Hutt City Libraries Online Heritage Collection > Texts

Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Carrying Petone's Trade.

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Among the men who helped to build Petone, must be mentioned Mr. G. D. McEwen who, in establishing a profitable business for himself, has materially assisted in establishing the prosperity of the Borough.
It is one of the marks of enterprise of Petone citizens that they have never relied on outside assistance; but if a job needs doing—there was a Petone man to do it. This is nowhere more noticeable than in the carrying trade. Transport of foods from Wellington by road was early discovered to be the most economical and efficient method, and at once Petone men saw the opportunity and filled the breach.
Among the earliest of these enterprising men was Mr. G. D. McEwen who at this time was only 23 years of age.
Mr. McEwen was the son of one of the early pioneers, Mr. P. C. McEwen, who was the senior partner in the firm of McEwen & Churchill. His mother, also of the hardy pioneering strain, was before her marriage, a Miss Daysh, who was born in Lower Hutt.
Mr. G. D. McEwen was born and educated in Wellington. When he was 21 years old he came to Petone to assist Mr. J. W. Powell, who then had a general store at the corner of Jackson and Fitzherbert Streets. A short study of the Transport problem soon showed him that there was an opening in the business of transporting goods from Wellington, and he decided to launch out on his own account. The urge coincided with his inclinations, as throughout his life he had an intense love for horses.
He secured from Mr. Powell, a promise of his cartage business, and bought from him a horse and express—and from that time never looked back. To-day the firm of McEwen, Carter & Co. Ltd., of which Mr. McEwen. was managing director up to the time of his death, is one of the best known in the Wellington district.
The business owes its success to several factors: First, during the days of horse transport, Mr. McEwen determined to have in his stable nothing but the best that money could buy, and in this he succeeded so well that his teams were recognised as the best in the Valley.
Secondly, he gave his close personal attention to the smallest order, and the smallest detail in his business, and thirdly, his genial personality and reliable character were great assets.
The change over from horses to motors found Mr. McEwen prepared, and to-day the fleet of McEwen, Carter & Co. Ltd. is among the largest in the Valley, and these machines are daily engaged in cartage to and from Petone and Wellington. Petone's industries are largely catered for by Messrs. McEwen, Carter & Co. Ltd.
Mr. McEwen was the first President of the Hutt Valley Carriers' Association, and did much to promote the united interests of the trade.
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