The premises of North Barraba Diesel at 70 Queen Street have recently had a change of look. Proprietor Adam Russell has had the façade painted a smart white with blue trim. For some years the building was a striking orange colour. The new paintwork is reminiscent of the premises’ long history as G.R. White’s garage.
Gordon White (known as Scottie) ran a successful garage and Dodge agency at 70 Queen Street for more than 60 years. In 1924 Scottie White was repairing vehicles at the rear of his father’s Wool Hides and Skins Shop located where the Inland Petroleum service station is now. Late that same year Scottie started building his own garage on Queen Street in partnership with George Howes. The garage opened in January 1925, trading as White and Howes. Motor vehicle repairs were carried out by hand except for a small emery wheel that was run by a petrol engine.
Howes left the business in 1927 and Scottie White continued under the name G.R. White. The building was extended to its present size in 1934. Throughout his career Scottie enjoyed a very successful association with both Ford and Shell Oil: relationships that lasted 30 years. GR Whites won a hand forged plaque for being the ‘Best Equipped Service Station in NSW’ in 1939. In 1953 the garage incorporated (G.R.White & Co Pty Ltd) and issued shares. It its heyday the garage employed 25 people from the local community.
Jenny Middlemiss recalls her father Bert Goldman had a long career working for G. R White. Bert joined the business at 14 and retired 51 years later at the age of 65. Jenny remembers her father attended an annual workshop of around a week’s duration in Sydney run by Ford. BeJenny’s mother June also enjoyed a long career in Queen Street, working for 31 years at the local solicitors’ office in what eventually became Lyons Barnett Kennedy.