BRISBANE HERITAGE 'BUS 80' LANDS AT MUSEUM

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy QOCS + BCC


FOLLOWING its long-awaited refurbishment, iconic heritage 'Bus 80' is now on display undercover for the first time in its 72-year life, project organisers have announced.

BRISBANE HERITAGE 'BUS 80' LANDS AT MUSEUM
It's been a long road, but historic Brisbane Bus 80 is now on display in the Queensland Transport Museum until July, 2021.

Bus 80 was relocated by Barnes Auto Co on Sunday, July 12, 2020 to Gatton – a rural town in the Lockyer Valley of Queensland - where it stayed overnight in the Gatton Bus Service depot, courtesy of owner Jim Hill. It was then driven by Queensland Omnibus & Coach Society (QOCS) members to the Queensland Transport Museum. Here it will remain until July, 2021. 

"Having one of our heritage bus fleet on public display for the first time is an important milestone for our organisation, as we are actively working to establish our own museum in Brisbane, which will be known as the Brisbane Transport Museum," said QOCS president Nick Wilson.

"We currently have our eye on a World War II aircraft hangar at Eagle Farm, known as Hangar 7, which is owned by the Brisbane City Council and currently undergoing refurbishment for use as a museum.

"We believe this is the ideal location to establish a transport museum, as it is a large undercover area with vast historical significance to Brisbane," he said.

Aside from the Brisbane Tramway Museum at Ferny Grove, there is currently no dedicated transport museum in Brisbane to celebrate and recognise the Brisbane City Council’s (BCC) 95-year involvement with the city’s transportation needs, Wilson explains.

QOCS is seeking to fill this void and is hoping that Council’s Hangar 7 premises will eventually be home to the Brisbane Transport Museum, he adds.

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LONG JOURNEY

As one of Brisbane City Council’s first purpose-built buses – a 72-year-old diesel-powered British AEC Regal III – it recently debuted to the public in action with a 'sentimental spin around the city' last July 10, as ABC reported earlier.

According to sources at the time, the restoration was funded by an AUD$19,000 Queensland Government Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant.

Bus 80 – with a Commonwealth Engineering body built in Sydney – was one of 12 diesel-powered buses brought into service in 1948, QOCS explains.

"Between October 1947 and April 1948, the Brisbane City Council began consolidating the bus system in Brisbane by compulsorily acquiring 20 private operators," Wilson said.

The bus began operating from the BCC’s Light Street depot in Fortitude Valley in June 1948, and remained in service until September 1971.

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SOUND SUPPORT

Queensland State Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey MP unveiled the restoration alongside BCC Chair of the Public and Active Transport Committee Cr Murphy, in July.

Wilson says QOCS was grateful the Queensland Government funding allowed Bus 80 to have another lease of life.

Acacia Ridge-based firm Coachworks conducted the restoration, which began in May. Coachworks general manager Scott Isaacs says it was an enjoyable project to work on as the coronavirus lockdown created uncertainty in the transport industry.

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A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to preserving Brisbane’s bus history, QOCS’s plan is to one day feature Bus 80 and its fleet of 16 other vintage buses in a proposed Brisbane Transport Museum at Council’s Hangar 7 facility at Eagle Farm, it states.

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