Complied by Graeme Cleak
Updated by Craig Halsall and Tony Willman
The early history of Motor Omnibus Routes in Melbourne is somewhat cloudy, but it appears that Returned Servicemen from World War I (1914 – 1918), who had gained knowledge of ‘heavy’ motor vehicles, seized upon the opportunity to develop this new form of public transport. As there was no provision in the then legislation for motorbuses, promoters merely ran where and where they wished, often in competition with the cable and electric tramway systems.
The Motor Omnibus Act 1924 was to regulate this form of transport, with licensing covering vehicles seating eight or more pasengers. Routes that passed within a radius of three miles of the Melbourne GPO were numbered in a series beginning at No. 1. Routes outside this radius, but within 8 miles of the Melbourne GPO, started at 1A. On 28/1/1925 Routes 1 to 13 and 1A to 36A came into being.
Responsibility for the administration was placed with the Melbourne City Council and the Public Works Dept. through the “Motor Omnibus Advisory Committee.” The MOAC particularly set the levels for service and determined the routes to be followed.
In March 1928 licensing of Country Routes began, this incorporated the growing number of services beyond an eight mile radius of Melbourne. The Transport Regulation Board (TRB) was created in 1933 and took responsibility for these Country Services.
The role of TRB was widened from 1/7/1953 to take over the Metropolitan Routes, then later during the mid 1950s, Outer Suburban Routes were replaced into a further series beginning at 200A.
A complete renumbering of Metropolitan Bus Routes occurred in 1971, initially based on geographical considerations:
- 200 to 299: Government Bus Routes in Melbourne’s inner west and north-east
- 300 to 399: Government Bus Routes in Melbourne’s outer east
- 400 to 499: Private Bus Routes in Melbourne’s west and north-west
- 500 to 599: Private Bus Routes in Melbourne’s north and north-east
- 600 to 699: Private Bus Routes in Melbourne’s east and south-east bayside suburbs
- 700 to 799: Private Bus Routes in Melbourne’s east and outer south-east bayside suburbs
- 800 to 899: Private Bus Routes in Melbourne’s south-east
- 900 to 903: Victorian Railways Bus Routes
Routes across the east and south-east were somewhat divided up by operator (e.g. 700-series for Ventura & 800-series for Grenda’s) – at several major hubs including Chadstone Shopping Centre, Oakleigh, Box Hill, Glen Waverley, Knox City, Mentone and Frankston it was common for route numbers across two or three different series to meet.
On 1/7/1983 all control of Metropolitan Routes passed to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (Tram and Bus division) with vehicle licensing being performed by the Road Traffic Authority.
Then on 1/7/1989 the Public Transport Corporation was formed with the merger of the Metropolitan Transit Authority and State Transit Authority.
The below list documents the route numbers in use from 1971 to 1990, with reference to their history as far back as 1925 under the former route number systems. During 1991 the ALP state government, led by Joan Kirner, undertook a program of widespread rationalisation of the bus network, including the renumbering and through-routing of numerous services across the south-eastern suburbs.
Over time the society intends to present more detailed route summaries for each route from 1971 onwards in a dedicated section of our virtual museum, continuing the story with the countless changes over the past 25 years, from the 1991 cuts onwards. Unlike the abridged versions below, we plan to explore the evolution of service levels where such information is available.
We have already begun this enormous task, initially publishing route histories for 25 routes across Melbourne.
You should find the Melbourne Metropolitan Public Transport Maps from our archives are a great resource to help work out the paths taken by the routes below.
ROUTE 500 MOONEE PONDS – GLENROY
Back in July 1926 Route 48A Essendon – Old Broadmeadows (Westmeadows) began. It was extended to Somerton Rd and Greenvale Sanatorium in Mach 1930, and across to Broadmeadows Camp in May 1939. A deviation via North Essendon was added in June 1943. Extension to Moonee Ponds occurred October 1949.
