1996 Volvo B10L

This is one of the first ultra low floor buses in Brisbane. With an increased focus on vehicle accessibility, Brisbane City Council ordered 60 Volvo B10L chassis with wheelchair accessible ‘Orana’ bodies from interstate body builder, Ansair Pty Ltd. The bodying of bus 544 was finalised by Ansair at their Tamworth factory in New South Wales during October 1996. In the same month, Ansair’s parent company, Clifford Corporation Limited, acquired JRA Limited who were Australia’s largest bus manufacturer at the time. The firm’s bus manufacturing operations comprising of Austral Denning, Ansair, and PMC, were then collectively rebranded as the ‘Austral Pacific Group’. Bus 544 was the second of 10 built at Tamworth with the bodying of the remaining batch to be carried out at Austral Denning in Brisbane.

After initial commissioning, bus 544 officially entered service with Brisbane City Council on 21 February 1997 and was based at Garden City depot. The vehicle featured in promotional material for Council showcasing its modern design including air conditioning, bonded glass windows, and wheelchair accessibility. Unfortunately for Council, the bodying of the final 20 Volvo B10Ls (fleet numbers 583 to 602) were affected by the collapse of the Austral Pacific Group in November 1998. These vehicles were then completed by Council at their Toowong Workshops, ending a 50 year supply relationship to Council which had began with Austral Pacific’s Brisbane predecessor, Athol Hedges.

After service at Garden City depot, bus 544 was transferred to Bowen Hills and Richlands depots, before being loaned to Hornibrook Transit Management in November 2008 to operate subcontracted services in Bracken Ridge, Sandgate, and Strathpine. The vehicle was sent back to Council in June 2010 and returned to operating services on the southside out of Willawong, Larapinta and Sherwood depots. Bus 544 was withdrawn from service in June 2015 at 19 years of age. The bus was sold by Council at auction to Mansfield Mt Buller Bus Lines in Victoria where it operated snow shuttles until August 2019, before being acquired for preservation by Edison Haviland of Sydney, who restored the vehicle to original condition. The vehicle was then acquired by QOCS for continued preservation in August 2023, becoming the club’s first wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Vehicle Specifications

ChassisVolvo B10L
Engine9.6 litre, 6-cylinder Volvo D10HA turbocharged diesel engine, 180kW at 2000rpm
TransmissionZF 5HP500 5-speed automatic with integral retarder
BrakesKnorr-Bremse front disc brakes and Volvo Z cam rear drum brakes
SteeringZF 8036 power steering
BodyAnsair Pty Ltd, Tamworth, New South Wales
ConstructionTubular steel frame with exterior aluminium panelling
Air ConditioningCoachair Australia Pty Ltd
ColourYellow and white
Seating67 passengers (41 seated, 26 standing)
In ServiceFebruary 1997 to June 2015
Bus 544 pictured at Garden City depot in May 1998 where it was originally based. Photo: Bill Blannin
Bus 544 pictured on Wickham Street in Fortitude Valley during 2004. By this stage, it was based out of Bowen Hills depot. Photo: Paul Garred
In November 2008, bus 544 was one of two Volvo B10Ls transferred to Hornibrook Transport Management at Lawnton for operation on subcontracted routes in Bracken Ridge, Sandgate, and Strathpine. Photo: Nick Wilson
On Saturday, 17 January 2015, QOCS conducted a farewell tour for the Volvo B10L and B10M models using bus 544. It is pictured here at Long Pocket. Photo: Nick Wilson