WHITE MODEL 50B - 1030

Operated by: Metropolitan Omnibus Transport Company ('MOTC') then sold to the Department of Road Transport & Tramways in March 1933.  

 

This most historic and old vehicle consists of a Smith & Waddington Ltd (Camperdown) body built on a fully imported White Company (Cleveland, Ohio, USA) Model 50B chassis. The chassis was built in 1926, and the completed bus entered service for Sir Frederick Stewart's MOTC from the Burwood depot in 1927.

Sir Frederick's empire of the MOTC had its origins in 1920, with one bus to service his property holdings in the then-new suburb of Chullora. Over the years it expanded, and a large depot on the corner of Parramatta and Shaftsbury Rds Burwood was built, elements of which survive in the current State Transit depot. 

MOTC's service area was wide and expansive, and the new buses with their comfortable leather seating and smooth running compared to the trams of the time soon led to the new private bus companies competing with the Government owned trams and to a lesser extent trains. So much so, that this competition was seen as a threat to the Government's massive investment in public transport infrastructure.

In 1930, legislation was enacted to regulate privately owned buses, taxis, hire cars and other forms of road transport that directly competed with Government services. This legislation was very controversial as a number of operators were reduced to operate feeder services to railway stations, tram terminii, ferry wharves or relocate their operations to new areas with no service. Some operators were forced to close their businesses altogether with little or no compensation. Many buses were simply locked up in their depots and left to the ravages of time. 

1030 was a vehicle that saw storage during this period. 

However, the Government of the day also recognised that bus services had an important role to play in Sydney's public transport. On Christmas Day in 1932, the Department of Road Transport & Tramways commenced its first motor bus service from Cremorne Junction to Manly Wharf via The Spit - Route 144. Initially this service was operated with hired buses, but from March 1933, the first buses were purchased from operators that had ceased service.

 

1030 was one of these vehicles, and operated for the DRTT between 1933 and 1939, during which it received two overhauls. The DRTT livery consisted of white with black around the windows and upper panels, with brown roof. 

 

1939 saw the bus auctioned, and it was purchased by Lowes Bus Service of Alexandria, operating again until 1947 under a new registration, m/o 468. Sold to a private owner, 1030 was modified into a dwelling until 1970 when it was rescued for preservation based on it's significance. 

1030 is one of the State's very first Government motor buses and a rare survivor of the early motor bus era in New South Wales. David Fairless initially purchased the bus for preservation, and carried out much restoration work before the bus was donated to the Sydney Bus Museum in 2005. Progress since then has been delayed by the move of the Museum from Tempe to Leichhardt in 2010, however work to date has been most exciting.

The timber frame has been almost completely rebuilt, metal body panels and guards reshaped and new flooring laid. 

This bus has been a recipient of two Transport Heritage grants, one in 2016 for supply of windows and frames and the manufacture of new seats to the original design by Bendigo Tramways. In 2017 another grant was received to have special curved panels made to fit the rear of the bus, to be carried out by Custom Coaches, whilst our volunteers are fitting the straight body side panels. 

 

The intention is not to restore 1030 to a fully operational condition as the bus is too fragile to be operate on the roads today. However, it is intended to have 1030 complete and displayable in overhauled DRTT condition as an example of transport in a much earlier age. 

 

Watch this space! 

Specifications:

Engine: White four-cylinder overhead valve petrol engine.

Transmission: Four speed sliding type 'crash' gearbox to a crown wheel and pinion differential. 

Brakes: Mechanical footbrake to all wheels, mechanical hand brake to the tailshaft. 

© 2019 Sydney Bus & Truck Museum Limited

 

Images courtesy:
David Wilson, Liam Brundle, Greg Travers, John Ward, Steve Burrows, Dean Jones