Hall of Fame Inductee 2012
On the 17th of October 1940 in Invercargill, Bill Richardson was born, into a family with a long history in Southland business, starting in 1878 when Bill’s great grandfather, Samuel settled in Wyndham running a stage coach and livery business. Bill’s grandfather, Robert, and father, Harold, had established and developed R Richardson Ltd, a building business, and Niagara Sawmilling.
Niagara spawned Southern Transport in 1946, with four trucks used to cart lumber for the mill. This was the spark that ignited Bill’s love of trucks and trucking. He abandoned his joinery apprenticeship at the age of 20 after persuading his father to allow him to expand Southern Transport.
In the mid 70’s, after acquisitions of many surrounding transport companies, Bill was looking for a new challenge and decided to expand into ready mix concrete. The publicly listed company, Allied Concrete was purchased in 1976, consisting of 2 plants, 1 in Invercargill and 1 in Gore. It brought about many challenges bringing it from a public to private company, but followed on to acquire many other ready mix companies throughout New Zealand, resulting in over 40 plants nationwide.
In 1983 Bill became a small shareholder in Gore Services which were the Mobil agents in the Gore area and his shareholding grew over time. Ten years later, in 1993, H W Richardson Group and Mobil formed a 50/50 JV called Allied Petroleum. Many years later in 2004 H W Richardson group purchased the Mobil shares to own the company outright. In 2003, Allied Petroleum Ltd purchased Sherwood Petroleum and Kiwi Fuel Line which formed Allied Petroleum (NI) Ltd. Allied Petroleum purchased West Coast Bulk Distributors and Southern Bulk Distributors in 2003. In 2004 Gore Services was merged into Allied Petroleum. This company has now grown to be nationwide business
In 1996, a contracting arm was added to the business portfolio with the purchase of SouthRoads.
Bill followed his dream for trucks, seizing opportunities when they arose, building the company up to become one of New Zealand’s largest privately owned companies. All this whilst still recognising the value of family and friends, most notably his wife Shona, and son and daughter, Harold and Jocelyn. A Southland man through and through, Bill remained loyal to his Southland upbringing retaining the companies Head Office in Invercargill.
Alongside his business ventures, Bill continued with his passion for trucks by building a collection of more than 150 vintage trucks and transport memorabilia, adding them to his ‘shed’, which is now referred to as the Bill Richardson Truck Museum. It is one of the largest private museums of its type in the world.
Tragedy struck in 1995 when Bill’s son Harold was killed in a car accident at the age of 29. Almost 10 years later Bill died suddenly at the age of 64, leaving the family, including their ‘H W Richardson Group family’, shocked and extremely saddened. In the face of adversity Bill’s immediate family have continued on with Bill’s dream of the company remaining privately owned. His wife Shona and daughter Joc are Directors, and son-in-law Scott O’Donnell is the Managing Director. Growth has continued with the company expanding all sectors of the business, now employing over 1,100 staff and operating a fleet of over 800.
Understanding the wonderful legacy they have been left, the family is also committed to growing what was a huge passion of Bill’s - the vintage collection of trucks and transport memorabilia. The collection to date consists of close to 230 trucks and around 100 petrol pumps with many more in the wings yet to be restored.