What started as a plan to recog­nise and pay trib­ute to the his­tory of the NSW bus in­dus­try ended in a writ­ten and vis­ual record that is now avail­able for all to en­joy

What started as a plan to recog­nise and pay trib­ute to the his­tory of the NSW bus in­dus­try ended in a writ­ten and vis­ual record that is now avail­able for all to en­joy

ABC (Australia) - - CONTENTS - WORDS + IM­AGES PAUL ALDRIDGE

My usual bus re­views in­volve meet­ing com­pany own­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives and hav­ing the plea­sure of test- driv­ing im­pres­sive and in­no­va­tive ve­hi­cles and find­ing out how these new ve­hi­cles came to be. But I wasn’t sure what to ex­pect when at­tend­ing my first book launch.

It was BusNSW ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Dar­ryl Mel­lish and his ini­tial gath­er­ing of his­tor­i­cal records that set the wheels in mo­tion for a plan to recog­nise and pay trib­ute to the his­tory of the NSW bus in­dus­try.

Mel­lish investigated fund­ing op­tions and ap­plied for a NSW Trans­port Her­itage Grant to off­set some of the costs and this grant al­lowed them to en­gage an au­thor/ his­to­rian to un­der­take the re­search while BusNSW pro­vided the bulk of the fund­ing as recog­ni­tion to the rich his­tory, achieve­ments and re­la­tion­ships within the NSW bus in­dus­try.

“There was also a grow­ing aware­ness that time catches up with the le­gends in our in­dus­try and the pres­sures from gov­ern­ment were chal­leng­ing fam­ily op­er­a­tions, and mem­o­ries could be lost,” he says.

“I de­cided to put to­gether a project plan to recog­nise the his­tory of the in­dus­try. I was also aware that BusNSW was the old­est bus as­so­ci­a­tion and a founder of ABCA and it oc­curred to me the gov­ern­ment agen­cies staff we were deal­ing with did not have an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the his­tory and the in­vest­ments and risks op­er­a­tors had taken.”

BEST MAN FOR THE JOB

Look­ing at what pub­li­ca­tions and knowl­edge ex­isted in the bus his­tory area to en­sure the right per­son was cho­sen for the role, Mel­lish ap­proached John Birch­meier ini­tially to un­der­take re­search and then sub­se­quently write the book.

Birch­meier has au­thored a num­ber of books on fam­ily bus busi­nesses and is the ed­i­tor of Aus­tralian Bus, the mag­a­zine of the Syd­ney Bus Mu­seum, so he was cho­sen as the best man for the job.

“Dar­ryl phoned me in De­cem­ber 2015 to see if I would be in­ter­ested in un­der­tak­ing this project, the first ques­tion I asked my­self was how to ap­proach such a vast topic,” Birch­meier says.

“On re­flec­tion, given that re­search­ing and writ­ing the book proved an enor­mous un­der­tak­ing within a short time­frame, per­haps the first thing I should have asked my­self was: why did

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