British Classic Buses in Australia - (Page 1)
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Last updated 1 January 2017
These pages form a scrapbook of material about British buses in Australia.
The other pages are Australian Buses Page 2, Australian Buses Page 3 and a page about Melbourne (MTT) OPS4/1 Tigers.
Please feel free to send any suitable items and I will be happy to post them.
There are some Australian bus links at the foot of this page.
THE SYDNEY BUS MUSEUM IS BACK! (UPDATE)
Sydney AEC Regent 2338, freshly restored just in time for the opening of the new Museum premises.
The Sydney Bus Museum was formed in 1986 at Tempe in south Sydney, but in 2010 the premises became a working bus depot and the Museum needed to move. That process has been huge, and only now is the splendid new facility at Leichhardt, about 3 miles west of the city centre, ready to open. A special preview day for invited guests took place just before Christmas 2015 and the official opening day (invitation only) will be on 1 August 2016, after which it will open to the public on the first and third Sunday of each month starting from 7 August. It is hoped that the frequency of open days can be increased over time. So at last visitors will once again be able to see the Museum's superb collection, including Sydney Regent 2338 seen above, which has just undergone a painstaking total restoration by the team. Many thanks to Garth Wyver (one of that team) for sending me the photo and the info.
A COUPLE OF PICTURES FROM NEW SOUTH WALES
John Townsend went out to Australia early in 2015 and kindly brought back a pair of photos for the Classic Buses Website. The picture above shows Flxible Clipper FLX.045 in the livery of Pioneer Express which John spotted along the front at Newcastle NSW. There are quite a few Clippers in the country, and even a Flxible Clipper Club of Australia but we've never featured one on this website, so thanks to John for the chance to put that right.
John's second picture shows New South Wales Leyland Titan No.2186 climbing up Bridge Street, Sydney. Built in 1949, it is now part of the Sydney Bus Museum collection. Thanks very much to John for sending the pictures.
THIS REGAL IS (PROBABLY) UNIQUE
In September 2014 I was sent this picture of an AEC Regal in New South Wales, and it could be the only one of its breed.
Garth is a volunteer at the Sydney Bus Museum (now moved to new premises at Leichhardt, about 3 miles west of the city centre and not yet open to the public). He kindly keeps me advised of news from the collection, but this vehicle was actually spotted at Blackheath NSW, about 50 miles north west of Sydney, and just a short bush walk from Garth's home.
Clearly an AEC Regal, its proof of identity was revealed when Garth chatted up the owner and got inside the vehicle (now a mobile home up on blocks), which has the number 2535 painted in the cab, along with a ComEng body plate dated 1951. This establishes that it is one of fifty Regal III buses delivered to the Department of Road Transport & Tramways, Sydney in 1951, numbered 2521-2537, 2539-2550 and 2561-2580. There was a similar batch of 18 built in 1954/55 on AEC Regent III chassis.
Apparently the bus was at Kurragong before coming to the Blue Mountains. It will run, but has a leaking radiator and brake problems. Although one of the 1955 Regent III single deckers survives (No.2878 at the Sydney Bus Museum) I believe that Garth has discovered here the only remaining example of the 50 Regals (unless you know better?). This surely has to be a preservation candidate! Thanks very much to Garth for his research and photography.
THE STORAGE YARD AT WHITEMAN PARK
Here's an intriguing picture from Australia. How can you resist walking over to take a look at this lot? It was sent to me by regular contributor Nicholas Pusenjak and shows the storage yard at Whiteman Park, Perth, home of the Bus Preservation Society of Western Australia.
Nicholas says; "Bus Preservation Society of Western Australia has a severe lack of storage for its collection. This panoramic view of buses in external storage taken by Colin Davison shows buses held for future restoration or as spare parts donors. These are all outside of the area leased by the Society. Whiteman Park administration is comfortable with nine buses held outside, but not as many as we have. The Society needs more space, particularly covered accommodation and volunteers to restore and maintain the collection."
Left to right they are;
AEC Regal III (1948) - spare parts donor, retained as a rolling shell display. Ex WAGR A14.
Bedford SB (1952) - restoration project. Ex Carlisle Bus Service 6 and MTT 185.
AEC Regal IV 9823E - restoration project.
Leyland Panther - spare parts.
