Edenhope over the years
Edenhope is in south western Victoria, located on the Wimmera Highway, 30 kilometres from the South Australian border, in the Shire of West Wimmera. At the 2011 census Edenhope had a population of 976. It is a place not regularly visited by bus enthusiasts as it is not really on the way from anywhere to anywhere else but rather sits in the middle of an otherwise large void between Hamilton and Horsham.
The township of Edenhope was established some years later than nearby Apsley, the Post Office opening on 16 July 1864.The town sits on the shores of Lake Wallace, one of those sometimes full sometimes empty lakes which dot western Victoria, and is home to abundant waterbirds, and is a popular fishing and water sports destination.
Its facilities include a horse racing club, hospital, the annual Henley on Lake Wallace regatta held in February each year and the Edenhope Secondary College which has quite a wide feeder area for a town of its size.
It was on the banks of Lake Wallace in the 1860’s that local Aboriginal station workers were trained in the art of batting, bowling and the fundamentals of cricket On Lake Street in the grounds of the Secondary College, there is a cairn commemorating the first all-Aboriginal cricket team to go to England in 1868 (which was in fact the very first touring cricket team from Australia).
BCSV records indicate that in 1974 there were either 12 or 13 school runs and the following operators in the town:
W.A. Bland who ran in from Goroke with LER 180 Leyland Leopard/ Freighter (2571 6/65) B45F, acquired from the Department of Supply in 1973 and a rather unusual bus for a country school run.
Brown & Mitchell from Harrow with who had been operating the Edenhope-Patyah run since 1964 with JBJ 075 Bedford SB3/ Freighter (9/64) B42F
G.J Cranage & Mrs P Taylor with JXV 710 Austin 2.45F/ R.E. Mee (2/68) B25F. This business was established by 1974 and operated from a shed at 63 Powers Creek Road. They had acquired the Edenhope – Pine Hills – Harrow run from AH&NE Preece who had run it from at least 1968 and probably quite earlier.
R. Collings with HZH 422 Bedford SB3/ Ansair (B151 5/64) B39F and LUT 158 Toyota Coaster (1974) B18C. Collings had been in business since at least 1964 operating the Edenhope – Poolaijelo run and also the Edenhope – Chetwynd run.
E. Payne with one run operated by JAY 918 Bedford SB3/ Ansair (B120 9/63) B39F
TI (Tom) & LM Payne also with one run operated by LPY 768 Bedford SB3/ Athol Hedges (1128 1974) B39F which had recently replaced his previous bus HBZ 543 Bedford SB3/ CAC (1960) B37F. A previous bus had been ZG 306 a flat screen CAC Bedford SB
J. Dwyer with GWD 351 Bedford SB7/ CAC (1958) B35F and later LKK 009 Toyota Coaster (1973) B18C. Again the details of the run are not known
Futerial & Spring with KOU 164 Bedford SB3/ Cheetham & Borwick (1963) B39F. The details of their run are not known but KOU was purchased second hand in 1968.
R.N. Magor with KUV 844 Bedford SB3/ Cheetham & Borwick (1961) B41F ex Lack of Killawarra (Wangaratta)
Edwards Bus Service with HMJ 716 Bedford SB3/ Comair (76 12/1/62) B41F; JGW 684 Bedford SB3/ Comair (662 17/8/65) B41F and HNX 007 Bedford SB7/ CAC (1959) B35F.
Over the succeeding decade, up to the end of 1985, the following changes are known to have occurred.
Brown & Mitchell sold the Patyah run to Magor and Magor changed to a partnership of R&J Magor at unknown date and replaced KUV 844 with AZJ 821 Hino AM100 (1981) B27F in that year.
New operator E. Rivett (Arthenden Pty Ltd) appeared with IDQ 933 Bedford SB3/ Freighter (4649 6/75) B39F. This probably replaced HNX 007 on a run acquired from Edwards.By the early 1980s, T. Payne and E. Payne had merged as T&E Payne and in 1983 they replaced JAY 918 with BQC 207 Hino AM100 (1/83) B27F. By this time it was TI (Tom) &LM Payne.
