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Dion’s Bus Service celebrates 100 years

Having started by chance as a way to allow a struggling family to survive in Australia, Dion’s Bus Service recently celebrated a century running services for Wollongong locals

For more than a century, Dion’s Bus Service has become an iconic part of the bus network in Wollongong, NSW.

A century ago, Thomas Dion arrived at South Australia’s gold fields from China before settling in Wollongong in 1923.

Following Dion’s passing, his son, also called Thomas, founded the operator to provide for his mother and his 12 siblings on December 1 of that year. Now, the operator has raised 100 years of running local bus services.

Thomas Snr’s grandson Les Dion recently told ABC Illawarra Breakfast that the history of the company is “just phenomenal”.

“It nearly failed at one point because there was going to be a repossession of some of the buses because patronage had dropped off and you had the Great Depression,” Dion says.

“This gentleman named Brooky Ball purchased the buses and rented them back to Tom so he could carry on with the service.”

Les Dion purchased the business in 2004, with the history of the operator set to be turned into a documentary by local film-maker Sandra Pires.

Having started with just the one route from Wollongong to Bellambi, Dion’s Bus Service has now evolved and features the latest bus and coach technology.

Yet it is still rooted in its history of ensuring people from the Wollongong region safely travel to their destination each day.

“Ask any elderly person who was around the area at the time and they’ll tell you that Dion’s never made you walk,” Dion says.

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