The Flemings had Vitonga’s 8500 acres subdivided and in 1967 the merino stud and property were all sold up after a good association in the Moree district.
Judith and Peter Fleming, and myself, kept a block of Vitonga, “Beela”, which they improved with irrigation, finally growing cotton. Beela was sold in 1984 as a cotton-growing farm to Leigh Taylor Pty Ltd.
I worked for the North West Farm Machinery selling Chamberlain tractors for two years from late 1961 and into 1963. Chamberlain tractors were a new product competing with the likes of International Harvester, Case, Massey Ferguson, Fordson Tractors etc.
In 1963 Diane and I decided to start a new car dealership introducing the Nissan/Datsun vehicles to Moree. We built new premises in Frome Street, South Moree and opened in November 1963, T/A Motorama Moree.
We also had the Honda motorbikes and a fuel bowser that was only one of a few with a coin operated system in NSW.
Fuel could be purchased 24/7 with coins only.
Diane and I were told by one of the trading dealers that we would go broke selling Japanese cars. Interestingly, within a few years they all were associated with a Japanese product.
The Japanese cars were hard to sell at first because of the war.
Japan was purchasing most of Australia’s wool at this time and over the years they became more acceptable offering better value and reliability.
In 1968 the Toyota passenger car dealership was offered to us which we took up and relinquished the Nissan Datsun vehicles.
We had to weigh-up giving up, the Nissan/Datsun full range of cars and commercial vehicles for a Toyota passenger car range only as WJ Matthews had the Toyota commercial range for many years.
We built this dealership up over the years and upgraded the premises.
It was 1983 when Toyota Australia wanted the dealerships under the one roof and we decided to sell it to the Matthews in November 1983.
There were only a few in NSW that the car and commercial dealers were sold separately.
I can remember many motor vehicle dealers in the late 50s early 60s;
NG Booth, Crane and Co, FH Smith Gwydir Motors, Rittler Brothers, Lloyd’s Garage, WJ Matthews, Ferguson, Martin Kallenbach and Ken Monahhan.
Only one of the above is still trading; well done WJ Matthews.
Di and I left Moree in 1986, moving to Collaroy in Sydney. The last Fleming real estate owned in Moree was sold in 2002 having owned and sold many properties over their years there.
Our years in Moree saw many changes in the town and district.