QOCS celebrates 25th anniversary with largest ever display of heritage buses

The largest ever display of heritage buses in Queensland helped the Queensland Omnibus and Coach Society Inc (QOCS) celebrate its 25th anniversary in style on Saturday, 16 October 2021.

The Heritage Bus Expo saw 27 buses and coaches and over 300 participants attend the premises of Bus Stop Sales and Service at Rocklea in Brisbane between the hours of 9.30am and 2.30pm. This included over 100 Queensland past and present bus operators and industry personnel as well as transport officials Cr Ryan Murphy, Chair of Brisbane City Council’s Public and Active Transport Committee, and Mark Bailey MP, Minister for Transport and Main Roads.


QOCS 1948 AEC Regal III operated joy rides from the Expo for eager transport enthusiasts.

The event was a rare opportunity for Queensland bus industry colleagues to get together in an otherwise uncertain period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Expo was also attended by a number of past bus operators including Kevin Doyle (who owned Doyle’s Bus Lines near Ipswich between 1973 and 1998), Russell Penfold (whose father started Greyhound Coaches in Toowoomba 1928) and Tony McCafferty (whose father started McCafferty’s Coaches in Toowoomba during 1940).

A number of Translink bus operators attended the expo as well, including Ian and James Mitchell (Brisbane Bus Lines); Adam Pulitano (Bus Queensland); Grant and Lachlan Craike (Caboolture Bus Lines); Reg and Yvonne Clark (Clark’s Logan City Bus Service); Rolf Mitchell (Hornibrook Bus Lines); Daryl and Darren Webster (Kangaroo Bus Lines); and Shane and Jack Thompson (Thompson Bus Services).

The official reception featured speeches from Pete White (Bus Stop Sales dealer principal), Cr Ryan Murphy, Mark Bailey MP, Rolf Mitchell (representing the Queensland Bus Industry Council) and Nick Wilson (QOCS president).
Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey MP, with Kangaroo Bus Lines CEO, Darren Webster, in front of QOCS’ 1978 Volvo B59.
Tony McCafferty (McCafferty’s Coaches), John McCafferty (McCafferty’s Coaches), Michael Dempsey (Bustech) and Nick Wilson (QOCS President) in front of a 1938 Bedford WTB then owned by Greyhound Australia.
A number of TransLink bus operators attended the Expo including Ian Mitchell (Brisbane Bus Lines), Yvonne Clark (Clark’s Logan City Bus Service), Reg Clark (Clark’s Logan City Bus Service), and Rolf Mitchell (Hornibrook Bus Lines).
Merv Kurz (Springbrook Mudgeeraba Bus Service) with Barrie Watt (Watt’s Bus and Coach Works) inside Kurz’s 1960 Diamond T which Barrie’s father and uncles built, and Barrie painted.

Channel 7 news story

The Expo proved very popular and even featured on Channel 7 news that night and was broadcast throughout the state:

Unveiling of restored 1970 Leyland Panther bus

As part of the celebrations, QOCS unveiled the refurbishment of a 1970 Brisbane City Council Leyland Panther bus, which is in fact the very last of the 340 buses the Council purchased to replace Brisbane’s tram and trolleybus network between 1968 and 1970.

“This was the very first bus acquired by our organisation for preservation in August 1998, and we were very pleased have unveiled its new Council colours as part of our 25th birthday celebrations. It is another magnificent restoration by the team at Royans-Coachworks”, QOCS President Nick Wilson stated.

“The 340 Leyland Panther buses hold great historical significance to the people of Brisbane because they signify the end of one transportation era, and the evolution of another”, he said.

Rolf Mitchell (Hornibrook Bus Lines), Mark Bailey MP (Minister for Transport and Main Roads), Nick Wilson (QOCS President), Kevin Doyle (formerly Doyle’s Bus Lines), and Michael Baulch (Emerald Coaches and QBIC President)

Bus and coach display

A total of 27 buses and coaches ranging from 1917 to 1997 models featured at the Expo and comprised of:

OwnerVehicles displayed
Haidley’s Panoramic Coaches4
Barrie Watt3
Greyhound Australia2
Gatton Bus Service1
Kangaroo Bus Lines1
Rothery’s Coaches1
South Bundy Buses1
Springbrook Mudgeeraba Bus Service1
Thompson Bus Services1
Stan Biega1
Jason Healey1
Peter Hurst1
The oldest bus on display belonged to Jimmy Hill of Gatton Bus Service with his 1917 GMC.
Shane and Jack Thompson of Thompson Bus Services with their 1987 Leyland Tiger which they have owned since new.
Daryl and Darren Webster of Kangaroo Bus Lines with their restored 1958 Leyland Worldmaster which was fitted with a new body by Domino Industries in 1979.
The Haidley family of Warwick brought 3 magnificently restored coaches and 1 minibus 150km from Warwick to the Expo.

Heritage Loop for Brisbane CBD

Asked about what lays ahead for the future, QOCS President Nick Wilson stated that “I am currently working with Brisbane City Council and TransLink on a proposal to regularly operate part of our heritage bus fleet one weekend a month in the Brisbane CBD”.

“Our initial discussions have been very promising and we are grateful to have the support of both levels of government through Ryan Murphy and Mark Bailey”, he said.