The History of Baylis Brothers Limited
Richard’s father, Frank senior, wanted a well on the family property in Greenmeadows and engaged a local drilling contractor Mr T. G. Willan. Unfortunately, Tom Willan was unable to start drilling due to the lack of an assistant, so Frank senior volunteered Richard. Richard turned out to be very capable and was taken on permanently. Six weeks later, Tom had a heart attack and at age 17, Richard took over the business. Shortly after Richard and brother Frank, formed a partnership with their father as a sleeping partner and so Baylis Bros was formed. Dick and Frank snr bought out Frank jnr after a year or so, and then in 1954, Dick bought out Frank snr.
A new workshop was completed at Puketitiri Road in December 2005.
Russell and his wife, Lynette, purchased a farm in Puketitiri Road and in 1996 moved the company to these premises. This yard has slowly been renovated over the years and now has a modern new workshop and storage space.
There was a small celebration in 1986 to mark the company’s first 40 years.
In the early 1970’s, Richard and a few others in the drilling industry saw the need for a collective to be set up in New Zealand, and so evolved the New Zealand Drillers Federation. The first ever convention was held at Baylis Bros yard in June 1975.
During the 1970’s some additions were added to the front of the workshop. This expanded the office and stores area.
During the late 1950’s, Shell BP Todd, an oil exploration company, conducted a large seismic survey in central Hawkes Bay. They used Baylis Bros yard as a depot for the duration of this job.
Dick (foreground) teaching the “boys” how to drill. Sometimes safety equipment was not taken too seriously back then.
In 1954, Dick purchased some land and built a workshop in Gloucester Street, Greenmeadows. The company continued to operate from these premises until 1996 when it moved to Puketitiri Road.
The company operated out of Frank Senior’s wool scouring property in Kennedy Road until 1954. This property was opposite Anderson Park.
In 1948, Dick moved to New Plymouth for a short while, to work as a roughneck for Dobson Bros – the New Zealand Oil and Petroleum Company. This gave Dick work experience and knowledge in oil drilling and petroleum production. Albie (left) and Dick at work on “Eddie”
Baylis Bros’ first drilling rig with Dick (working) and Frank senior on the left.