1938 Bedford WTB

This vehicle is one of the oldest Queensland passenger buses in existence today. Its story begins in England during 1938 when the chassis was exported to Australia, one of the few WTB model Bedfords that arrived in Australia prior to World War II. Its bodywork was completed by Waddingtons (later renamed Commonwealth Engineering) at Granville in western Sydney on 5 April 1939. Its body frame construction is all-steel which is rather rare at the time as most builders in Australia were still using wood for framing. It was sold new to Toowoomba bus proprietor, James Frain, who operated a service between the City and South and Alderley Streets. In October 1948, the bus and service was sold by James Frain to a partnership comprising George Edward Wingett, William Joseph Mitchell and Walter Stewart Cousins for £4,000. Wally Cousins was the son-in-law of George Wingett, while Bill Mitchell later started what is now Brisbane Bus Lines.

In February 1968, the bus and service passed over to the sole ownership of Wally Cousins. In 1972, the bus passed down a generation to Graham Cousins who owned the service until 2 April 1979 when it was sold with no vehicles to Alfred and Coral Probst trading as South East Toowoomba Bus Service. At 40 years of age, the Bedford was one of the oldest passenger service vehicles in Queensland. The Bedford was stored by Cousins and then sold for preservation to Alastair Grant, owner of Sunshine Coast Coaches at Maroochydore, who repainted the vehicle into his original all-over light blue colour scheme. After Alastair Grant passed away, the bus was purchased by Tony McCafferty of McCafferty’s Coaches and restored by Coachworks in anticipation of proprietor Jack McCafferty’s 83rd birthday in March 1997. Although the bus was never owned or operated by McCafferty’s in service, it is nevertheless very significant to the people of Toowoomba as it plied the local streets for four decades.

The vehicle remained in the possession of Greyhound Australia Pty Ltd (originally McCafferty’s Greyhound Pty Ltd) for 18 years until its acquisition by QOCS on 22 November 2021. Its acquisition was made possible by the generosity of a consortium of bus operators, suppliers, industry personnel, and family and friends of the McCafferty family to ensure the vehicle would remain in Queensland.

On Tuesday, 16 August 2022, the bus returned to Toowoomba for the first time in over two decades and is now on public display inside Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport.

Vehicle Specifications

ChassisBedford WTB
EngineBedford 6 cylinder petrol engine, 26.3hp
TransmissionBedford 4 speed ‘crash’ gearbox
BrakesMechanical brakes and spring handbrake
SteeringManual steering
BodyWaddington Body Works, Granville, New South Wales
ConstructionSteel frame with zinc anneal panelling
ColourOrange, cream and black
Seating31 passengers
In ServiceMay 1939 to April 1979
The Bedford pictured in September 1965 under the ownership of George Edward Wingett, William Joseph Mitchell and Walter Stewart Cousins trading as Hume Street Bus Service. Photo: Bob Nean
Pictured on 14 September 1972 in Toowoomba under the sole ownership of Wally Cousins. Photos: Ian Lynas
Pictured on 14 September 1972 at Alderley Street and Cathro Park in Toowoomba under the sole ownership of Wally Cousins. Photos: Ian Lynas
Sunshine Coast Coaches proprietor Alastair Grant owned the Bedford as part of his heritage fleet until 1996. Photo: John Masterton
Jack and Lorna McCafferty pictured with the Bedford bus outside their home in Turnbull Street, Toowoomba after the bus was refurbished by Coachworks for Jack McCafferty’s 83rd birthday in 1997: Photo: Tony McCafferty
The Bedford in its current condition today as pictured following the Heritage Bus Expo on 16 October 2021. Photo: Nick Wilson