Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 12, October 1969
[see part one in Journal 11: Brenan and Company - E]
By W.P. SNELGAR
Brenan and Company did not become an incorporated Company until October 15th 1920, the first meeting of shareholders being held on November 2nd 1920. Present were Messrs Joseph Brenan, Philip Brenan, Henry Bush, Frederick Wilson and Dick Chamberlain. Dick Chamberlain at this time was chief farrier in charge of the blacksmiths shop and Frederick Wilson was motor engineer in charge of the garage.
The garage property in Belmont Road (next to the Royal Mail Hotel) was purchased from the Medhurst family in 1919. (The firm amongst its other activities, ran taxis from here and in the early 1950's rental cars). However the 20's saw the transition from horse to motor transport entailing a big outlay for new plant.
As a result of Mr. Philip Brenan's drive, Brenan and Company continued to progress even through the depression years of the early 1930's. In spite of giving generously to public services, Mr. Brenan ran the business very efficiently indeed and steadily developed its activities in every direction. It was during his stewardship that the firm extended its activities outside the area of the Thames Valley, thus laying the stepping stones for the firm to become a powerful organisation in modern transport, involving a very large staff and about 120 vehicles.
The first petroleum products to come into the Thames Valley district were carried in four-gallon tins by water transport and Brenan & Company established a small storage depot for these. Later 44-gallon drums took over, followed by tankers. The Atlantic Union Oil Company (New Zealand) Limited established the company as direct agents on October 25th 1928, and Mr. Laurie Knight was the first oil company representative. Subsequently, Brenan & Company controlled a bulk storage depot for the Oil Company and at the peak of this depot's operation in 1956, 2½ million gallons of petrol alone per annum was being distributed by Brenan & Company over the Coromandel Peninsula, Thames Valley, Hauraki Plains, Waihi, Katikati, Te Aroha, Morrinsville, Matamata, Putaruru, Tokoroa and Mangakino districts.
Early freight from Auckland was carried by ship up the Waihou River. When the Northern Steam Ship Company ceased these operations, a Company called Northern Road Transport Limited was formed, owned partly by Brenan and Company and the shipping company. On April 7th, 1947 the first Paeroa-Auckland goods service by road was started when Mr. Alan Crosby and Mr. Walter (Mac) Te Moananui took two trucks, loaded with butter and cheese, to Auckland and returned with goods. (Both of these men are at present employed by Provincial Transport Limited). There were three trucks used on this Auckland run and they were named after the ships they replaced, Wakatere, Waimarie and Hauiti. In 1951 the licenses of this Company were transferred in full to Brenan & Company and this road haulage grew into the daily service between Auckland, Paeroa, Waihi and Te Aroha.
The Company purchased its quarry in Station Road in 1949 and the first major contract to come from this quarry was for 20,000 cubic yards to fill the land on which the Kerepehi Dairy factory was built.
After Mr. Philip Brenan's death in 1945 Mr. Reg Ganley became Manager until 1949 and he was followed by Mr. Ben McDonald 1949-1954, Mr. Reg Shaw 1954-63. Mr. Eric Joseph Brenan has followed as Chairman of Directors. In 1956 Mr. Neil Clarke was appointed Director of the Company and he took over as Managing Director when Mr. Reg Shaw relinquished the position of Manager following a serious illness. In August 1964 the Company purchased the old established business of Stembridge & Gerrand whose office and depot were in Princes Street opposite the swimming baths and the Company, for the first time branched, into the fields of stock cartage and manure spreading.
In October of 1965 Brenan & Company amalgamated its interests with another long established carrying business in the district, Sarjants Transport Limited and the name chosen for the new combined Company was Provincial Transport Limited, with Mr. Gilbert Sarjant and Mr. Neil Clarke as Joint Managing Directors and Mr. Eric Joseph Brenan as Chairman of Directors. In early 1968 Provincial Transport Limited purchased six acres of land in Puke Road and the main office, and Paeroa transport and Paeroa garage sides of the business, were transferred to the fine new premises at present occupied.
The old Depot (formerly Stables) and blacksmiths shop buildings (together with the old Brocket and Shand shop) on the corner of Belmont Road and William Street that had housed Brenan & Company for most of its life was sold to the Government when Provincial Transport moved to its new premises. The old buildings were demolished in mid 1968, leaving no trace there of one of Paeroa's pioneer firms.
OUR CONTRIBUTOR: MR. W. SNELGAR was the youngest of a local farming family of 10 who lived first at Mackaytown and later at Paeroa and Wharepoa. He is the Office Manager for Provincial Transport having gained wide experience during his 20 years service, and is now responsible for the supervision of the Company's accounting and administrative departments.