SHARE
Long history . . . Author Evan Frew, since retired form the company, with a copy of the book at the printworks. Photo: Supplied

By ROBYN BRISTOW

A story stretching from the steam-driven transport of 100 years ago to the sophisticated present-day truck-and-trailer rigs of more than 50 tonnes is captured in a book to be launched next month.

Frews – Journey towards a Century, 1921-2021 is a story of four generations of the Frew family, leading the business through many changes and challenges. It will be launched at a function during an open day at Frews, Darfield, on Saturday, June 15.

Three great grandsons lead the businesses of the rural Canterbury haulage and freight company today, which has bases in Darfield and Oxford.

Edgar Frew bought into the transport business in 1921 in Greendale, which was to become known as McCrostie and Frew.

Edgar drove the traction engine – the steam-driven “hauler” – that was the centre of the new business. There were very few trucks in those days, and it was a decade before the first truck was bought by the business.

After World War 2, the business, with some trepidation, moved its base to Darfield. It was located for a short time on the eastern corner of Bray Street and South Terrace, before moving to the eastern corner of Thornton and Cardale streets.

In 1967 it moved to its present site in Mathias Street.

The purchase of Oxford Transport Services Ltd in 1971 established Frews on the north side of the Waimakariri, with Oxford, Rangiora and Amberley, each having depots.

Its first demolition job was in Christchurch in 1972 – the Christchurch Gas Company.

In 1981 it bought A. E. Nevell, which provided a physical base in the city as well, extending its transport operations there.

A. E. Nevell had its own long history, originally delivering meat to city butchers using special dust-proof wagons pulled by horses.

To register for the event and open day, email admin@frewstransport.co.nz or through Frews Darfield or Oxford by June 7 to receive a free ticket for catering purposes.

Signed copies of the book will be available for $59.50 by cash or eftpos.