The route was cut back to Moonee Ponds – Strathmore in March 1951 then apparently ceased for a time during the controversy about fare increases. A lot of information has been unearthed which is contradictory but it seems to have reopened February 1952 by F. Deveson as Moonee Ponds – Strathmore.
On 30/4/1956 Glenroy Bus Service (Baker) took over and merged with his 124A to form 48A Moonee Ponds – Westbreen – Glenroy. In August 1957 a branch to Mascoma Street, Pascoe Vale was added, whilst in May 1959 an extension to Broadmeadows resumed. October 1959 saw a diversion to Essendon Airport. Around 1966 it was cut back from Broadmeadows to Glenroy, then sold to E & L Pincini in July 1968. Renumbered 500 in 1971 and sold to Deveson Bus & Coach Service on 26/4/1973.
Closed July 1974 although much of the route is still covered by 501 and 542.
ROUTES 501 & 502 MOONEE PONDS – STRATHMORE HEIGHTS – AIRPORT WEST – NIDDRIE
Started around 1972 by E & L Pincini as a variation of their 500 Moonee Ponds – Glenroy service, branching to Strathmore Heights. The 500 subsequently closed in July 1974 after being taken over by Deveson Bus & Coach Service on 26/4/1973.
During the first half of 1973 off-peak through-routing was introduced with Route 501 extending to Niddrie over Route 461, briefly known as Route 502 (Moonee Ponds – Strathmore Heights – Airport West – Niddrie).
Changes in April 1976 saw Route 461 amalgamated into 463 to form Essendon – Niddrie – Airport West (Westfield Shops), as 463, coinciding the opening of Airport West Shoppingtown. It is assumed the use of 502 for through-routing at Airport West had been discontinued by that point, with 501 now extending onto Airport West Shoppingtown full time.
Route 501 has been operated by Kastoria Bus Lines (Spyrou) since 26/10/1979.
Route rationalisations in the Essendon/Niddrie/Airport West area on 29 July 1991 saw a re-birth of the seventies’ 502 arrangement, with 501 extended south-west around to Niddrie over the northern half of 463, effectively as a horse-shoe around Essendon Airport. The southern half of 463 through Essendon West was absorbed into 475 (Moonee Ponds – Essendon – Essendon West – Niddrie – East Keilor).
ROUTE 503 ESSENDON – EAST BRUNSWICK
An original route of 1925 was 9A Brunswick – West Brunswick via Albion Street. Then in December of that year was extended to Pascoe Vale Rd.
An extension to East Brunswick (Lygon St) occurred in January 1946, whilst Essendon Station was reached in September 1948 by which time operators were Mrs M McLennan, W Dunn, W Ritchie, Coghlan and Lalor had gone, Hinton followed by April 1966, then R Cunningham was in by June 1968. Morton went out shortly after and in 1970 Cunningham was the sole operator. Renumbered 503 in 1971.
ROUTE 504 MOONEE PONDS – CLIFTON HILL via Brunswick Rd
Route 30 Moonee Ponds- East Brunswick (Lygon Street) commenced in January 1933. It extended to Clifton Hill at the start of 1947 and by July 1948 the operator was Neesons Bus Service. Renumbered 504 in 1971. Sold to F. Bono 5/8/1974, then to Maison, Balzana & Paparone 23/12/1975. Northern Bus Lines (Pulitano) took over 13/8/1979.
ROUTE 505 SYDNEY RD (BRUNSWICK) – UNION ST (WEST BRUNSWICK)
This short run had been 12A, an original route of 1925, but closed in December 1925. Later it was Motor Cab Route 3, but was given Bus Route No 40 in July 1953 and the operator was W. McGurgan, who around 1965 sold to G. Holden. By February 1970 E. Kurbanovs was the operator, and it was renumbered 505 in 1971. Service closed in December 1973.
