Model T Ford Stories

The Trevan Family Ford Dealership

100 Years of History


By Bob Trevan

The name of Trevan and the Ford Motor Car have been synonymous for a very long time and now in 2010 it becomes special as they celebrate a 100 year association.

Around 1909 RH Trevan Snr started driving part time a Ford T Taxi Cab based in Martin Place in Sydney. This was in addition to his normal foreman position in the motor cycle firm of Bennett & Barker. When 11 new Taxi licenses were to be issued it was thought the taxi game was starting to be overcrowded so RH and the taxi owner drove the cab to the then progressive township of Lismore on the Far North Coast of NSW. On arrival the car was kept very busy taking locals for a ride around the CBD in what was viewed as this new fangled invention.

RH was soon to open Lismore’s second garage and his first Ford T sale came after one of his client’s Motor Buggy burnt to the ground during servicing. This car new Ford car came via the NSW Ford Distributor Davies and Fehon and thus began the love/hate association with this company that lasted until he helped oust them in 1925. (Refer the Darwin Report from Herbert French back to Ford Canada re Ford operations in Australia).

In 1916 RH was appointed the sole Ford agent for Ford cars in the area from the Queensland/NSW border south to near Grafton and inland to near Tenterfield.

Lismore NSW, Australia 1919

With the cessation of WW I in 1918 it was a case of RH quickly setting up branches in Casino, Kyogle, Murwillumbah, Mullumbimby and Ballina to take advantage of the sales that had the “T” holding 50% of the market.
Casino Branch

Ballina Branch

Murwillumbah Branch

By 1927 the Trevan outlets had sold 1750 Model T’s but with the Ford Motor Company starting to manufacture in Geelong in 1925 there came the push for more sales and Ford was soon to start implementing it’s policy of breaking up the territories of big dealers to give localised areas to cashed up independent operators. Ford started to take RH’s branches away and by the late 1930’s he was left with only Lismore and Ballina territories.

When WW II broke out the Trevan operation was classified as an essential industry which meant that the firm was to be on call 24 hours per day to service the army vehicles based locally and especially at the Evans Head training airport. After the cessation of WW II in 1945 it was back to selling the Ford product (if the dealers could get any!)

In 1961 the founder RH Trevan Snr passed away and thus began the start of his family of three boys serving their time as Dealer Principal. My turn came in 1996 and by 2005 I had worked for the company for 52 years. With no interest in the motor industry from the third generation of Trevans I decided to sell the company to a family that was keen to keep the Trevan Ford name operative. This they have done and I have lately worked with them on creating a great 100 years of Trading Celebration Day where 30 Ford T’s and A’s graced the showroom and car display yards.

The Trevan Ford Dealership Today

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