­at­ing one of the largest col­lec­tions of its kind in the world and a must-see on any hol­i­day itin­er­ary, with some­thing to en­ter­tain all the fam­ily.

Both com­plexes are also bril­liant time cap­sules of many facets of the growth of the South­land re­gion, with the mo­tor­cy­cle ex­hi­bi­tion cap­tur­ing no­table his­toric mo­ments in its own right.

The suc­cess of Bill Richard­son Trans­port World at herald­ing a di­rec­tion for fu­ture projects in the re­gion has been im­me­di­ate. Shortly af­ter the open­ing of the Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Mecca, the sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­de­vel­oped tourism in­dus­try in the south re­ceived a pos­i­tive $2.4M boost from gov­ern­ment, an­nounced by min­is­ters Steven Joyce and Nathan Guy, as part of an over­all Southern Re­gional Devel­op­ment Plan. Held ap­pro­pri­ately at a func­tion at Bill Richard­son Trans­port World on Novem­ber 30, 2016, Mr Joyce said it was part of a con­tin­u­ing in­vest­ment in southern devel­op­ment in a num­ber of ar­eas to en­cour­age pri­vate in­vest­ment.

Bill Richard­son’s legacy

The growth of the mo­tor in­dus­try and, in par­tic­u­lar, the trans­port in­dus­try and re­lated ser­vices from the early days of the prov­ince was cru­cial to the devel­op­ment of South­land and its vast area. It was only nat­u­ral that it pro­duced a wide va­ri­ety of in­no­va­tive in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies, who were not only in­volved in es­tab­lish­ing the in­dus­try but have also sought to pre­serve its legacy through their con­tin­u­ing in­volve­ment to­day.

Jim Cooper, for ex­am­ple, fol­lowed a sim­i­lar busi­ness devel­op­ment at Tu­at­a­pere, with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests to Bill in truck­ing, and he ex­panded into Aus­tralia. He also had a pas­sion for trucks, and many of Jim’s col­lec­tion of cars and trucks are now on dis­play at Bill Richard­son Trans­port World.

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