ROUTE 506 MOONEE PONDS – WESTGARTH via Dawson St
This route was a Motor Cab Service from Westgarth to West Brunswick which dates from the early 1930s when operators included A & F Deveson. In April 1934 W. Carah was also noted. It received Bus Route No. 34 in August 1939. In February 1948 the operators were Easton, Bowman, Waddell, Deveson, Burke, Griflett and Williams. In March 1950 Mcnamara and Mutimer were in the partnership, then in July 1952 Williams sold to H Dean and A Purser joined in. Waddell, Burke, Deveson and Griflett had gone buy the end of 1952. December 1954 saw Bowman drop out, whilst the remaining partners traded as Brunswick – Westgarth Bus Service.
H. Deveson joined in 1955, and next year the route was extended across to Moonee Ponds. By March 1961 F. Sherry and F. Fitzpatrick had replaced Easton. In August 1963 it is recorded that Fitzpatrick, Deveson and Dean were out, and replaced by O’Dea and P & H Frost, whilst in August 1964 J. mearns replaced Frost, and at the end of that year Dajon Investments had replaced O’Dea.
The trading name of Glenlyon Bus Service had been adopted by August 1965, and in April 1966 herry sold to R & E Higginson. The same year G. Bellofiori came in, then in February 1967 L. Dwyer had replaced Dajon Investments. Purser and Mearns had gone by 31/10/1969 when the remaining three operators formed themselves into Moonee Valley Bus Lines. Renumbered 506 in 1971.
ROUTE 507 NORTH-WEST BRUNSWICK – EAST BRUNSWICK
Sydney Rd – Albion St via Victoria St was a motor cab route which seems to have begun in 1928 by A. Deveson. It was extended across to East Brunswick in March 1934. In June 1952 it was given Bus Route No. 128A and the operator was J & J Fleurie. Renumbered 507 in 1971. Following the death of Mr Fleurie, the run passed to Reid’s Bus Service on 6/1/1976.
ROUTE 508 MOONEE PONDS – ALPHINGTON
Original routes of 1925 were 10A Brunswick – Northcote, 11A Brunswick – West Brunswick via Victoria Street and 18 Moonee Ponds – Northcote – Ivanhoe. However 11A and 18A ceased in December 1925. 66A Moonee Ponds – Brunswick started December 1929 but closed in December 1931.
In the early 1930s 10A was extended to Moonee Ponds, and across to Station Street, Fairfield in June 1947 which incorporated part of old 14A Fairfield – Northcote via Separation St. The operators in July 1948 were J. Twomey, W. Thomas, W. Carah and H. Hosking. By March 1950 Sweney, P. Carr, Reid, H. Waddell and F & R Knight had been added. By June 1951 F. Ricardo had replaced Hosking and Sweney. October 1952 shows Twomey and Still as Northcote Garage & Bus Service.
In 1955 the route was extended to Yarrara Rd, Fairfield and Carr dropped out in March 1955, Thomas by March 1961, Northcote Garage & B.S. by June 1963, Waddell by March 1966 and Knight by June 1968. Fairfield – Moonee Ponds B.S. was formed in 1969 by the remaining two operators and the route renumbered 508 in 1971. An extension to Alphington Station opened in May 1972.
ROUTE 509 SYDNEY RD (BRUNSWICK) – MELVILLE RD (WEST BRUNSWICK) via Hope St
This was a Cab Route operated in June 1952 by W. Smith, which in July 1954 was given Bus Route No 127A, at which time the operator was R. Chapman. He sold to A. Curley during October 1954, and by January 1961 it had gone to R & N Massey. It passed to R W Curren in 1962. By August 1963 G & G Long had taken over, and it was renumbered 509 in 1971. C Kafritsas bought the run in 1977.
