February 2 - 8, 2020: Issue 436


Sydney Bus Museum Volunteers Helps Mona Vale Bus Depot Celebrate 50th Anniversary of opening

The Sydney Bus Museum crew that made it happen (minus Brendan who had already fled to go back to Melbourne!) - Sydney Bus Museum photo.

On Monday January 27th, 2020 the Sydney Bus Museum marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of Mona Vale Bus Depot by operating bus shuttles around Mona Vale and through the depot. Included are a few photographs from the day. Our thanks go to State Transit who invited them to help mark this significant anniversary of a key part of our local public transport story. Thanks once more to the Sydney Bus Museum for sharing these photographs taken on the day with Readers.

The Sydney Bus Museum has an extensive collection of New South Wales Government and Private Bus Services buses, and tells the story of the history of bus transportation, particularly in NSW, through Australia’s largest collection of historic buses and bus memorabilia.

Visiting groups have the choice of a group tour under the guidance of a knowledgeable volunteer or of wandering free within the museum to concentrate on buses and exhibits that most interest them.

Visitors are able to see a wide variety of buses on display and gain insights into the way in which bus transportation has changed and continues to change people’s lives. At the end of their tour or individual inspections, visitors may care to spend time in the Museum Shop where there is a wide range of bus models, transport literature and memorabilia for sale. 

Tours are expected to last about 90 minutes and are available on Wednesdays, Saturdays and the 1st & 3rd Sundays of each month (Museum public open days). A vintage bus ride is also available upon prior arrangement; there are two bus journeys to pick from: a short 25-minute return trip to the City, and a longer 45-minute trip to Huntley's Point and return. 

This week was a rare opportunity to see inside a working bus depot, with the community invited to a ride-along through Mona Vale Depot on two historic double-decker buses from the Sydney Bus Museum.Between 10am and 2pm there were tour departures from the City-bound B-Line bus stop at Mona Vale (Pittwater Rd) to Ponderosa Street. The round trip took around 15 minutes.

A donation for those taking the bus ride was requested - all put towards the Bushfire Relief Fund.

The Sydney Bus Museum provided these rides using two former Northern Beaches double deckers: an Albion Venturer SPCX19W and a Leyland PDR1A/1 Atlantean.

Leyland OPD2/1 2087 was one of the first buses allocated to Mona Vale in 1970. It is followed by a Northern Beaches staple, Albion CX19W 1892. Sydney Bus Museum photo.

Conductor Bradley resplendent in 1960s DGT uniform. Fares please! Sydney Bus Museum photo.

Albion Venturer SPCX19W 1892 at Mona Vale main on a shuttle run. Sydney Bus Museum photo.

Leyland Atlantean 1224 drifting down into Mona Vale. 1224 is significant as the last double decker built for the NSW Government until the B-Line MAN / Gemilang deckers were delivered in 2017. Sydney Bus Museum photo.

Leyland 'synchro' 2087 on Mona Vale Rd. Sydney Bus Museum photo.

On January 26th 1970, Mona Vale Depot opened with an initial allocation of 60 buses, comprising a mix of AEC and Leyland Underfloors, Leyland 'Green' Leopards and Leyland OPD2/1 double deckers. The Mona Vale Depot took over most of the routes north of Narrabeen from Brookvale Bus Depot.

December 28th, 1969: work is well advanced on construction of the fuel bay (left) and maintenance facilities (centre-right). Taken from the Darley Rd. entrance. John Ward photo.

January 26th, 1970: Transferred in from the Brookvale Depot, Leyland OPD2?1 2493 turning into the depot from Darley Road, Mona Vale. John Ward photo.

May 8th, 1970: Transport Minister Milton Morris speaking at the official opening of the Mona Vale Depot. State Transit archives photo.

The first Leyland Atlantean 1001 outside the administration and operations building, likely during the official opening on May 8th, 1970. State Transit Archives photo.

