Keeping Up With Local Gossip?

H Newell and children in front of Kelmscott Garage, ca 1940 petrol

Since cars began to compete with horses, service stations have been around such as Newell’s on Albany Road Kelmscott opposite The Ponderosa.

Whilst offering fuel and oil, the attendants would check your tyre pressures, fluid levels, wipers and battery whilst keeping up with the local gossip. Original servos offered several brands of fuel, it wasn’t until Golden Fleece came on to the scene that suppliers began to establish themselves such as Plume, Esso, Shell, Mobil, BP, Caltex, Neptune and others.

Shell Floreat 1967

Shell seen here in Floreat and Esso on Central Road Rossmoyne would employ up to 7 local children of a Saturday morning to cope with the number of locals filling up before the stations closed at midday. Friendly cheerful service and if they noticed anything, a service area attached to the servo always had a mechanic on hand to look after any issues.


In the case of Mr and Mrs Mercer’s garage, they stored peoples caravans onsite, serviced peoples cars, motorbikes and engines plus their son built race cars to go to Wanneroo on the weekends.

petrol tins bp zoom

Each service station began to appeal to customers offering their own brands of lubricants , boat and lawn mower fuels  to keep you coming back. These tins and oil bottles are highly sort after today.

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And speaking of the weekend, servos would close by law at midday Saturday and a sign such as this would be hung in the window to display the nearest roster station. It never paid to run your tank low because some rosters would be a fair hike to reach. It often paid to check the Western Mail and Sunday Independent for locations.

Iam Surferboy - Copy

The Independent service stations that were taken for granted were swallowed up from the late 70s by their fuel suppliers bringing out self service pumps assuring us of lower prices. I don’t know about you but I would pay a little more to have that opportunity for a chat and my tyres filled with air such as the only remaining example of the past at Lori’s of Kelmscott.

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