Westaway One Name Study
John Trewin Westaway
Sharing the research of all Westaway families worldwide

John Westaway & Elizabeth Mercy Alice Stephens

John Westaway son of William Sweet Westaway and Elizabeth Beare, was born in Meeth, Devon, in 1851 died 1900 – Grahamstown – South Africa – John emigrated to South Africa with wife – Elizabeth  Mercy Alice Stephens- born – in Stoke Damerel (now Devonport, Plymouth), daughter of Jonathan Stephens and Alice. In 1861 Jonathan was a Navy tailor and outfitter in the Devonport area.

Grahamstown, South Africa

John married Elizabeth in 1880 in Stoke Damerel and in the 1881 census John was a hosier and engine fitter in H.M. Dockyards, Plymouth, living at 48, Albert Road, Devonport with his wife Alice, (As she was commonly known).. They emigrated to South Africa in 1882 on the ship “Moore”. John’s occupation then was engine fitter/engineer, the same occupation as his father,William Sweet, brother William Henry and also brother Lawrence Beare (Kaye's g’grandfather). John and Elizabeth (Alice) had four children –


              • Reginald John Westaway – born 1882 – Morice town, Plymouth, Devon
              • Ashley William Westaway – born 1883 – Morice Town, Plymouth, Devon (Sandy’s family line)
              • Ethel Blanche Westaway – born – 1886 – Grahamstown – SA
              • Arnold Stephens Westaway – born – 1888 – Grahamstown - SA

John established the Devon Engineering Works on Grahamtown and when he died in 1900, his son Reginald John took it over.

Reginald John Westaway


Reginald married Christina Mackenzie, but they had no children, so the business then went to his nephew, Ashley John Westaway, Sandy;s Uncle

SHELL NEWS May - June 1952: " ... there are unfortunately too few of us, who, in these busy times, pause to give thought to the achievements of our pioneers, and the debt which we owe them. Not the least among our pioneers was Mr Reg Westaway, of Grahamstown. His story goes back to the days when motor cars were unknown, when tarred streets did not exist, and when the safest way of getting from town to town was on horseback.

Reg was born in Devonport, and, at the age of four years, sailed with his parents from Plymouth in the ship "Moore". His family arrived in South Africa in 1886 and settled in Grahamstown where his father, Mr John Westaway established the 'Devon Engineering Works'. Reg was educated at the old Grahamstown Public School and, after the death of his father in 1900 took over the Devon Engineering Works. At this early age, he displayed marked ability, not only as an engineer, but as a man of enterprise and foresight. It was as a result of his initiative that the first car to appear in Grahamstown was imported by him on behalf of a Mr Galpin in 1901. From this time on, Reg became an ardent motor trader, and some of his early agencies included 'Metz', 'Sunbeam' and 'Hupp' cars. The progress of his firm was associated largely with the development of the motor industry and in 1914 new premises were acquired in Cuyler Street. Subsequently it was again necessary to move, in 1926, to larger premises in High Street, where the firm is today established. As a man Reg was beloved by all who knew him. He always took a keen interest in public affairs and for many years held office as Chairman of the Grahamstown branch of the Association. He was an ardent believer in technical education, and was the Association's representative on the Grahamstown Technical College Committee for some fifteen years. He was a foundation member of the Grahamstown R.A.C., which was established in 1922.

A poor copy of his aeroplane.  

Among his many hobbies flying probably appealed to him most. In 1934, he bought the first private aeroplane to Grahamstown. Since that date he owned no less than four light planes, and made frequent trips to various parts of the country. In spite of his interest in flying, he found time to enjoy a little motor racing, and in 1918 he won a cup for hill climbing outright, after leading the field for three consecutive years in 1913 Hupp. His association with Grahamstown goes back over fifty years, and he could remember the 'City of Saints', when it was a mere handful of houses clustered round the cathedral. Reg passed away on the 25 October 1949. There are many who will remember and miss his kindly encouragement and forthright advice and we pay tribute to him not only as a pioneer, but as one who has always sought to achieve the well-being of his fellow men.

He left his widely known business to his nephew Ashley John Westaway who has been associated with the firm for many years. Ashley was born and educated in Grahamstown and he started work as a petrol pump attendant on the 1 December 1929, He later served his apprenticeship in the workshop as a motor mechanic and spent several years in the spares department, office and also as a car salesman. He is very proud to be the proprietor of the oldest established motor business in the town and hopes to get his sons interested in the business to carry on the fine reputation and policy laid down by their great grandfather the late John Westaway. He carries the Studebaker and Packard car agencies. On the 1 October 1951 Ashley decided to be a Shell dealer and he is most enthusiastic about this new venture. With the increase in petrol sales he is firmly convinced that he has chosen the most popular brand of petrol, and the training of his staff by the Shell training team will give the motoring public all that there is to be desired for quick, efficient and courteous service.

The original piece that appeared in the Shell Newspaper

Reginald John Westaway's Obituary & Monumental Headstone


Elizabeth (nee Stephens), died on the 20th July, 1933 and this beautiful obituary reminds us of how well she was repected.

The house they lived in in Grahamstown was very grand and quite different in style from the Australian homes.

The engagement notice for Ethel Blanche born 1886, daughter of John and Elizabeth.

The engagement is announce of F G H Webb of East Rand and Ethel B Westaway of Grahamtown


Sandy's tree


Many thanks to Sandy for all the information on this page and for letting us share this.



  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Westaway family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978