70 years of school bus service

THROWBACK: The Merotherie School Bus Committee was first formed in 1946.
THROWBACK: The Merotherie School Bus Committee was first formed in 1946.

Did you remember to always thank the bus driver?

Well don’t panic if you didn’t because on Saturday September 15 at the opening of Neville Williams Hall, Blue Springs/Merotherie bus services will be holding their 70th birthday celebrations.

1637 Blue Springs Road, Bungaba is the address for the event that runs from 10am to 2pm.

Member for Calare Andrew Gee and Mid-Western Regional Councillor Paul Cavalier, will be among some of the notable figures at the event as they look to give their thanks to the long-standing bus drivers, whose efforts often go unnoticed. 

Read more:

Past and present bus owners, drivers and travelers will be present and all visitors will be treated to a sausage sizzle, face painting, colouring competitions and a few trips down memory lane.

The Blue Springs/Merotherie bus services are flourishing today, but it was back in 1946 that the first country school bus picked up seven families from the Barney’s Reef area who lived 10-14 miles away from the nearest school.

This happened after Harry Seis, founder of the Merotherie School Bus Committee, wrote to the Department of Education about the issue of transport for children in regional areas, and that there needed to be a school bus service provided.

We didn’t have a bus. I loaned my truck until we were able to get one.

Harry Seis

The department said they would subsidise a bus service on the condition that at least 14 children are picked up.

“I had a meeting with all the families in the area and found 14 children of school age,” Seis wrote in 1996.

“We then formed a committee and called it the Merotherie School Bus Committee.

“We didn’t have a bus. I loaned my truck until we were able to get one. We put a cover on the back of the truck and used it for one term.”

After Seis and the committee got their hands on a bus, it wasn’t long before more people in the region were interested.

Over 20 children were on board for the first term in 1947 and well, the rest is history.

The first route of the school bus was to start at Barneys Reef along Merotherie Road across through Sommevale paddocks to the Uarbry Road, then onto Gulgong, a distance of 23 miles.

If you’re interested in dropping by on Saturday, contact Wendy Byfield on 63759240.