A Motor Car industry for Gawler from the Bunyip 1936

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Extract Bunyip 10th July 1936

Motor Car Industry a Definite Success'

Mr. Matter's Message to 'The Bunyip.' After a period of quiescence, in which the promoter of the proposed motor car industry at Gawler has been attending to legal aspects, 'The Bunyip' has now been permitted to peruse the draft of the proposed prospectus to be placed before the public of South Australia. Mr. Mather is hopeful of fulfilling all legal requirements in connection with the registration this week-end; and the publication of the abridged prospectus will be waited for with keen interest.

The Company will be styled The Gawler Motor Car Manufacturers and Engineers Limited, and registration has been sought under the Companies Act of South Australia, 1934. The capital is set down at 300,000 shares at £1 each; 100,000 will be offered for public subscription on the basis of 5/- on application, 5/- on allotment, and 5/- four months from date of allotment, with the balance, 5/-, six months after allotment. Fully paid up shares to the number of 3,000 are to be issued to Alfred Mather, and/or his nominees as part consideration for the sale of the land, plant, patent rights, rights and options; and 197,000 shares will be held in reserve.

The proposed Directors are named, including James Jack Thomson, of Gawler (Proprietor Eagle Foundry) , Alfred Mather, Gawler (engineer) . The Bank is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia; solicitors, Messrs Finlayson, Mayo, Astley & Hayward; Secretary pro tem James Henry Jepson, A.F.LA. (trustee for the syndicate), Auditor, P. W. Begg, Public Accountant.

The objects of the company are the specialising in the initial unit of a special 6-cyl. 25 b.h.p. engine for cars and utility vehicles', to commercially exploit the highly valuable 'May' Reaper Harvester patents; to negotiate to completion the option with a leading Continental firm manufacturing motor cars for the extensive right to produce in Australia for a period not less than seven years, paid on the ordinary basis of royalty, all such rights to be transferred to the Gawler company without further consideration to Alfred Mather, who also puts in his own designs for an engine and complete transmission units.

Mr. Mather, on the other hand, has such confidence in the successful future of the company that he has accordingly agreed to accept, as part of his consideration, 3,000 fully paid up shares. Another part is the payment of £2,000 in cash, £1,750 to reimburse the vendor of the actual amount payable by him for the purchase of the Perry-May properties and the perquisites, and £25O to cover his loss of time and expenses in the negotiation for the rights of the European motor engine. He also asks for the reimbursement of the costs of the promotion of the company, estimated at £500, of this sum Mr Mather to get £209 for time occupied in the affairs of the company and the proffering of shares for public subscription. The cost of the promotion of the company will be payable in the first instance by Mr. Mather, and he to be reimbursed by the company. It is further provided that ,Mr. Mather is to be appointed managing director -for' a period of five years at a salary of £750 Per annum, rising at the discretion of the Directors in the third year to a sum not exceeding £1,000 , but there would be nothing to prevent the allocation of a bonus to Mr. Mather if the business warranted the action.

The shares of the Company are to be listed on the Stock Exchange; and the company is to go to registration and allotment when 20,000 shares are applied for. Should more than are required be applied for, application will be pro rata or at the discretion of the Director. If no allotment is made, all moneys will be refunded in full. It is estimated that the cost of additional plant and installation over and above that to be secured from the Perry, May Co., for the production, of engines, will be £8,500. The first motor car will be produced within 12 months from the time of the Company starting work, and it is estimated that the production of engines will be worked up to ratio of 1,000 cars within 12 months. At the beginning, collaboration will be made with existing industries for the production of the chassis; and existing Australian factories will be drawn on for accessory supplies, such as bodies, springs, electrical, etc.

Gawler is definitely chosen as the site for the operation of the works. The town was the pioneer in engineering in South Australia for over 65 years; and its engineering artisans hold down leading engineering positions in all parts of the world. The area of ground , 13 acres, is ample for production, the premises are ideally situated for cheap transport. Power is available from the A.E.S. Co. Ltd. Mains, and raw material is available from established sources.

The Commonwealth Government is emphatic in its desires to foster Australian made cars; and the establishment of such an industry will mean much to the Australian people, circulating money in our midst, stopping to: a great extent the payments to American and overseas countries; and encouraging Australians to be loyal in their support to their own secondary industries. That Australia presents a market for its own car production cannot be doubted. On figures published for the year ended June 1935' South Australia bought over 2,000 new cars (exclusive of, utility vehicles) ; and ,in the succeednig 11 months over 4,000 new cars were sold. Australia for the same 11 months bought new cars and utility vehicles to the number of 100,000. The ambition of the Company, therefore, to produce 1,000 new cars annually is no flight of the imagination but is a fair and honest estimate of trade, every consideration being given to the fickle choice of the public in the type of car they fancy.

The estimated cost of 'The Gawler' 6-cyL 25 b.h.p. complete chassis is approx. £275 per vehicle, and with all steel body fitted with 'every up to the minute facilities’, marketed, including Sales Tax, at under £400. Mr. Mather shows that the present motor car inflated by cost of the rate of exchange, 25 per cent., and duty charges, transport, etc., eats up £120, showing £60 on engine and complete chassis, £50 exchange, arid £10 transport. On top of this is the Federal bonus or subsidy of £30 on every engine unit made in Australia, thus making a direct gain of £150 in Australia's favor. With this amount balanced against the costs of the car overseas, Australia should have big chances of successfully establishing the industry, provided Australians show faith in their own people. We know that readers will appreciate this presentation of the aims and objects of the promoter, and when the prospectus is issued will feel that the project is taking concrete form. For Mr. Mather we can say in all sincerity that no project has moved with greater speed than this industry for Gawler; and the public atmosphere is most sympathetic for its reception.

Outside of Gawler the interest is seething, the people realising that such a fulfilment: will do much to retain for the State that massive industry at Woodville,j about which rumors have been current of its ultimate removal to Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne. South Australia'would be sorely smitten in the loss of such an industry, as apart from the money circulated through labor, the 9.000 hands involved would either have, to emigrate or become a drug on a' hopeless market. Therefore, when the prospectus comes into the hands of the public it is hoped that the people will realise the immensity of the possibilities, and do their best in the acceptance of shares to create industry in the State and rejuvenate a town ; which is at present in sore straits.