Cranage acquired JGW 864 from Edwards replacing it in 1980 with AUH 048 Bedford SB3/ Ansair (SB892 9/80) B39F and then in 1985 replacing JXV 710 with CDT 500 Isuzu SBR422/ Melba (ME52 4/85) B32F. The two runs operated at that time were Edenhope – Pine Hills-Harrow and Edenhope-Durong.
Dwyer replaced GWD 351 with AGI 924 Bedford SB5/ PMCSA(4057 6/79) B41F and LKK 009 with COZ 008 Toyota Coaster (1985) B18C. He also added COZ 009 Toyota Coaster.
Futerial & Spring sold their run to G. J. Ryan in the early 1980s after replacing KOU 164 with AQW 962 Bedford SB5/ PMCSA (4150 12/79) B30F. Ryan also acquired Collings’ Poolaijelo run with HZH 422 in the early 1980s replacing it with COG 452 Isuzu SCR482/ Melba (ME55 8/85) B30F
Another new operator was T.D. McCaul and A.M Carter with ACQ 874 Mazda Parkway (1978) B18C believed to have replaced LUT 158 in 1978 after acquiring Collings’ other run from Edenhope to Chetwynd during the mid 1970s
Bland replaced LER 180 on the Goroke run with AGW 775 Isuzu SBR422/ MBS (B255 8/78) B30F.
This period from saw the following changes:
In 1990 Ryan’s former Futerial & Spring run was withdrawn and the contract reallocated to a run into the Horsham schools. AQW 962 was sold for a camper and new for the Horsham run was ERM 398 Hino RK176K/ Volgren (VG312 11/90) B53F. However the Horsham based run was short lived and had ceased by April 1995. ERM 398 was sold to Kimpton of Collingullie, near Wagga Wagga NSW. Ryan’s also sold RAW 584 in 1999. Their new bus was PRL 530 Metrotech 16.210/ Express (055 7/99) B41F – later rereg 0087 SO. They regained a second run into Edenhope by purchasing the Patyah run from Magor sometime prior to 2001. Thus Ryan has held three separate contracts but never more than two at the same time.
Rivett sold his Edenhope – Benayeo run to Tony Arthur (Athenden Pty Lyd) by 1991. He subsequently re- placed IDQ 933 with NDB 623 Hino RG197K/ PMCA (2513 2/95) B49F.
A rationalisation of school runs in the mid 1990s – probably from the beginning of 1995(a practice which occurred across Victoria at the time) saw several runs closed and/or merged with others. This was usually done on the “last on first off” principle unless other arrangements could be agreed between the operators. As a consequence, Magor went down to one run selling AZJ 821 Hino AM100 and Payne went down from two runs to one run selling LPY 768 non psv to Goroke as a consequence. Edwards also withdrew from operation. This also explains the loss of Ryan’s run into Horsham.
Dwyer was probably the hardest hit. In his case one run ceased altogether and the other run was relocated to Torrumbarry, on the Murray River near Echuca. AGI 924 was sold to T.V. Harley of Korumburra. The run at Torrumbarry was sold to AT&HJ Williams by 1995 with one of the Coasters, the other being sold separately.
This was also the era of faded rego plates requiring replacement. This resulted in Cranage AUH 048 being reregistered FUW 874 and Ryan’s COG 452 becoming RAW 584.
The Cranage runs underwent generational change with son Adrian taking over by 1997 as AG&TA Cranage. Around this time he added Payne’s remaining run and bus. Livery by this time was Maroon all over with a grey skirt and signage. The runs were worked in conjunction with a family grazing farm business.
Cranage FUW 574 was sold in 1997 replaced by OEU 277 Hino RG230/ Austral-Denning (S030010 5/97) B57F (later rereg 0248 AC) and in 1999 DCT 500 was replaced by PRL 517 Hino RG230/ ABM (89015 6/99) DP49F (later rereg 0249 AC).
