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History: Looking Back, Uncategorized

Looking Back history feature: On the buses

Looking Back

A Hills double decker, travelling north along the Princes Highway at Old Bulli A Hills double decker, travelling north along the Princes Highway at Old Bulli

By MICK ROBERTS ©
BUS transport to and from Wollongong has been readily accessible to Illawarra’s northern suburbs since early last century.

Jumping on a bus for a bit of shopping in Wollongong, to pay a few bills, or for a bit of entertainment, has developed considerably from the rough and tumble years of the 1920s when buses first appeared on the roads of northern Illawarra.

One of the first operators was William “Billy” Murphy in 1920. He drove a T-Model Ford with seats around the sides and back, with no windows except the windscreen and a small opening at the back. In wet weather canvas blinds were rolled down leaving passengers in total darkness. There was no timetable and the bus travelled between Austinmer and Wollongong on the basis of how long it took.

The Bulli Railway bus The Bulli Railway bus

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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney 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 pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently 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 has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time 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), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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