Thomas Pye Williamson came to Yass as a young man in the 1890s.
He quickly established himself as a baker, initially working for another baker.
But soon he opened the Times Bakery on Comur Street.
He went on to use his skills supervising the set-up of ovens in Murrumbateman and elsewhere, and published a recipe book (The Colonial Baker) for commercial bakers in 1900.
Soon, TP (as he was known) had added a cordial manufacturing and a skating rink to his business interests.
From baking to motor vehicles
It was in seeing the future of the motorcar that he was able to set up a completely new and innovative business: a motor garage.
And one that met TP’s skills and interest in engineering.
At 83 Garage (on Comur Street where Ross’s Relics is now), it became something of an icon on the main road in Yass.
Around 1905, TP Williamson was seen driving a vehicle that became known as the ‘Bitza’ built from available materials, including buggy wheels.
When Henry Ford’s T models first appeared, he quickly became the local Ford dealer.
It was said that if a vehicle part could not readily be obtained, TP would cast a mould and make it on his own premises.
The number 83, the garage phone number, was highly visible attracting business on the Sydney-to-Melbourne road.
Customers could even phone for assistance to come to them if their cars broke down.
Community involvement, family and other interests
TP Williamson and his wife Esther had nine children, two of whom took over 83 Garage after his death.
Some of his descendants still live in Yass.
He was involved in the Yass community and had a range of interests including microscopy.
His microscope and a large collection of his slides are in the Yass and District Historical Society collection.
For more about the slides, you can contact the society:
- 88 Comur Street, Yass.
- Opens Tuesday 2pm–5pm and 11am–3pm on the first Saturday of every month.
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