The motor cars of Ardmeen

Most of us will know that Dr. Arthur Gault (1864-1917) owned a 1901 New Orleans car (March 1901), actually a re-badged Vivinus from Belgium. George Brooks’ books show it in Gault’s hands (Book 1, p 2) and then later in the Rev. Bloyd’s ownership (Book 2 p. 3). Ron Bloyd who was known to many of us was of course the Reverend’s son. Arthur Gault moved to Australia to relieve his asthma, and because horses also had an aggravating effect, bought a car.

1912 Leon Bollee

Dr Fred Steele Scott’s 1912 14hp Leon Bollee, Nigel’s Father in the back.

The passenger at the rear is thought to be John Gory, who later became Dr Fred Steele Scott’s chauffer and handyman. Our leader Phil came across a booklet written about the history of ‘Ardmeen’, the house built by Dr Gault at Hawthorn, better known these days as the Lenzerheide restaurant. There is mention also of a Humber (Book 6, p.25), Belsize, Fiat and Oakland which are interesting to us. The Humber seems to be the same model as restored and owned by our Victorian Member, Alan Meredith. That car was found in SA and one wonders—-?

The art of leadership leans heavily on delegation, and being a good leader, Phil delegated the job of extracting the relevant information to me. Had he known what follows, there would have been a better candidate.

1909 Humber

Dr Fred Steele Scott’s 909 Humber 10/12hp, driver possibly John Gory, unknown passenger.

Arthur Henry Gault arrived from Manchester in 1888, having married Mary Steele-Scott of County Tyrone in Ulster. The Steele-Scott family farm was, and still is Ardmeen in Victoria. Arthur’s mother and Mary were second cousins, and Mary’s younger brother was Fred Steele-Scott, the passenger shown in the New Orleans. I understood that our own Nigel Steele-Scott (Speedwell, Alvis, various Rolls and a Buick from their Victorian farm, ‘Árdmeen’) was Fred’s grandson, so consulted him on the subject to learn that there was more to the story, and that

1901 New Orleans (Vivinus)

1901 New Orleans (Vivinus), Dr Gault driving, Dr Steele Scott passenger and at the rear, probably John Gory.

Fred’s cars included a c.1911 Austin and two Leon Bollees ( one shown in Book 11, p. 34) an be added, but by then Fred had his own practice on Unley road opposite what is now Walford School, and is where the photo was taken. The passenger is Nigel’s Father. The Bollee appears to be the same model as that restored and driven by Ken Hall in Tasmania, and those who know it are generally impressed by its quality and performance. Nigel provided the additional information and untangled the family tree, described incorrectly in the Ardmeen booklet.

The story of the medical practice, the part they played by WW1 and the subsequent morphing into the Crafter Medical Centre built on what was the tennis court of Ardmeen is an insight into life in the early years of the Colony. For instance, the family’s cow was taken with them on holidays to Port Noarlunga to ensure an hygienic milk supply.

Terry Parker

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