Depot staff on a new Atlantean 1001 at the official opening on May 8th, 1970. State Transit Archives photo.

This Leyland Atlantean double-deck bus was used in Sydney between 1970 and 1980. It differed radically in design from all previous double-deckers used here because it had its engine placed in the rear of the vehicle and a door at the front enabling the driver to collect the fares instead of a conductor. The introduction of these buses led to industrial action being taken by bus drivers and their union when, under the Askin government, the phasing out of conductors began:

Dispute hits four bus depots 

SYDNEY, Monday. — Northern suburbs government bus travellers, left stranded today by a strike at the Brookvale and Mona Vale depots, will have to make similar emergency arrangements tomorrow.

The dispute began at i.10 this morning at Brookvale when a driver was suspended after refusing to operate single-handed the new Atlantean double-deck buses.

Busmen at the Brookvale depot went on strike and employees at the Mona Vale depot struck when they heard of the suspension, bringing the total on strike at the two depots to 440.

The dispute then spread to the North Sydney and Willoughby depots when another 40 men were suspended for refusing to operate buses beyond the Spit Bridge. - Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Tuesday 2 March 1971, page 3

The dispute went on for months:


SYDNEY: In an attendance of over 300 Brookvale and Mona Vale bus workers last Friday, there were only three dissentients to a resolution to maintain their stand against one-man manning of Atlantean double-decker buses. The dispute, forced on the union by the Askin Government and its Transport Department, has left key North Shore areas without buses for three weeks, and has led to $800 in fines on the union under the Arbitration penal clauses (see story Page 4). During Friday's 2 1/2-hour meeting at Brookvale, no one questioned the union's declaration that (like other unions) it would not pay fines. 

After the meeting, the union's secretary, Mr P. Ryan, said that Premier Askin's suggestion that the Government might sell out the Manly-Warringah' bus services to private enterprise was an attempt to coerce the unions. Any such move would run into the resistance of the whole trade union movement, and the public. Mr Askin, he said, had made no mention of any such possibility in his policy speech for the February State election. 

After the meeting, Tribune talked with bus men and women, picked at random, and found them unanimous that the Atlantean was unsuitable, for safety and other reasons, for one-man operation. A bus conductress said: "We don't think they'd be safe if they had only a driver." 

A group of men — including union branch president Noel Quailey and Fred Lee and Alan O'Donnell — said the same thing, in more detail, points made by them included the risks from Atlanteans being wider than other doubledeckers, leaning on cambers and having hazards from overhanging awnings and corner poles, etc, At some depots, ramps have been constructed with rubber awnings, etc., 'for training -"but when you get on the road the real awnings aren't rubber." 

Though the buses have not yet been in passenger service, one of those in the Brookvale depot already has a marked dent on the upper deck. The periscope for drivers to observe what was happening on the upper deck was not satisfactory, they said, and could be misted or otherwise obscured. One said that a device intended to prevent the bus from moving while the door was open could be jammed while the bus was travelling, bringing it to an abrupt stop. The buses had been sent to all depots for the workers to see. Every depot had been against one-man operation. And, they agreed, bus workers have daily experience (some have been driving for up to 30 years) and it is their opinion which should count on safety and other aspects of suitability, from the viewpoint of both crews and public. 

Photo: UNION secretary P. Ryan after the bus workers' Brookvale meeting last Friday. In the left background is one of the Atlantean double-deckers. - Tribune (Sydney, NSW : 1939 - 1976), Wednesday 24 March 1971, page 10

Bus strike threat

SYDNEY, Friday. — A threatened general bus strike in Sydney on Monday would leave about 800,000 regular government bus travellers without a service.

The strike threat arises from a State Government decision that Sydney bus drivers will be rostered on Monday to operate doubledeck Atlantean buses' as one-man units.

