British Classic Buses in Australia - (Page 1)
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Last updated 17 February 2018
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.
NOTES FROM THE SYDNEY BUS MUSEUM
Garth Wyver, volunteer at the Sydney Bus Museum, called in on 17 February 2018 but said that he "Didn't do any work - spent most of the time chatting". Fortunately he also spent a bit of time taken pictures for the Classic Buses Website. This one shows an apprentice-built model of 1981 Mercedes Benz O305 No.2516 with a PMC Mk.3 B43D body. The original bus seems to have come to grief by falling into water. Can someone explain?
Garth says "I caught 2643 basking in the sun". This is a Sydney AEC Regent III and may be one of only two survivors of a large batch delivered in 1951-53. It wears the blue and cream PTC livery of the 1970s. In the background is the Museum's 1970 Leyland PDR1 Atlantean 1003 in the same colours.
"This is one of three Hong Kong buses hanging around but not owned by the Museum", said Garth. "They are enormous vehicles!" In fact it is ML1, the first prototype of the 12 meter, 3-axle MCW Super Metrobus to be delivered to China Motor Bus. It has a capacity of 170 passengers, which was a record high in Hong Kong at that time. It's currently preserved in Sydney and a model of it is available for sale in the Museum's shop.
Many thanks to Garth, as always.
REO SPEEDWAGON FOUND IN NEW SOUTH WALES
My regular correspondent Garth Wyver was visiting Hay, NSW in August 2017 and found this old Reo Speedwagon bus in a yard. New to a company in Oxley NSW (and it looks to me like a late 1940s model), it had been used as a school bus, then owned by a church, and finally a mobile home. It had no seats, and the steering wheel and column had been removed.
Although a Pepsi advert on the back is not clear in this photo, the hooks are for transporting pushchairs. Thanks to Garth for sharing an interesting discovery.
UPDATE: In February 2018 this bus was advertised on Gumtree for AUD 8,000. The seller said it dated from 1935 and had one spring missing (as well as the steering wheel). The location was shown as being just off the Cobb Highway (B75) north of Hay NSW.
ADELAIDE DAIMLER TO BE RESTORED
This picture was kindly sent to me by Garth Wyver in Australia. He helps out at the Sydney Bus Museum and tells me that next in line for restoration there is this rare and early Adelaide Daimler CVG6.
Adelaide MTT bought fifteen CVG6s in 1947/48 (numbered 112 to 126) and fitted them with Commonwealth Engineering highbridge dual-entrance bodies. Unlike the majority of UK domestic sales of the CVG6, most exported chassis were 8 feet wide, and that's the case with the Adelaide batch. In 1960/61 twelve of them were transferred to Transway in the northern Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth, where they lasted about another 10 years. But the other (first) three of the original batch didn't go that way, and No.112 (c/n 13319, new in April 1947) remains as the sole survivor.
Garth also sent me a page from the original maintenance record for this bus dating back to 1947. It reveals that it "Arrived overland from Sydney" on 30 May 1947, was put "Into traffic" on 30 May 1947 and was involved in a serious collision in 1949.
Apparently it has been wearing the registration 224.663 (instead of 224.662) which actually belongs to No.119, but I'm sure the Museum will put that right as they restore the bus back to its original Adelaide red and silver livery. There are some surviving Adelaide trolleybuses but, as far as I know, this is the only remaining Adelaide MTT motorbus, so it's an important relic. Thanks very much to Garth for sending the picture.
SYDNEY REGENT HEADS FOR RESTORATION DOWN AT THE PUB
Mat Foster normally sends me photos from New Zealand, but in June 2017 he sent me this picture (taken in August 2016) from Australia for a change. Mat says "This bus used to run around the Gold Coast. It's in a pretty bad state but was going away to have a full restoration and be used as a team tour bus on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. The couple that own it also have an English pub."
And so they do - The Fox & Hounds Country Inn at Wongawallan, Queensland, which claims to be the only English pub on the Gold Coast. They have real English beer and their menu includes Toad in the Hole and Yorkshire Pudding! Thanks for the news, Mat. Anybody know which Sydney Regent it is?
RESTORATION OF A MELBOURNE 1912 DAIMLER
Melbourne Daimler CC No.21 in service around a century ago.
Malcolm Nixon contacted me from Wagga Wagga in February 2017 to let me know about a 1912 Daimler CC that Nixons Engineering had restored. Malcolm says "Its origins were as a vehicle imported to Australia by the Melbourne Motor Omnibus Company. The Daimler company built approximately 560 units of the CC bus chassis between 1912 to 1914. This restored vehicle is chassis number CC-9. There are only two known Daimler CC buses in the world - this one located in Wagga Wagga and one in England that is missing its engine."
Melbourne Motor Omnibus Daimler CC No.1 restored by Nixon Engineering
Malcolm continues "Production of the CC chassis stopped when war was declared with the Daimler factory ramping up production of the CB model which had a longer 13 ft wheelbase and a heavier chassis for a 4 tonne truck. Features of the Daimler CC bus include:
- Timber frame chassis with steel flitch plates each side, hot riveted.
- Daimler 4 cylinder sleeve valve engine.
- Daimler 3 speed roller chain drive gearbox (which reduced noise for bus passengers).
- Front Tyres 34" x 4" single solid rubber.
- Rear Tyres 36" x 9" dual solid rubber.
In Australia, this is the oldest restored British-built commercial vehicle on the road."
My thanks to Malcolm for sending me the information and pictures, and congratulations to Nixons Wagga for producing such a fabulous restoration.
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, able to open. A special preview day for invited guests took place just before Christmas 2015 and the official opening day was on 1 August 2016, after which it opened to the public on the first and third Sunday of each month. It is hoped that the frequency of open days can be increased over time. So at last visitors can once again 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.
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