AEC Regal VI - spare parts.
Foden PVSC - spare parts.
Guy Arab III (1950) - spare parts. Ex WAGT 99 and MTT 323.
Guy Victory Airide WUM Scenicruiser (1961) - spare parts. Ex WAGR G63.
AEC Regal III (1952) - spare parts. Ex Fremantle 22 and MTT 228.
2 x Guy Victory Airide WUM Scenicruiser (1961) - rolling shells (Ex WAGR G58 and G60), one to be restored out of three.
Mercedes-Benz O305G articulated bus (1979) - spare parts. Ex Transperth 470.
Not visible are two Dennis Lancet IV J7, a Daimler CVG5 and an AEC Regal VI.
That's a mouth-watering sight. Thanks Nicholas for sending the image and information.
A 1927 LEYLAND LION IS RESCUED
The Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society first drew my attention to this great discovery. It's a 1927 Leyland PLSC1 Lion.
TY 3673 (chassis number 46035) was new in September 1927 to Amos Proud of Choppington, Northumberland, with a Leyland B31F body. It was acquired by United Automobile in 1928 as No.B282, and then to Lincolnshire Road Car in 1931, for whom it worked out of Boston, Lincs as No.132. Exported in the 1950s it became a caravan, and wound up in Tasmania.
Then, in October 2013, I received this email from Peter & Helen Berry of Dandenong North, Melbourne;
"Thanks to the guys from the LVVS, my wife Helen negotiated the purchase of this bus in 2012, as a restoration project for us. We moved the bus on a flat bed truck in March 2013 from Tasmania to Melbourne. We modified our carport area and built a garage to restore the bus in at our house."
"TY 3673 was one of the Lions that was heavily rebuilt in 1946 and was finally retired from service in June 1951. As far as we know, the bus was purchased direct from Lincolnshire in the latter part of 1951 by a Mr Rose who then shipped the bus to Hobart, Tasmania. It was driven 12 miles from the Hobart docks to Cambridge where it was converted into living quarters for himself, his wife and four children. They lived in the bus while Mr Rose built a house on a newly acquired block."
"The bus was never registered in Tasmania and the gradual decline of the bodywork set in after a couple of years once they moved into the house. In 1986 The family moved away and the bus was offered to the Tasmanian Transport Museum who declined it because it had no local historical significance. But the curator of the museum knew of a fellow founder member who had been chasing the bus for years and, once contact was made with Mr Rose, he had four days to move it, before it went to scrap."
"It was transported in 1986 to the new owner's house and there it stayed until we purchased it. There is no explanation for moving an old bus half way round the world just to live in it for two years. All we can think of is that Mr Rose (now dead) must have had shipping connections and possibly got it shipped for next to nothing. In 1951 there were no old buses for sale in Tasmania but a tram body from Hobart could have been picked up quite cheaply, as many were."
"The bus has not run since 1951 but is 100% mechanically complete. The intention is to restore to working order the chassis by 2015 and rebuild the body by 2017, in time for its 90th birthday. It was never operated in Australia as a bus so will be restored to a 1930s condition with its Leyland-built front entrance 31-seat body as Lincolnshire Road Car Co number 132. We will be working closely with the LVVS who have been extremely helpful and supportive of this project. We are quite happy to keep you updated with progress on the restoration."
Great news! My thanks to Peter and Helen for letting me know, and I certainly hope they do keep me informed.
A COOGEE-SPEARWOOD RELIC TURNS UP
It was thought that there were no survivors from the fleet of Coogee-Spearwood Bus Co, but this Guy Arab has been discovered, and donated to the Bus Preservation Society of Western Australia in 2013. As you can see, it's in a bit of a state, but its rarity makes it a significant find.
The Coogee-Spearwood Omnibus Service, based in South Fremantle, was formed by Beryl & Eric Nicholls in 1934 from Amos Heal's "Silver Lining Motor Service" and John Jennings' "Spearwood Bus Service".
Coogee-Spearwood Guy Arab No.5 in Collie Street, Fremantle around 1951. Photo: Howard Cowell via BPSWA.
