Memory lane a fun detour for ‘Clarkey’
Arthur Clarke liked driving the old school bus
NOT many school bus drivers go down in history the way Arthur “Clarkey” Clarke has done in Monto.
Clarkey drove Bimbo, the old school bus, from 1965 to 1971 and delighted his old passengers by returning for the Monto 50th school reunion last weekend.
“I always have a ball whenever I come back,” Clarkey said. “You wouldn’t have found a better bunch of kids anywhere.”
Clarkey came to town in 1965 with an old Redlines bus and during the Christmas break he gave it a paint job and let the children pick the colours.
“They chose a mushroom
Arthur Clarke It was such a nice part of my life when I worked in Monto.
colour for the bottom because they thought that wouldn’t show the dirt up as much from the Mulgildie Plateau. Then it was a creamy colour on top,” he said.
“The kids used to sing that song ‘Bimbo, going down to see my girl-io’, but they changed it to ‘Bimbo, going down to school-io’ and that’s how the name stuck.”
Clarkey said most days he had 46 kids on board for his trip from Mulgildie State School, up Selene Rd, up the Mulgildie Plateau, down to Langley Flats, back up the highway to the state school – where the primary kids hopped off and the high school kids hopped on – and into Monto.
He still remembers the families from each stop.
“On the plateau we got the Schultzs, the Belows and the Picks, at Langley we got the Stewarts and coming back up the highway were the Galloways, the Hart wigs, the Coulstons and more Stewarts,” he said.
After leaving Monto in 1965, Clarkey drove “a wild mob” of workers from Beenleigh to Brisbane for Skinners coach lines.
He then built a 38-foot yacht and sailed it through the Whitsundays for years, before buying a 30-foot fifth wheeler caravan, which he has lived in for 17 years.
“I’ve done over 300,000km in it, and travelled all over Australia,” Clarkey said.
Today the van is pulled up on a farm out of Murgon.
“I’m an OBE this year – that’s an Over Bloody Eighty,” he said.
But Clarkey still has a bit of spring in his step and cheerfully talked about how he rode his motorbike through a barbed wire fence a fortnight ago.
“I’m very accident prone. I still have a lump on my side from when Trevor Pick and Kenny May once tried to put me in the school bus boot,” he said with a laugh.
“It was such a nice part of my life when I worked in Monto.”
GOOD TIMES: Arthur "Clarkey" Clarke is still affectionately remembered for his time driving the local school bus, Bimbo, in Monto.