The State secretary of the Government Bus Employees Union, Mr Pat Ryan, said today that drivers would adhere to a union decision not to drive Atlanteans without a conductor. - Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Saturday 29 May 1971, page 9


No-strike clause for bus union

SYDNEY, Thursday, — The Deputy President of the Commonwealth Arbitration Commission, Commission, Mr Justice Moore, inserted a no-strike clause in the bus employees union award after a brief court hearing today. The bans clause will prohibit the drivers from going out on strike and could lead to further negotiations with the Government Transport Department.

Mr Justice Moore said he was taking every step he could to allow both parties to resume negotiations. He described the present situation as an "emergency" and his actions were based on the difficulty which a strike would impose on the public.

The new clause, to be effective for six months, was made effective as of yesterday.

One senior bus official was suspended today from driving buses while another said he had received death threats. The NSW President of the Government Bus Employees Association, Mr Noel Quailey, was suspended and warned off all bus depots. He has been ordered to appear tomorrow before a departmental inquiry on a charge alleging misconduct.

Mr Quailey, a driver at Willoughby, was ordered to leave the depot when he reported for work at 7.30am.

The secretary of the Bus Employees Union, Mr Pat Ryan, said today he was concerned about an anonymous threat to his life, but he had not asked for police protection. At the union office, a telephone caller told Mr Ryan: "Your blood will run in the gutter tonight if the buses are not manned".

Rebel bus drivers, who say they have been threatened with violence, have been given police protection on their journeys to and from depots. Mr Ryan said an explosive situation had developed, threatening all bus services in Sydney and Newcastle.

Beer flowing

SYDNEY, Thursday. — Beer is flowing freely again in Sydney's four major breweries after a decision by unionists to resume work. The strike, which began yesterday, involved 150 members of the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemens Association from Rcschs, Tooths, Tooheys and Millers' breweries. - Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Friday 4 June 1971, page 8

Bus drivers vote to return to work

SYDNEY, Monday. — Striking bus union ists voted today 3,440 to 12 in favour of a 24-hour truce in the Atlantean bus dispute.

From midnight tonight, bus crews in Sydney and Newcastle will return to work to allow the Arbitra tion Commission to hear the dispute tomorrow.

The meeting at Redfern Oval warned, however, that the union would again walk out at midnight tomorrow if 317 drivers, suspended for refusing Atlantean service, were not reinstated. - Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), Tuesday 30 November 1971, page 3

Sydney Bus Strike Could End Today

SYDNEY; Monday (AAP): industrial observers believe Sydney's three-week-old bus strike could end. today when the 4500 busmen meet to choose between continuing the strike indefinitely or driving double decker Atlantean buses for a trrial period. 

There has been pre dictions of a strong anti-strike vote at a mass meeting, this morning, because many of the busmen are beginning to feel the effect on their pockets. \

One of the proposals expected to be put before the meeting is a plan to operate the Atlantean buses on selected routes as one-man units 'for a trial period'.

The strike started three weeks ago as a protest by the busmen against the New South Wales Government's insistence that the men should drive the new double - decker Atlanteans without a conductor.  The busmen claimed they were dangerous as one-man units. 

Last night the New South Wales 'Premier, Mr R. Askin, appealed to the men to return to work with a guarantee that they would be fairly treated. Further encouragement for a resumption of work came from the Government Transport Department, which pledged that it would pay strikers before Christinas if  they went back today. A department spokesan said' last night that  it would restore full rights to those dismissed or suspended over the dispute.  - Papua New Guinea Post-Courier (Port Moresby : 1969 - 1981), Monday 20 December 1971, page 7

The fleet of 224 Leyland Atlanteans were placed in service in Sydney by the Public Transport Commission, later the Urban Transit Authority, between 1970 and 1972. The Atlantean design was pioneered in England in 1958 by Leyland Motors in response to the fall in passenger numbers being carried after the Second World War due to the rise in use and ownership of cars. 