Promising development in the area, including road improvements and the provision of electricity to the communities, inspired B & E Nicholls to invest in the business, but it didn't live up to expectations and the business was put up for sale in 1938. Metro showed interest, but didn't buy it. The fleet during this period included products from Leyland, Brockway, Mercedes and White. From the 1940s they bought a Ford V8 and four Daimler CVG5 single deckers (numbered 1-4). In the 1950s they added two Guy Arabs (numbers 5 & 6), two Fodens (7 & 8), a Regal III (No.9) and apparently a Bedford SB.
A rare colour picture of Coogee-Spearwood No.5 in service. Photo: via Nicholas Pusenjak.
Nicholls offered the business to Metro again in 1948 and 1952, but still without success. A 1955 scheme whereby Metro would sell their Armadale operation to the W.A. Government Tramways, enabling Metro to concentrate on the western and southern regions (and to acquire Coogee-Spearwood as part of the consolidation) nearly worked, but the Government declined. In 1956 the company was restructured as the Coogee-Spearwood Buses Pty. Ltd and this firm was eventually acquired by Metropolitan Perth Passenger Transport Trust (MTT) in 1961.
Ex Coogee-Spearwood Guy Arab No.5 immediately after acquisition by MTT, becoming their No.473. The Regals alongside had just been taken over by MTT from Fremantle Municipal Tramways. Photo by Jim Bond, from the David Urquhart collection, via BPSWA.
MTT inherited the four Daimlers, the two Guy Arabs, the two Fodens and the Regal III, and their assessment was that the whole lot were in a pretty poor condition. Guy No.6 survived in MTT service until 1967 and the Regal until 1968. None of the ex Coogee-Spearwood buses were known to survive until No.6 surfaced again in 2013.
Coogee-Spearwood No.6 was discovered on a farm in the Great Southern Region. Photo: BPSWA via Nicholas Pusenjak.
The discovery of No.6 is quite a surprise and, having been donated to BPSWA, gives the Society an interesting challenge. An early aim of the group was to preserve at least one example from each of the operators that were taken over by MTT. So the decision now is whether to recover this essentially derelict - but unique - bus in its entirety, or use it for parts.
Guy Arab No.6 would make a challenging restoration project. Photo: BPSWA via Nicholas Pusenjak.
Many thanks to Nicholas Pusenjak for his assistance with this item and provision of photographs, and specific acknowledgement to Graeme Gugeri for his fine article in the April 2011 edition of Rattler (the magazine of the Bus Preservation Society of Western Australia) which provided much of the information.
IT'S RAINING REGALS IN PERTH
Nicholas Pusenjak kindly sent me some more great images in connection with recent arrivals at the Bus Preservation Society of Western Australia. Above is a Regal III that started life as Fremantle Tramways No.22, one of a batch of five delivered in 1952 with Boltons metal-framed bodies (see the image below of similar 25 in service).
After being acquired by MTT in 1960 the body was almost entirely rebuilt, and the bus was based mostly at Redcliffe. Finally withdrawn in 1976 it passed to Cliffs Robe River Mining for use at their facilities in the Pilbara area. It then became a mobile home and toured around Australia before coming to rest in a back yard in Victoria Park, where it lay for many years.
Arriving at BPSWA's premises at Whiteman Park in September 2012, the current expectation is that it will be used as a source of spares for the Association's other Regals - and that list has just grown again. Nicholas says "We have just been donated ex WA Government Railways A14. It was originally built with a timber-framed halfcab body and was rebodied as a full-front with fibreglass mouldings." Some previous pictures sent by Nicholas of WAGR Regals with the original and replacement bodies are on my Australian Page 3 here; and here is a picture of A14 when it arrived at Whiteman Park in November.
Nicholas says "I am hoping A14 may be kept intact as a static exhibit and coupled to a four wheel trailer of which we have secured the body part. It is a WAGR trailer that was hauled by three of their Regal IIIs to convey parcels and goods on several country routes. It will make a nice little static display. BPSWA has so many projects and so few people and little money that we can't restore them all to perfect operating examples but the mechanical parts from A14 and 228 should assist us to keep the other two Regal IIIs running in perpetuity."
Thanks Nicholas for the pictures and the news.
ANOTHER SYDNEY LEYLAND
These ex Sydney double deckers keep turning up. Although photographer Michael Haug would be the first to admit that this image (taken from an old phone camera in April 2011) isn't great, it does show that yet another Sydney bus is still around. Michael says it is on a property north west of Moree, NSW, and had been converted to a site office.
