1983 Nissan CM80K Bus 50

This vehicle is one of 100 buses built by the Stewart & Sons of Bundaberg between 1951 and 1988. As it turns out this bus was not only the only Nissan chassis the Stewart & Sons ever bodied, but was ultimately their fourth last vehicle produced. The 35-passenger bus was ordered during 1983 by Mundubbera school bus operators George and Barbara Linsket, as they needed a bigger bus for their Glenrae to Mundubbera school run. It was completed in November that year under the guidance of Les Stewart and his son Graham.

During its time in Mundubbera, the vehicle was regularly used for charters to Brisbane, Chinchilla, and the Gold Coast. On 14 May 1987, George and Barbara Linsket traded the vehicle to Motorama Toyota at Moorooka for a smaller Hino bus after numbers on their school run declined. It remained with Motorama until 8 July 1987 when it was sold to Glasshouse Country Coaches at Beerwah. During its time in the Glasshouse Mountains, the vehicle was known as the ‘Ugly Duckling’ because of its distinctive appearance.

The vehicle then found its way into the hands of Barrie Watt of Watt’s Bus & Coach Works on 14 July 1989, after Glasshouse traded it in on a Hino AC140K minibus. It was only a matter of days before Barrie had found a new home for it when it was purchased by Eric and Marion Wills of Avondale (north of Bundaberg) on 18 July 1989. It had ironically and somewhat fittingly relocated to 30 kilometres north of where it had started its life as a bus in the Stewart & Sons depot.

Eric and Marion Wills sold the bus on 6 June 1993 to Bill and Joy Tame of Yandaran (10 kilometres north of Avondale). The bus worked the Waterloo to Yandaran school run until 21 March 2003, when the bus and run was sold to Martin Tanner. His ownership of the vehicle was rather brief, only last until 7 May 2003 when it was sold to David and Zelma Wills (son and daughter-in-law of Eric and Marion) due to a change in passenger numbers.

The second generation Wills operated the bus on the Tegege to Avondale school run for just over eight years before selling out to Coast & Country Buses on 3 October 2011. The vehicle retired from service on 5 April 2013, six months shy of 30 years’ service. It was originally destined to become a motorhome until it was graciously donated to the club by Coast & Country Buses Managing Director, Marty Kuhlewein on 9 July 2013.

The Nissan pictured on 9 October 2003 under the ownership of David and Zelma Wills of Avondale. Photo: Tony Winstone
The Nissan is pictured here at Coast & Country Buses’ Avondale depot in its second last year of service in June 2012. Photo: Nick Wilson