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CB Alexander – the man and his Rolls-Royces

CB Alexander

CB Alexander in his later years (Tocal College Archives).

Charles Boyd Alexander (1864-1947) was the last private owner of the Tocal estate at Paterson. He had a passion for machinery and motor cars, owning four Rolls-Royce cars between 1915 and his death in 1947. He bequeathed his magnificent 4,390 acre Tocal property for youth education and today it continues as the CB Alexander Campus of Tocal College.

CB Alexander was born in 1864 at Ballarat, Victoria, the youngest of nine children in a working class Scottish family that emigrated from Glasgow to Australia in 1852. The family prospered with the skills of the sons as carpenters, blacksmiths and implement makers. From about 1880 they setup a blacksmith business in Nhill, Victoria, and with the combined skill of the five brothers their business thrived. They branched into land ownership and moved to NSW where they purchased the Mount Leonard and Milbrodale properties in the Hunter Valley. In 1926 they purchased the Tocal property at Paterson and moved into residence there. By 1938 Charles was the sole surviving Alexander at Tocal.

The Rolls-Royces

1915 Silver Ghost

The first Alexander Rolls-Royce was a 1915 Silver Ghost, Chassis No 17CB, with an English 5-seater touring body built by Barker and supplied by Kellow-Falkiner to R Alexander, Alexander Brothers, Bulga. This was the last RR to arrive in Australia after the start of WWI. It carried NSW Registration 1608 in the name of Charles Boyd Alexander.

Robert Falconer purchased the vehicle from the Alexanders about 1923 for use as a family car. Later Robert used it as a workhorse, towing heavy loads via the Canning Stock Route to his stations "Carnegie" and "Bililuna" in WA. During the 1930s depression the car was converted to gas and fitted with a charcoal burner. It remains in the family today (information courtesy of the Falconer Family).

Rolls-Royce 17CB

Above: Rolls-Royce 17CB shortly after its purchase by Robert Falconer about 1923 (courtesy of the Falconer family).

Rolls-Royce 17CB

Above: Rolls-Royce 17CB sometime after its purchase by Robert Falconer (courtesy of the Falconer family).

Rolls-Royce 17CB running on gas

Above: Rolls-Royce 17CB running on gas and carrying a load of charcoal (courtesy of the Falconer family).

1923 Silver Ghost

The second Alexander Rolls-Royce was a 1923 Silver Ghost, Chassis No 33NK, with an English Barker 5-seater body, fitted with solid steel disc wheels. It was supplied by Dalgety to R Alexander in February 1924. NSW Registration 1608 was transferred from the previous car. It was later fitted with a California hard top by Smith & Waddington. This car would have been the Alexander family transport at Tocal from 1926 to 1930.

Rolls-Royce 33NK at Milbrodale Homestead in 1927

Rolls-Royce 33NK at Milbrodale Homestead in 1927 (Tocal College archives).

In 1930 the estate of the late Robert Alexander, according to his wishes, gave the car to the West Maitland Branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society along with a donation of £500 to the Society.[1]

1929 New Phantom

CB Alexander purchased the next Rolls-Royce in 1929. It was a New Phantom, Chassis No 73KR, with an English saloon body by Windovers. (The New Phantom model was commonly called the Phantom I after the introduction of the Phantom II later in 1929). lt was still owned by CB Alexander at the time of his death in 1947.

After his death the vehicle was purchased by Mr JEM Smith of Mayfield for £500. It then passed through a number of hands before being purchased by Max Roberts of Hunters Hill NSW. Max restored the car and painted it burgundy and black soon after purchase. He owned the car for 38 years before selling it to Dr John Milverton. Dr Milverton conducted a world-wide search for parts for the vehicle, some of which were actually found at Tocal Homestead. In 2007 the vehicle was sold to a resident of Paterson.

More recently the car was purchased by Tocal Homestead where it is now located, thereby returning to the home of its first owner, CB Alexander.

Rolls-Royce 73KR at Tocal Homestead

Rolls-Royce 73KR at Tocal Homestead (Tocal Homestead facebook page).

1934 Phantom II

CB Alexander's final Rolls-Royce was a 1934 Phantom II, chassis No 173RY, with an English 5-seater saloon body by Park Ward. NSW Registration 1608 was again transferred from the previous car. This car was still in use at the time of CB Alexander's death. It was bought by Mr JEM Smith (who also successfully tendered for the 1929 model), for £1,000.

Rolls-Royce 173RY at Tocal Homestead

Above: Rolls-Royce 173RY at Tocal Homestead (Tocal College Archives).

Rolls-Royce 173RY at Tocal Homestead

Above: Rolls-Royce 173RY at Tocal Homestead, with CB Alexander at the wheel (Tocal College Archives).

Notes

1. Port Macquarie News and Hastings River Advocate 22 February 1930 page 4.

References

Brouwer, David. Who was CB Alexander? Paterson: CB Alexander Foundation, 2000.

Brouwer, David. Unpublished research and posters on the Alexander Rolls-Royces.

Falconer family. Information via Dr Cameron Acher AM.

Neely, David. Press clipping as in endnote 1 above.

See also

Tocal estate.