Bus industry rallies behind QOCS to save iconic 83-year-old Queensland bus

The Queensland Omnibus and Coach Society has acquired one of the oldest Queensland preserved buses in existence: a 1938 Bedford WLB that operated passenger services in Toowoomba for 40 years.

Tony McCafferty, John McCafferty, Michael Dempsey, and Nick Wilson with the bus at the Heritage Bus Expo in October.

The purchase of this vehicle from Greyhound Australia was made possible by the generosity of a consortium of bus industry colleagues and members and friends of the McCafferty family, who all together donated $45,000 to QOCS.

After the vehicle was put up for auction on eBay by Greyhound Australia in November 2021, Tony Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of CDC’s Regional Australia Division, put out a call to a group of Queensland bus operators to gather funds for QOCS to bid on the bus.

“The Queensland bus industry has been built on the back of family businesses, and this particular vehicle is an important piece of our history that needs to be saved”, Mr Hopkins said.

Following an initial pledge of $5,000 from CDC, Tony Hopkins together with QOCS President Nick Wilson, coordinated a further $40,000 in pledges from operators, suppliers and industry personnel throughout Australia, as well as from the McCafferty family.

“In my 10 years with QOCS, I have never seen such a significant sum of money generated in under a week, such was the gravity of the situation”.

“This was a true industry-led push to make sure that a critical piece of our transport heritage was not lost forever”, Mr Wilson said.

QOCS wishes to recognise and express thanks to the following companies and individuals who made the acquisition possible by donations and in-kind support:

  • Tony Hopkins
  • CDC Australia
  • Irizar Australia
  • Kangaroo Bus Lines
  • Hornibrook Bus Lines
  • Emerald Coaches
  • Southern Cross Transit
  • Bus Stop Sales and Service
  • Michael Dempsey
  • The Isaacs family
  • Jason Eldred
  • Matt Baird
  • Dene Rozema
  • Ben Hogg
  • Kelly McCafferty
  • Nicolas McCafferty
  • John McCafferty

The bus is currently under the care of the Kangaroo Bus Lines workshop team who quickly got the bus running again after several years of inactivity.

Former McCafferty’s Coaches workshop foreman, and current Kangaroo Bus Lines employee, Warren Eckhardt reunited with the bus.
The bus was acquired from Greyhound Australia on 22 November 2021 and relocated to Kangaroo Bus Lines courtesy of Barnes Auto Co.