Fueling up on history

Philbert Keith Morris opened a plumbing and iron workers shop in Bridge Street, Murray Bridge, in 1911. It was destroyed by fire at 3am on October 7, 1912.

Having the knowledge and understanding of horses, when WWI began Philbert enlisted in active service in AIF at the age of 33 years. He became one of the original members of the 9th Light Horse Regiment, returning home in 1919.

When he returned from the war he again started business and in 1921 a local paper advertises PK Morris as a plumber and iron galvanised worker making tanks, troughs, baths and bath heaters.

On February 27, 1925 he opened a garage alongside the plumbing shop and in the 1930s it was the first garage to sell Shell petrol with electric pumps.

During the 1930s he constructed an iron clad building on the other side of Bridge Street, No 1, on land leased from the railways. The site was situated on the top left-hand side of hill before the Bridge, where he sold six different brands of fuel - Ampol, Caltex, Golden Fleece, COR (BP), Mobil, and Shell.

The building had a major facelift in the 1950s, when Philbert's sons Jim, Ralph and Murray also worked in the business.

In 1955, Ralph's son Lee Morris, began his apprentice as a mechanic, working with his grandfather, his father and two uncles. Philbert passed away in 1965 at the age of 82 years.

In 1977, Lee acquired the business with partner J Bryan and became propriety of Morris's Garage for mechanic and servicing vehicles, and Bryan's Service Station for petrol and lubrication.

The service station closed in 1998 and the garage closed June 2002 and the site was cleared in August 2006.

The business was not without incident - such as the time a car parked at the garage left the scene and travelled down the hill, onto the bridge, avoiding concrete pillars and crashing into a stanchion.

'A Community Saving its Past'