ALL ABOARD: Ralph Richardson, Kevin Lewis, Alan Dundas, Warren Polley and Mal Jocumsen shared a proud moment as Gympie’s first bus approached the end of an almost total restoration.
ALL ABOARD: Ralph Richardson, Kevin Lewis, Alan Dundas, Warren Polley and Mal Jocumsen shared a proud moment as Gympie’s first bus approached the end of an almost total restoration.

The machine and family that changed Gympie

THEY don’t make them like that anymore and some would say they can see why.

No radio, no mobile phone, no GPS, no aircon, not even any carpet on the floor.

But 1932 was a long time ago and that was the year Gympie’s first motorised bus was built.

Gympie museum president Ralph Richardson said he would be proud to drive the bus from the Polleys Coaches depot to the museum, but hoped police would understand that indicators and brake lights were not things many people had heard of in the 1930s.

OTHER STORIES:

Polleys recognised for 60 years on the buses

Reg hands in his licence at 98

Kevin Lewis, on hand for a joyful moment, this week commemorated the historic contribution of family pioneer Reg and Kevin’s uncle Clarrie.

Warren Polley, Ralph Richardson, Alan Dundas, Kevin Lewis and Mal Jocumsen observe COVID-19 social distancing, all part of bringing history into the present.
Warren Polley, Ralph Richardson, Alan Dundas, Kevin Lewis and Mal Jocumsen observe COVID-19 social distancing, all part of bringing history into the present.

They and their bus have become integral to Gympie’s 20th Century history.

As The Gympie Times reported a decade ago, Reg Lewis came into the world at a private hospital owned and operated by Sister Elizabeth Kenny, whose then-controversial polio treatment methods have now become accepted medical procedure.

His mother Lucy was the publican at the Jockey Club hotel.

His father Charles started in Gympie with a traction engine business which hauled lumber to the then One Mile Mill.

THE TEAM: Warren Polley, Ralph Richardson, Alan Dundas, Kevin Lewis and Mal Jocumsen.
THE TEAM: Warren Polley, Ralph Richardson, Alan Dundas, Kevin Lewis and Mal Jocumsen.

Reg and Clarrie operated the machine sometimes, resulting in some panic when a Jockey club patron burst into the bar to say the traction engine was coming down the road with no-one driving.

He had not noticed the two small boys, hidden behind the large boiler and steering wheel. In those happily informal times, the boys were at the wheel and completely in control.

The bus business was founded in 1922 by Charles and Edward Coop who established a bus run between Mary St and Monkland.

In 1926 the partnership dissolved and it became Lewis and son, with Clarrie joining the fir,

Reg later joined what became the Lewis Brothers Bus Service.

They sole to Duncan Polley in 1976. His son Warren, now a Gympie councillor and Polleys Coaches director, provided the facilities and trades people, paint and equipment to bring back the bodywork.

Volunteer Alan Dundas did the mechanical work, including removing the engine, which was restored in Brisbane by the firm Engine Engineering, a job arranged by Kevin’s cousin, Mal Jocumsen.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Gympie Times


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