Celebrating 50 years

Queensland’s Haidley’s Panoramic Coaches celebrated a very important milestone recently

Celebrating 50 years
Three Generations: Mitchell Haidley, Don Haidley, Cameron Haidley, Hayden Haidley

The wheels have been turning for 50 years with Haidley’s Panoramic Coaches being an established Warwick coach and bus company.

As the owner of numerous Queensland Transport School runs and Warwicks only Licensed City Bus Service Haidley's Coaches have transported thousands of students daily to and from various schools and passengers to all parts of Australia.

Hundreds of friends, family, and past and present passengers attended a celebratory event at the Lyon Street Depot in May.

Photographs and memorabilia were on display, as well as complimentary bus tours on the original Connolly Dam school run and short drives in a historic bus around the CBD of Warwick.

Don and Heather Haidley bought their first school run - Silverwood/Connolly Dam P416 - which runs south of Warwick and a 9-seater VW Micro bus on May 10, 1966.

As time went on they decided to run small day tours around the Darling Downs and over the next few years more tours were run further afield and larger vehicles were purchased and the name Panoramic Coaches became a reality.

Later tour coaches were purchased and many groups of New Zealand passengers were arriving to travel to the Great Barrier Reef and other parts of Australia with long hours of driving by Don Haidley and staff driver, Roy McKendrick.

Their son, Cameron joined the business as an apprentice mechanic in 1975 aged 15 and has worked for 41 years as an ‘A’ grade motor mechanic, tour driver and is the current manager of Haidley’s Panoramic Coaches. 

There have been many highlights over the years from Expo 88, Olympic Games, Snowy Mountains tours and concerts including taking a coach load of passengers to Sydney to see ABBA in 1976 and nine coach loads of people from Warwick to Brisbane over two nights.

Also establishing the Panoramic Travellers Club in 1978 for passengers to get together, enjoy each other’s company and travel.  There was over 1000 members. 

Cameron remembers his first coach tour he did with his father in the late 1970s to Cairns in the Hino RC320 coach, which is still in the historic bus fleet along with the V8 Hino, Scania and PMC. 

Every vehicle has a distinctive character and great vehicles to drive. 

Don says the V8 Hino is his favourite. 

"We bought this coach brand new from Denning and to me it was the best coach of its time in the 1980s and 90s," says Don.

"For Cameron he has driven the Bova for the last 18 years and said it is up there for driver and passenger comfort."

In 1989 the partnership of Don and Heather dissolved, but Don continued to purchase more school runs and charter coaches.

Today, the third generation has commenced with Cameron and his wife Lyndal’s sons, Hayden and Mitchell, now credited with their coach license.

Haidley’s Coaches has eight school bus runs going for 42 weeks of the year and the urban Q Connect which runs year round.

Technology has changed the face of the transport industry over the last 50 years, according to Cameron.

"Everything is electronic now - from the ticketing systems to the buses themselves," he says. 

"There are CCTV cameras in most of the buses, making it a lot safer for passengers and the driver.

"Until we had mobile phones either UHFs and CBs only worked up to certain distances."

Don says it is a celebration to have been in business for 50 years but also it is a time to reflect on the wonderful staff that has worked for the business.

"Our passengers that have supported us and travelled on our vehicles and our suppliers for their great service and hope to continue more milestones in the future."

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