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Packard, Guy Spencer (1884–1963)

by G. A. Hardwick

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

Guy Spencer Packard (1884-1963), shipping company manager, was born on 7 August 1884 at Burra, South Australia, fourth child of Daniel Spencer Packard (d.1896), solicitor, and his wife Florence Suzanne, née Randall, both South Australian born. Guy was educated at the Collegiate School of St Peter, Adelaide. He joined the Adelaide Steamship Co. Ltd on 20 October 1901 as a junior clerk at head office. Enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 6 August 1915, he served in Egypt and—with the 50th Battalion—on the Western Front. He was commissioned lieutenant in February 1917 but, because of illness, was admitted to hospital in the following month and repatriated in September. His A.I.F. appointment terminated in Adelaide on 14 December. At St Peter's College chapel on 13 April 1918 he married with Anglican rites Alison Scott Richardson.

Packard rejoined the A.S.S.Co. in May 1918 and was posted to head office as freight and coal clerk. Rising rapidly within the company, he was appointed Brisbane manager in December 1924. Briefly manager of the Port Adelaide branch in March 1927, he was acting assistant secretary of the company in Adelaide in 1927 and again in 1930. In February 1931 he became assistant-secretary. He acquired a wide knowledge of freight matters generally, and a particular knowledge of the South Australian coastal trade. In 1924, as the company's representative, he had accompanied members of the Eyre Peninsula Transport Commission when they investigated Spencer Gulf and the south-western coast of South Australia.

Appointed manager of the A.S.S.Co.'s Sydney branch in November 1931, Packard became a director of other firms in which his company had a financial interest, including Australian National Airways Pty Ltd, J. & A. Brown and Abermain Seaham Collieries Ltd, Newstead Wharves & Stevedoring Co. Pty Ltd and the Waratah Tug & Salvage Co. Pty Ltd. He was chairman of the New South Wales Interstate Shipowners' Association and of the Sydney branch of the Australasian Steamship Owners' Federation (1939-41, 1942-45). During World War II he chaired the Shipping Control Board's Sydney traffic committee.

As general manager from 1 July 1946 until his retirement in 1951, Packard was faced with higher operating costs, as well as with demands by maritime unions which not only added greatly to expenses but also slowed down cargo handling and interrupted sailing schedules. The company's five passenger-ships and twenty-five cargo vessels had to compete with increasing air, rail and road transport. During Packard's term of office, company dividends averaged over 5½ per cent a year, but the A.S.S.Co. had diversified its business and much of its revenue came from subsidiaries unconnected with shipping. The results from shipping were dismal and the company fought a losing battle. Packard delayed the inevitable by keeping the A.S.S.Co. as efficient as possible.

A keen golfer and bridge player, Packard belonged to the Royal Sydney Golf, and the Australian, Newcastle and Adelaide clubs. Survived by his wife, daughter and son, he died on 29 September 1963 at Woollahra and was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Oct 1938, 1 Oct 1963
  • Adelaide Steamship Co Ltd records (State Library of South Australia and Australian National University Archives).

Citation details

G. A. Hardwick, 'Packard, Guy Spencer (1884–1963)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/packard-guy-spencer-11325/text20219, published in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 1 November 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (MUP), 2000

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