In May 1985 Magor added a run into Horsham from Toolondo with JHM 671 Bedford SB3/ Comair (658 5/8/65) B39F ex Madden of Horsham. This was traded to dealer Bill Slattery replaced by CSX 743 Isuzu ECR570/ Centurion (223 1/87) B45F later rereg to 0339 SO.
The Magor entity changed again from 9/11/88 to become RA, and JA&GN Magor now with an address in Horsham. The ex Brown & Mitchell Bedford in 1990 being replaced by EBJ 049 Isuzu LT1-11P/ Centurion (426 3/90) B45F.
A second run into Horsham from Dadswell’s Bridge was acquired at unknown date and may have been part of the 1995 rationalisation. The Patyah run passed to Ryan with EBJ 049 prior to 2001 (again possibly in 1995) which removed them from the scene in Edenhope. To complete their story 0339 SO was sold to Hopgood of Mt Gambier and their Horsham fleet is now 1237 AC Irisbus MRC/ Northcoast (252 11/00) C57F ex 0304 SO ex QLS 314 and 1238 AC Volvo B7R/ Northcoast (347 4/04) C57F.
McCaul & Carter’s partnership dissolved with the run retained by A.M. (Mick) & JH Carter and ACQ 874 Mazda Parkway. This was sold around 4/93 being replaced at that time by DDD 500 Mazda T3500 (1987) C21C ex Roberts, Flowerdale. Mick Carter operates a grazing business as well as the school run.
The New Millennium
Carter’s DDD 500 was sold for a camper by 2001 and replaced by 0288 SO Toyota Coaster (10/00) B21C and it is understood that this has now been replaced by a new but as yet unsighted Hino RB8/ UBC 34 seater. Bland’s AGW 775 was reregistered 0331 SO and was replaced on the run in 2002 by 0047 SO MAN 10.220/ Alan B. Denning (VM058 31/7/02) C35F.
A generational change took place from GJ to PJ (Paul) &JR Ryan. Paul started managing the business from around 1998 and subsequently bought out his father in mid 2006. He now combines it with a woodcutting business.
Acquired prior to 2001 was Magor’s run with 0086 SO Isuzu LT1-11P/ Centurion, the reregistration of EBJ 049. This was sold for a camper in 2014 when Ryan’s received a new bus in the form of 5450 AO Higer Midiboss (LKLR1FSH4DB631599 9/14) C45F.
Cranage’s Former Payne BCQ 207 was reregistered 0250 AC. Added was 1328 AC Mercedes 815D/ Alan B. Denning (1/02) C33F an ex stock unit as an attempt to run a mid sized charter bus in addition to working its school run. The former Payne run had ceased to operate by December 2007 and as a consequence, 1328 AC was sold to Bacchus Marsh Coaches in 1/08. The two remaining runs and buses were sold to Toson Pty Ltd trading as Wimmera Roadways (McGinty family) on 30 May 2014
The McGinty family owns several bus operations based at Horsham and Nhill in Victoria as Wimmera Roadways and also runs Lofty Coaches at Mount Barker outside Adelaide. Toson Pty Ltd had previously entered the Edenhope market around late 2003 with the purchase of Athenden P/L. This included the Edenhope-Benayeo run and 0383 AC Hino RG/ PMCA ( the rereg of NDB 623).This was transferred to Lofty Coaches in 2007 and replaced by 7776 AO Volvo B7R/ Coach Concepts (139 12/10) C57F. All three buses are still depoted at the former Cranage shed at 63 Powers Creek Road and the two former Cranage buses have not changed their appearance in any way. Interestingly 0383 Ac is accredited to Toson P/L t/a Wimmera Roadways whilst the two ex Cranage buses are accredited to McGinty Family Trist t/a Wimmera Roadways.
So today the Edenhope school bus services are performed by Toson P/L with three buses, Ryan with two, Carter with one and Bland from Goroke also with one. This is something of a comedown from 1974 but typical of the service reductions over the years in Victoria’s western district.
There is also one more bus in the town. This is run by the Edenhope & District Memorial Hospital. The bus is YQQ 024 a 2005 model B14CL Toyota Coaster in white with dark blue signage and is used for patient transport and as a community bus.