The number 1771 is visible on the offside rear, which tells us that it is the ninth (and last) of the very first batch of Leyland OPD1 Titans acquired by Sydney. Delivered in 1946 with a Clyde body, it may therefore be the oldest post-war Sydney Leyland in existence - unless you know better!
This excellent list records that it was sold in 1968 to Kingswood Wreckers then resold, and later noted as a stationary caravan at Walgett NSW. Well now we know more. Many thanks to Michael for sending the photo.
MORE SYDNEY DOUBLE DECKERS RESURFACE
Mark Clayton, Arts Faculty Manager at the University of Southern Queensland, sent me these fine photos in September 2012;
This is ex Sydney 2674, a 1952 Leyland Titan OPD2 with a Clyde body. It was sold in 1975 to the Department of Performing Arts, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, Toowoomba. By 1992 it was noted in use as a toolshed at nearby Dalby.
Mark now tells me that the Institute (since renamed the University of Southern Queensland) has reacquired the OPD2 it used to own and operate. The Southern Queensland Intitute of Technology has offered to restore this vehicle on behalf of the University. The pictures show it being relocated for restoration.
Mark also send me this picture of what appears to be an ex Sydney AEC Regent, privately owned at Roma in western Queensland. It was clearly at one time used by a radio station as the inscription on the side reads "Triple M, FM Stereo". That station still exists, and has regional bases in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Does anybody recognise the bus or can provide an identity?
Many thanks to Mark for the pictures.
RARE GUY VICTORY BUSES ARE RESCUED
Nicholas Pusenjak has kindly sent me the following photos and information;
"The Bus Preservation Society of Western Australia has successfully repatriated two former Western Australian Government Railways Guy Victory 'Scenicruiser' buses to Perth for restoration of the better of the two. The buses are G58 named 'Pride of the West' and G60 'Wheatlander'.
After withdrawal by the Western Australian Government Railways they were stripped of mechanical components and sold to a farmer in the Wheatbelt region for use as workers' accommodation. There they sat in a dry environment for 41 years until this May when they were brought to the Society's facility at Whiteman Park, a suburb of Perth. Sister bus G63 (the yellow one) had been acquired the previous year and will yield the mechanical parts needed. It had been used by an aerial crop sprayer and the phosphates used in the fertilisers have corroded the body to the point of no return.
The Guy Victory was a rare chassis and only seven are known to have come to Australasia, - all to the Western Australian Government Railways. We have three and the whereabouts of another is known. We don't know if any were sold to other right-hand drive export markets or the home market. Some may have been sold in left-hand drive form for use on the Continent - Belgium, Holland or Greece perhaps?
The Guy Victory Airride is not to be confused with later simple and rugged front vertical-engine chassis that sold to Africa. Our buses have independent front suspension and disc brakes, and were powered by an underfloor-mounted Leyland O680 engine.
The photo above was taken at Whiteman Park shortly after the buses had been transported to Perth, and below is a page from the Guy sales brochure." Many thanks to Nicholas for that.
YET ANOTHER OLD SYDNEY LEYLAND TITAN
John Townsend sent me an email in October 2010 to say that he had spotted an old Leyland double decker in NSW, and here it is;
John says "I was in Newcastle NSW in January/February this year, and was having a run out in the car on our way to Port Stephens, when we came across an old Leyland double decker in the middle of a field in the Anna Bay area. You can see it on Google Earth (I had a look, but couldn't find it). I have had no luck trying to find out its details and wondered if you have any ideas. She is sitting in a field just off the highway to Port Stephens. On talking to my son (who lives in Newcastle NSW) he seems to think the highway is called Nelson Road, Anna Bay."
I think I'm safe in saying that it's an old Sydney Leyland Titan OPD1 or OPD2, but does anyone know which one? I can't see any signs of identity on it. Let me know if you can help, and meanwhile thanks to John for sending me the info.
Some Australian bus links;
See also Australian Buses Page 2, Australian Buses Page 3, and a page about Melbourne (MTT) OPS4/1 Tigers.
SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS WEBSITE;  Home Email THE COMPLETE WEBSITE MENU Events Diary Links Small-Ads Halfcab list Classic Irish Buses