RESTORED BRISBANE HERITAGE BUS TO MAKE DEBUT

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy QOCS


ONE OF BRISBANE City Council’s first purpose-built buses – a 72-year-old diesel-powered British A.E.C Regal III - will take a sentimental spin around the city tomorrow (Friday, 10 July), after a “breathtaking restoration”, organisers have announced.

RESTORED BRISBANE HERITAGE BUS TO MAKE DEBUT
The bus began operating from the BCC’s Light Street depot in Fortitude Valley in June, 1948, and remained in service until September, 1971, QOCS states.

Bus 80 will stop at Stop 21 on Adelaide Street outside City Hall from 11.00am until noon, allowing locals a chance to marvel at a bygone era of bus design and engineering.

The Queensland Omnibus and Coach Society (QOCS) will reveal the vehicle’s makeover, funded by a $19,000 Queensland Government Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant.

Bus 80 - a British A.E.C Regal III chassis 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," QOCS president Nick Wilson said.

"It drastically improved services, but many of the buses they inherited were old and ran on petrol."

The gleaming silver Bus 80 cost £5,110, the equivalent to approximately $319,800 in today’s money, it states.

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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NEW LEASE OF LIFE

Queensland State Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey MP will unveil the restoration alongside BCC Chair of the Public and Active Transport Committee Cr Murphy.

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

"There would be many who still remember Bus 80 and others like it servicing suburbs such as Doomben, Indooroopilly, Moorooka, Norman Park, Tarragindi and Yeerongpilly," Wilson said.

"It’s an important part of Brisbane’s transport history - and while the city looks very different, it will be great to give Bus 80 a run on some of the streets it would have traversed day after day for more than 20 years."

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.

"The Covid-19 slowdown has meant that the timing of these projects is mutually beneficial," he said.

"Our team always enjoy working on club buses and it’s a great talking point for our customers and suppliers when they visit our workshop."

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FINAL HOME

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

However, until this time, Bus 80 will instead be displayed at the Queensland Transport Museum in Gatton, it confirms.

"It’s the first time a QOCS bus will be able to be seen by the general public all year round," Wilson said.

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