b'A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWNLeft: Bill Miller (in the cockpit), Esk Sandford and their plane, which was rebuilt from the Walsh brothers Manurewa. Auckland 1913. Photo courtesy of the Walsh Memorial Library,The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).Span Farm Bill Miller was the original owner of Span Farm in Glendene. Born in 1888 in Waitati, Otago, he ran away to sea at theage of 13. He was equal parts adventurer, entrepreneurand engineer.Bill redesigned and rebuilt one of New Zealands first planes, the Manurewa, renamed the Sandford Miller Biplane after Bill and his aviation partner Esk Sandford. Bill later turned to mining and discovered manganese in the Bombay Hills and the Hunua Ranges. He also established Millers Garage in Khyber Pass, which sold and serviced cars, and is credited as the first Auckland garage to boast petrol pumps. Bill imported his Span Petrol from America, storing it atSpan Farm. After an unexplained fire at Span Farm endedthat venture, Bill cleared the land of bush and establishedan exhibition farm that, at its height, ran 2,000 pigs andmany sheep.Over time, housing grew up around the farm and the operation began to attract complaints from the local community. It drove the piggery to close in the mid 60s.So Bill began to develop Span Farm as an industrial development and a variety of light industry began tosprout upDixon & Haddon was amongst them. Bill sold Span Farm at the age of 83 and died fiveyears later in 1977. 14'