1948 IBIS Bus Restoration Project

The Queensland Omnibus and Coach Society Inc. is restoring a rare 1948 IBIS Garage bodied Bedford bus to its original condition as built for Bill White’s IBIS Bus Service at Sandgate in Brisbane. This means returning the bus to its original silver and red livery and attending to some bodywork repairs.

The vehicle is one of the oldest Queensland buses still in existence today and is an example of post-war expediency being a British Bedford army truck chassis fitted with a bus body built by the IBIS Garage at Sandgate.

Queensland’s leading bus and coach refurbishment business, Coachworks at Acacia Ridge, have been engaged to perform the work. The bulk of the work required is external panel repairs and painting.

Vehicle significance

Its story begins during World War II where it was a military truck used to support the war effort in Australia. After the end of the war, it was sold to Bill White for his IBIS Bus Service at Sandgate where it was overhauled and repurposed as a passenger vehicle during late 1947. The IBIS Bus Service operated between Brighton, Sandgate and Eagle Street for a period of 23 years between 1925 and 1948 (with this service today known as route 310). The vehicle entered service on 12 January 1948 and was the last new vehicle in the IBIS Bus Service fleet before the business was sold to successor operator, Black & White Buses, during July 1948. 

This vehicle’s body work is extremely rare being of wooden frame construction and one of 12 buses built by the IBIS Garage between 1942 and 1960. The IBIS Garage was also owned by Bill White and was located alongside the bus depot at 69 Deagon Street, Sandgate. Aside from building buses, the garage also built truck bodies, repaired cars, and performed other automotive work.

It became No. 4 in the McGrath Black & White fleet at Sandgate before it was withdrawn from service following a fire at the depot fuel bowser on 25 November 1952. It was then sold to neighbouring operator Rex Mitchell of Sandgate Lutwyche Bus Service who re-built the vehicle for operation in their fleet. At this time the vehicle was re-powered with a Ford engine.

After retiring from the Sandgate Lutwyche fleet, it went out west to Wandoan where it continued to be used by Colin and Carolyne Neilsen as a school bus until approximately 1986. It is believed that it was fitted with an International motor at this time (which is what it currently has installed). The vehicle was kept in a shed in Wandoan until it was donated for preservation by John Neilsen in 2014 which saw it relocated to Bundaberg under the care of South Bundy Buses proprietor Richard Hayes. In September 2020, the vehicle was formally acquired by QOCS for preservation.

Tax Deductible Donations

The Queensland Omnibus & Coach Society Inc. is on the Register of Cultural Organisations and all donations (over $2) are tax deductible.

Account Name: Museum Account

BSB: 034000

Account No: 301482

Once you have made a donation, please contact our Treasurer Martin Stepancich via treasurer@qocs.org.au to receive a tax deductible receipt.

Pictured after re-build by Sandgate Lutwyche Bus Service following fire damage at Black and White Buses.