Mechanic, bus driver and haulage operator: ‘Ed Ball, You Call, I’ll Haul’

Clyde Nott’s garage, built in 1921, at Woonona. Picture: Wollongong City Libraries.

THE building presently located at 355 Prince Highway, Woonona was built as a motor garage by Clyde George Nott in 1921, meaning it is now over a century old.

Nott, who also ran a rubber factory at Wollongong, had a petrol bowser pump placed on the footpath outside the garage in 1925. Nott died suddenly at the age of 37 in December 1926, leaving a widow and four children, the eldest aged nine and the youngest four.

The garage was bought by 67-year-old William John Pearce in 1927.

Two unknown women walking north along the footpath with William Pearce’s Garage, Later Ball’s, in the distance. Picture: Kasty Withak

Pearce died at his residence on the highway at Woonona in 1935 at the age of 70, and the garage business was again sold.

Mechanic, bus driver and haulage operator, Albert Edward Ball – better known by all as ‘Ed’ or ‘Eddie’ – purchased Pearce’s garage business in 1936.

Ball was the son of Thomas Ball, cordial manufacturer and the bloke who built Woonona’s much-mourned pub, the Royal, which was demolished in 1983.

Ed Ball was born in Woonona in 1881 and by the age of 25 he had his own motor garage/service station at Woonona, opposite what is today Woonona Bulli RSL Club.

Along with the legendary Edward Dion, Ball received a permit from Bulli Shire Council to run a bus between Wollongong and Bellambi in 1933.

Ball later purchased Pearce’s garage at what is today 355 Princes Highway at Woonona in about 1936. He had a large sign painted on the northern wall of the building, which read: “Ed Ball, You Call, I’ll Haul”, and became a famous and well known local slogan.

Ed Ball later bought the old Friendly Societies’ Hall, on the northern side of the garage (number 353), and the old garage was leased to the Newman’s as a produce store.

The Woonona Friendly Societies’ Hall was established in 1901. After its demise, it was bought by Ed Ball and converted to a garage and compound for his haulage business. Picture: Wollongong City Libraries.
The former Friendly Societies Hall, later Ball’s garage now operates as smash repair business. Picture: Wollongong City Libraries.

Built in 1901, the Friendly Societies Hall was established as a place for the various friendly societies to meet. With the demise in popularity of the friendly societies, the old hall became redundant and was snapped-up by the ever-enterprising Ed Ball. He converted the old hall into a garage and a compound for his haulage trucks.

The old hall was better suited for that purpose then his old garage, being set back further from the highway, enabling petrol bowsers to be placed at the front.

Ed Ball eventually sold his garage business to Harold Bennett and Dick Thrupp in 1948. The McKay family later bought the business.

The McKay family operated from the site for many years, and today the old Friendly Societies’ Hall continues to trade as a garage and smash repair business.

Ed Ball died at the age of 80 in 1961.

Can anyone help me with a photo of Ed Ball? Email me at

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