REID, Matthew

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2002.

Matthew Reid started his working career in the coal mines of Scotland at just nine years of age.  His job was to lead the pit ponies.  Later he became the chauffeur for a wealthy family in Scotland and this early work whet his appetite for what was to later become his lifelong passion: the taxi business.

Matt married Janet Ferguson in 1908 in Glasgow.  Three years later, in December 1911, they arrived in Fremantle on the 'Zealandic'.  Matt worked his early years in Australia in a grocer's shop, as a chauffeur  and, during the depression years, retreading tyres in the Bond Store in Marine Terrace, Geraldton.

In 1936 he bought two taxis.  His daughter, Janet Arnup reckoned the business needed a name so she dubbed it 'Swan Taxi Service.'  It was hard going in the war years.  There were too few drivers, petrol rationing coupons were necessary and tyres impossible to buy.

Matt had his own charcoal made in Darlington and operated his taxis on gas.  Gas conversions were very difficult but Matt's early life at the coal mines in Scotland proved very useful.  Matt saw many changes in the industry including the first meters being installed.  Some he supported and some he didn't so in 1947 he decided to sell the business to Norm Walsh and Mr Ibbotson.

Matthew died in 1950 but as luck would have it the owners of  Swan Taxis won the lottery in 1952 and were able to purchase all their opposition taxi companies in Perth (32 in total) and Matthew Reid's legacy to the transport industry was guaranteed a long and successful run in the taxi industry in Western Australia.

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