Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Early Buses Were Popular

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Early Buses Were Popular

Article excerpt

ONE of the early bus services in Gladstone was run by FC Griffiths, who arrived from Childers at the end of 1935, beginning of 1936 and applied to the Gladstone Town Council for permission to run a bus service in the town.

His offer was accepted by Council in February 1936, with protection for three years with the exception of football Sundays. Mr Pearce and William McLeod had also applied to run buses. They were granted permission to run buses on Sundays. In 1939, Griffiths applied for an extension of another three years, which was objected to by some members of the public. Griffiths Bus Depot was located in a shed near Gladstone Sawmills (where Valley Drive In Shopping Centre is now situated).

One of the main forms of entertainment in these early days of the 1900s in Gladstone was the dances which were held nearly every night at some times of the year. Bert Lowe remembers that he could go to a dance every night of the week. On Sunday night after church at St Saviour's Parish Hall in Auckland Street, Maggie Butterworth and May Welsh would play the piano for the dancers. On Monday night Thecla Keen would play the accompaniment at the Empire Hall, assisted by Gordon Fry on drums. On Wednesday nights, Bill Ross would run dances at the Scout Hall opposite the Port Curtis Dairy Association (known as the CyButter Factory'). Thursday night dances were held at the CWA Hall and were run by Maggie McLeod. On Friday night, Ken Lee would tinkle the ivories at the Trocadero, accompanied by Vin Smith and Tommy Rees on saxophone and Gordon Fry on drums. Saturday night was the night for the great Calliope dance, where the Michel family formed the popular orchestra (Thiers on drums, Ron on piano accordion and Shirley on piano). Entry fee for most dances was one or two shillings each (10 to 20 cents).

As many families did not have a car in the 1940s a bus was provided by William (CyBill') McLeod to travel to the Calliope dance. In March 1940, free buses were provided only to people who were going to attend the dance. However, on asking for passengers to purchase their dance tickets on the bus before leaving Gladstone, many passengers disembarked. It appears that people were using the free buses to travel to Calliope for other reasons, under the pretence of attending the dance. Apparently on a previous occasion, the bus driver stopped the bus about five miles from Calliope and asked people to purchase their dance tickets. The prospect of having to pay, or walk five miles to Calliope, as well as to find another way to get back to Gladstone drew some angry grumblings, but all paid up.

By the late 1940s, a bus service was run by CyBert' (Herbert Lionel) Roulston. In 1946, he provided free bus rides for visitors to the RSL throughout the year. In 1947, he asked Gladstone Town Council for help to provide a seat for people waiting for a bus at the hospital gates. …

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