Not employing a conductor saved transport providers huge costs. The New South Wales Government bus services commenced in Sydney in 1932, on a route from Manly to Cremorne Junction. Early double-deck buses were of the short wheel-base, front-engine half-cab design with access via a rear platform. Visit: Tram Memorabilia - Historic Daylight Run For Sydney Light Rail Begins 80 Years After Last Tram To Narrabeen Closed 

The union unrest during the 1970s continued with a 6-week stop work in 1972 over the removal of conductors from Atlanteans. The State Government moved the conductors into other areas which meant they were re-employed as street ticket sellers, drivers and clerks. 

The last of the Leyland Atlanteans left Sydneys' roads in 1986. Difficulty in obtaining spare parts for the Leylands saw the government change to the Mercedes-Benz MKII models instead. 

Today the Mona Vale Depot houses 121 buses - Volvo B10BLEs, Volvo B12BLEs of both rigid and articulated types, and 'B-Line' MAN ND323F double-deckers. It operates all B-Line B1 services as well the majority of other services on the Northern Beaches together with Brookvale Depot.

Albion 1921 

The Sydney Bus Museum has been given a unique opportunity to purchase fully rebuilt Albion Double Decker 1921 to add to its collection of Sydney double deckers. Sydney's Albions were the workhorses of the Northern Beaches and had a major presence in the Eastern Suburbs until 1970.

To offset the purchase cost the Sydney Bus Museum is seeking donations from members and the community, interested members and friends. Join us to save this superb vehicle, reunite her with her sisters at the Sydney Bus Museum and return her to Sydney's roads.

How you can help

Donate online
Donate online today by visiting our special GoFundMe page.

Direct Debit 
BSB 032-184
Account no 22 0484
Add 1921 fund in the description, and email us your details if you require a tax receipt.

Cheques can be made payable to Sydney Bus Museum and sent to
Albion 1921 Appeal  
PO Box 630 Leichhardt NSW 2040
Include your name and contact details if you require a tax receipt.

Thanks for your support.

About the Sydney Bus Museum

The Sydney Bus Museum is a not-for-profit organisation first established in 1986 at Tempe, and now permanently based within the Old Tramshed at Leichhardt in Sydney's inner-west. We are a working museum made up of over 250 members who together help to preserve a rare, and invaluable collection of historic buses dating from the 1920s to 1980s.

Our organisation has continued to exist for over 25 years thanks to our entirely voluntary workforce, who ensure our vehicles are regularly made available for various community and charitable events.

The Museum was re-opened on August 1st 2016 at Leichhardt by The Hon. Andrew Constance MP, NSW Minister for Transport & Infrastructure. 

Our core activities include:

Sydney Bus Museum, Leichhardt 
Operating the Sydney Bus Museum at Leichhardt, providing the community access to our invaluable collection and telling a part of Sydney's transport history.

Community events
The Sydney Bus Museum is regularly engaged by Local Councils, the NSW Government and not-for-profits to participate in a raft of external community events across Sydney each year.

Film and television work
Film and television production companies regularly work with the Sydney Bus Museum on film and television projects.

The Sydney Bus Museum commits both volunteer and financial resources to at least one major restoration project each year.

From destination rolls, old bus tickets to driver uniforms, bus designs and timetables - the Sydney Bus Museum Archives recieve new artefacts for preservation from a wide variety of organisations including the State Transit Authority each year.

Member only events
The Sydney Bus Museum conducts at least two major member only events each year.

10.00AM - 4.00PM
​The Sydney Bus Museum is open to the public every first and third Sunday.

Step inside the over 100 year-old Leichhardt Tramshed to see our extensive collection of vintage buses, view our World War II exhibition and experience a ride aboard a vintage double-decker bus across the ANZAC Bridge to the CBD and return.

