Looking Back: On the buses

Sad news with the death overnight of Bulli icon Lance Brown at the grand age of 109. Lance was one of the region’s first bus drivers. He gained a job driving the Bulli Railway Bus in 1927 at the age of 17. He would either ferry the miners’ home after a shift from Bulli Railway Station, or, in most cases, drop them off at either the Woonona Royal or Bulli Family Hotels so they could squeeze in a few beers before the pub closed at 6pm. Pictures: Lance in 2003, and Lance as a young man with the Bulli Railway Bus. Read Lance’s story at the Looking Back website:

Looking Back

bulli railway bus 1 Lance Brown pictured with a modern Dion’s bus in 2003


PUBLIC transport has moved forward in leaps and bounds since Lance Brown drove the Bulli railway bus in 1927.

Lance was one of the region’s first bus drivers and was prompted to reveal some of his memories on February 27 2003 after my story in the Northern Leader newspaper on Joy Curran’s history book . The book records the amazing life of her father, Ivo Bunker – Bulli’s first motor garage proprietor and his engineering wizardry.

Lance was 93 at the time of this interview, and celebrated his 108th birthday in February 2018. He told me back in 2003 that he was given his first job driving a bus for the legendary Ivo Bunker at the age of 17.

“Ivo built an aluminium bus body on a T model Ford chassis and I drove it for him,” Lance…

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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