Clinton Office Number
03 415 7103
Clinton Waipahi Holdings Ltd

History of Clinton Waipahi Transport Ltd


Yards for trucking sheep and cattle are being erected at Waipahi station. They are not nearly so massive as similar yards at other places. They are amply sufficient for all the traffic at the railway station.

The cartage business started in the Waipahi district with the early waggoners who used the Old Lake Road taking wool north and returning with supplies for the Central Otago goldfields.
To cater for their needds there was a blacksmith's shop set up where Bagrie's woolshed now stands.
The first cartage contractor to serve this district was Gordon Young, based in Clinton, he had an old A.E.C truck with solid rubber tyres. These had no traction on the slippery clay roads and tales were told of the truck lying axle-deep in mud until the spring weather dried out the roads sufficiently for it to be pulled out.

In 1927 Jim Divers settled in Waipahi and started a carrying business. His trucks included a four-cylinder Dodge a four-ton Reo Speed, a Graham and a Fargo.
He also had two horse dray teams on the building of the Main Highway during the slump of the 1930's. The hire of the teams for carting gravel was 7 shillings and 6 pence (75c).
Heffernan Bros took over in 1935 paying 250 pound for the business. Their complete fleet included three Bedfords and one Ford, with hired trucks to work on gravel spreading contracts for the Public works.
They had the local rabbit carting contract, taking the carcases to Mataura Freezing Works, and they were successful in obtaining the contract to haul and erect the double line of poles from Gore to Outram for the Electricity Department.
The brothers built a sheep crate which had a capacity for 110 lambs or 100 sheep. They were the first to cart stock in this manner and started taking sheep to Burnside in 1939, making up to three trips a day in the busy season.
The boundaries ranged from Pukerau through Arthurton and up the Landslip and out to Clydevale and Wairuna.

In 1951 John Popenhagen had two trucks a Ford V8 and a K model Austin. He operated under the name of Popenhagen Transport, but with the arrival of Jim a year later the name changed to Popenhagen Bros, and in 1955, to Waipahi Transport.
The base was moved to its present site on the hill overlooking Waipahi in 1954.

South Otago Transport and Clutha Carrying Company had small depots in Clinton, and in the late 1950's Mervyn Jury purchased a licence from Clutha Carrying Company and started his own transport company.
Trucks were small, and all goods were carted to and from rail because, during those days, one could not cart further than 30 miles against the railway.
Mervyn bought a big International six-wheeled truck which was known locally as 'Big Bertha" and was one of the biggest trucks to be found at that time.
Les and Hazel McKenzie and Ian and Noelene Blackler (sister of Les) formed Clinton Transport Limited, and purchased the business from Mervyn Jury in 1965. The Blackler's left in 1969.
In 1983 McKenzie's purchased the transport company of T.A Graham Limited at Waiwera South, merging it with Clinton Transport.

From the 1960's to the late 1990's there were huge changes in road transport legislation, as the protection of rail was relaxed, first to within 40 miles of the railway, then to 50 miles, then to 150 kilometres, until finally all restrictions were lifted completely, allowing free competition from road transport.
The West Otago branch rail line was closed contributing to the collapse of the railway community in Clinton.
Clinton Transport purchased the old engine shed, and used the timber trusses to build a transport shed in Bard Street.

In 1993 the business sold to S Moffat and Ken Thompson, and it was merged with Waipahi Transport in 1995 to become known as Clinton Waipahi Holdings Ltd.
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