Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 6, Issue 6, 2008
Women Car Owners: Extracted from the Waimea County Council Register of Motors, 1912-1924
By 1912 the horse was beginning to have outlived its usefulness. Horse feed was constantly rising in price and the animal was time consuming. The man or woman with a motor could be out of the yard and miles away by the time the rider had saddled up for his journey.
As motoring became increasingly popular, vehicles had to be registered. The Waimea County Council passed a resolution at a meeting on 7 March 1912 that Part II of the Motor Regulation Act 1908 would be brought into operation in the Waimea County on the first of May 1912.
The Waimea County Council Register of Motor Vehicles was gazetted on 4 April 1912, and the first entries were duly recorded on 1 May of that year. The hand-written information included the Register Number, Name and address of owner, Date Registered, Make, Weight and use of Vehicle and a Note column. Where a vehicle changed hands, the original owner's name was scratched through and the new owner's name written over the top at that entry number.
There are 2043 entries and 67 of these owners are women. By 1912 women were beginning to prefer motorcars to carriages, as they combined comfort and independence with the exciting possibility of speed.
The first woman on the Register, at Number 162, was Elizabeth Watson of Wai-iti who was registered as the owner of a 10 Horse Power Reo Car on 7 December 1912. Other women followed, but it wasn't until 1916 that the trend began to gather momentum and, by 1924 when the Register finished, it recorded the names of 67 women.
Most women owned new vehicles, with only seven having bought second hand ones. All except three were registered for "Private Use". The three exceptions were "Public Conveyances" driven by women in 1921, 1923, and 1924.
Three women owned 2¾ horse power Douglas motor cycles and two owned Ford trucks.
Who were these women? Where did they live and what sort of vehicles did they own?
The following extracts are from the Register:page 41
|Name||Address||Date Regist.||Make of Car|
|Anstice, Sophia||Trafalgar St||26/04/17||Overland|
|Barker, Annie (Mrs)||Stanley Brook||29/09/24||Chevriolet Touring|
|Bett, Jessie||Nile St||01/09/14||Rover 5 seater|
|Bett, F A (Mrs)||Trafalgar Square||25/06/20||Essex 5 seater|
|Bisley, Mary||Hardy St||12/12/18||Oakland|
|Bloomaart, Elizabeth Ella||Stoke||18/04/23||Ford|
|Brennan, Abina (Mrs)||Royal Hotel||10/12/17||Studebaker|
|Bridge, Alice||Collingwood St||11/04/17||Dodge|
|Burrell, Florence (Mrs)||151 Bridge St||12/01/20||Ford Touring car|
|Clay, Kate Amy (Mrs)||Brightwater||20/02/18||Ford|
|Cock, Frederick (Mrs)||Nelson||07/05/24||Overland|
|Croucher, Letitia Violet||Richmond||30/04/17||Dodge 2 seater|
|Eden, Hilda M (Mrs)||Richmond||06/10/16||not stated|
|Genge, Ethel (Mrs)||Wainui House||26/09/16||Cheverolet|
|Gibbs, Alice Winifred||Wakefield||01/06/17||Douglas motor cycle|
|Gilbertson, Caroline (Mrs)||Motueka||22/11/23||Ford|
|Gooding, Mary (Mrs)||Wakatu St||17/02/20||Buick|
|Gottlieb, Rose (Mrs)||Thorpe||22/10/20||Ford|
|Graham, Fanny (Miss)||Upper Bridge St||16/10/17||Overland|
|Grooby, Eva M (Mrs)||Roadmans whare||26/09/18||Saxon|
|Hanson, Emily (Mrs)||Spring Grove||10/04/23||Ford 5 seater|
|Harley, Gertrude (Miss)||Nelson||05/09/17||Overland|
|Harley, Gertrude Mary||Waimea Rd||01/10/18||Hubmobile|
|Harley, May Ellinor||Grove St||23/02/17||Overland|
|Huffam, Katherine Lincoln||Motueka||16/01/13||Motor cycle "motor rover"|
|Hulbert, Lilian Mary (Miss)||Poole St||25/03/19||Ford 5 seater|
|Inwood, Irene Jane (Mrs)||Dovedale RD||20/08/24||Ford|
|Leebody, Dora Ellen||Russell St||15/05/24||Ford|
|Manks, Edith Myrtle (Mrs)||114 Waimea St||28/12/16||Buick|
|Mason, David (Mrs)||Puramahoi||05/05/21||Willis Knight|
|McNab, Mary||Port, Nelson||21/02/16||Buick 5 seaterpage 42|
|McNeill, Mary||Brightwater||29/01/17||Saxon 2 seater|
|Muntz, Mary||Upper Moutere||26/05/13||BSA|
|Neil, Gertrude (Mrs)||Mount St||05/01/14||Douglas motor cycle|
|O'Brien, Grace||"Enner Glyn"||14/02/20||Maxwell|
|Ollson, Daisy (Mrs)||Wakapuaka||05/10/21||Ford|
|Ollson, Daisy (Mrs)||Wakapuaka||13/02/23||Overland Light four|
|Pritchard, Emily M||Milton St||07/12/23||Overland|
|Renwick, Anne (Mrs)||Newstead"||26/01/20||Hudson 4/5 seater|
|Richmond, E M (Miss)||28 Nile St||22/04/18||Maxwell|
|Ross, Ethel Maud (Mrs)||Mapua||02/10/24||Dodge 5 seater|
|Russell, Myra Lucy (Mrs)||Stoke||09/05/24||Overland|
|Rutherford, Emma Elizabeth||Stoke||05/01/17||Ford|
|Ryder, Alice Hand (Mrs)||Riwaka||07/03/14||RGH|
|Shields, Constance||31 Shelbourne St||07/10/16||Jeffries|
|Sloan, Louisa G (Miss)||"Awanui" Tapawera||17/05/24||Douglas motor cycle|
|Sloss, Alice Emily||Korere||02/11/17||Ford|
|Stafford, Aileen B (Mrs)||Mount St||16/06/17||Maxwell|
|Sutton, Mrs John||Stoke||03/03/23||Rover|
|Thomas, Elsie Amy||Tadmor||29/10/23||Overland 5 seater|
|Thomason, Mabel A (Mrs)||Orinoco||30/03/20||Dodge|
|Trewavas, Isabella (Mrs)||Motueka||18/05/16||Briscoe 5 seater|
|Usher, Mary Jane||Nelson||18/05/16||Buick 5 seater|
|Vickerman, Rosetta (Mrs)||Tahunanui||27/02/23||Ford motor truck|
|Wastney, Mary (Mrs)||Alton St||18/01/24||Gray|
|Watson, E (Mrs)||Hope||07/07/24||Hupmobile|
|Woodman, Katherine||Motueka||09/01/24||Ford truck|
|Wratten, Catherine (Mrs)||Lower Moutere||19/02/23||Overland|
The Waimea County Council Register of Motors 1912–1924 is available on microfilm at the Nelson Provincial Museum Archives at Stoke. There is a separate Index under the owners' names and it is well worth a browse to see if your ancestor's name appears on it.
Waimea County Council. 1912–1924. Register of motors. Tasman Bays Heritage Trust/The Nelson Provincial Museum, Archives collection, fMS WAI.page 43