What your ticket includes
All day entry to the Sydney Bus Museum (10am - 4pm)
Unlimited rides aboard a vintage double-decker bus to/from Queen Victoria Building and return

Ticket prices

  • Adult $15
  • Child (4-16) $10
  • Concession $10 - Companion and Seniors cards accepted
  • Family (2 Adults / 2 Children) $35​
Vintage double-decker bus rides depart regularly from the main Museum entrance for a 30-minute round trip to the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) and return. Visitors can join the buses at either the QVB or from the Museum. Whilst every attempt is made to operate double decker buses on our Queen Victoria Building service, there may be occasions where a vintage single deck bus will operate due to unexpected circumstances. 

There's three ways to get to the Museum at Leichhardt.
1. By vintage double decker bus:
from the Queen Victoria Building - departing Stand D, York St (please see map) as per the timetable here.​​

2. By public transport:
Transit Systems buses 440, 445, 447, M10 to Norton St Leichhardt (Pioneers Memorial Park) and a short walk along William St to the Museum.
Light Rail services to Leichhardt North and a short walk along City West Link and the pedestrian access to Derbyshire Rd. 
3. By car 
The Museum which is located at 25 Derbyshire Rd, Leichhardt, access from Norton and William Streets only. Please note there is very limited parking on site. Disabled parking available. 

Today, Sunday February 2nd, 2020, is Hong Kong Bus Day. 

The Sydney Bus Museum is continuing it's annual event, featuring these popular buses now preserved in Australia. Don’t miss your chance to see the sights and sounds of three genuine Hong Kong double deckers here in Sydney:

- former CMB MCW Metrobus ML1

- former KMB Leyland Olympian BL66

- former KMB Mercedes-Benz O305 ME30

What: All three will run in conjunction with our own Sydney double decker buses on a regular service between the Queen Victoria Building (York St, Stand D) and the Museum at Leichhardt.  

When: Sunday, February 2nd, 10am - 6pm. The Museum's opening hours will be extended for this event by two hours, closing at 6pm instead of 4pm. 

Where:  At the Sydney Bus Museum, Leichhardt. More Here


The Sydney Bus Museum is proudly a volunteer based organisation. 
We're always seeking people with the appropriate skills to assist us with managing ticket sales, assisting visitors as guides and crewing/maintaining our historic collection of vehicles and artefacts.

To become a registered volunteer, please indicate your interest in the below form and we will get back to you within 3 business days.
You do not need to be a member of the Sydney Bus Museum to volunteer with us.
Please note: if you are volunteering to crew our buses, this will be subject to training and driving history/medical checks.
Read the Sydney Bus Museum Code of Conduct
Volunteer Registration

Find out more at: www.sydneybusmuseum

Images courtesy: David Wilson, Liam Brundle, Greg Travers, John Ward, Steve Burrows, Dean Jones.

Wynyard-Palm Beach Changes

The Commissioner for Government Transport, Mr. A. A. Shoebridge, said last night there would be changes in the route numbers of buses operating in the northern district from next Monday.
Separate numbers would be given to buses running to sectional points on the Wynyard-Palm Beach route, he said. All disc and route indicators at terminals and along the route would be altered, and handbills would be distributed to passengers.

The new numbers, with the old numbers in brackets, are:

Route No. 170 (130), destination Clontarf; 171 (147), Balgowlah Heights; 172 (141), Bantry Bay; 173 (141) Narraweena: 174 (150) Wanganella Street, Balgowlah; 175 (150), Brookvale Depot; 177 (150), Deewhy Beach; 178 (150), Deewhy: 179 (150), South Creek Road, Deewhy; 181 (150), Collaroy; 182 (150), Narrabeen; 183 (150), North Narrabeen; 184 (150), Mona Vale; 185 (151), Bayview and Church Point via Warriewood; 186 (159), Bayview and Church Point via Pittwater Road; 187 (150), Newport; 188 (150), Avalon; 189 (158), Taylor's Point; 190 (150), Palm Beach. BUS ROUTE NUMBERS (1953, August 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18381557