ROUTE 510 ESSENDON STATION – IVANHOE STATION via Moreland Rd
In August 1956 a branch off the then 8A Northcote – Moreland – North Essendon was opened to Fletcher Street Tram. The operator was Arbuthnot’s Bus Service (J. Ryan, L. Haley, Mariott, D. Blair, Harvey and C. Wright). This portion seems to have quickly developed into the trunk route, being extended to Clarendon St, Thornbury in March 1958, then to Ivanhoe Station in September 1958. The latter was over part of old 13A Heidelberg – Ivanhoe – Northcote. By September 1960 B. Taranto had replaced Mariott and Harvey.
Final extension to Essendon Station was made in July 1966. Ryan and Taranto had dropped out by June 1968 and within 12 months the remaining operators formed themselves into Moreland Bus Lines. Renumbered 510 in 1971.
ROUTE 511 BRUNSWICK (MORELAND) – STRATHMORE
An original route of 1925, 8A was Moreland- West Coburg (Reynard and Queen Sts). Extension to Pascoe vale road followed in August 1938, then to North Essendon April 1939. By April 1946 a deviation down to Brewster St, Essendon had been added, and the operators were P. Carr, E. Arbuthnot and L. Haley. In October 1952 the operators traded as Arbuthnots B.S. (J. Ryan, Haley, Marriott, D. Blair, Harvey and Carr).
An extension to Northcote began in 1955, and in March 1955 Carr sold to C. Wright. The direct route to Essendon via Moreland Road (now 510) gradually became the main route, leaving this run as Moreland – North Essendon. By September 1960 B. Taranto had replaced Marriott and Harvey. Ryan and Taranto had dropped out by June 1968 and within 12 months the remaining operators formed into Moreland B.L.. Renumbered 511 in 1971. The section Strathmore to North Essendon closed in 1976.
ROUTE 512 EAST COBURG – WEST COBURG (COONAN’S HILL)
In 3/25 41A started, Moreland – West Coburg via Munro St, but ceased in December 1925. Restarted at the start of 1937 as 93A East Coburg – Melville Road by C. Stevens. Extension to Louisville Ave. West Coburg came in May 1951. The route seems to have ceased for a short time around 1954, then on 1/7/1955 was sold to Kings B.S. L. Berber took over in June 1958 and by December 1964 the operator was L. Fowler, and in 1968 it went to B. Taranto. Renumbered 512 in 1971.
ROUTE 513 GLENROY – HEIDELBERG – ELTHAM via Greensborough or Lower Plenty
Original 1925 routes were 6A Heidelberg – Coburg and 5A Coburg – Pascoe Vale South (Bell & Cumberland). Then in February 1925 38A Coburg – Westbreen began (which ran over all of 5A!). 6A was closed from December 1925 to August 1929. Also in December 1925 38A extended through to Glenroy. August 1935 saw 5A extended though to Pascoe Vale P.O.. In 1937 6A was sold by A. Wyndham to W. Laidlaw and W. King, and was cut back from Warringal Park Heidelberg to Heidelberg Station between March 1943 and January 1944. Next change was in December 1946 when 38A was altered to Coburg – Westbreen – Pascoe Vale.
Some rationalisation occurred on 1/1/1949 when 5A was absorbed into 38A, and the operator was Andersons B.S.. Finally in August 1950 38A was absorbed into 6A to become Heidelberg – Westbreen, operators Laidlaw and King t/as Coburg – Heidelberg Omnibus Service. Ownership passed to Nixon t/as Bell St. B.C. in January 1955. In March 1959 the route again went to Glenroy.
A short-lived service in 1970 ran from Olive Gr to Jetport (Melbourne Airport).
The route became 513 in 1971. In 6/1975 an extension to Eltham via Lower Plenty replaced route 519, followed by a deviation to Eltham via Greensborough in 7/1979 replacing route 520.
ROUTE 514 COBURG – MERLYNSTON
This run started in February 1946 as 112A Coburg – North Coburg Tram. By 1952 it was operated by Porter t/as Coburg/Merlynston B.S.. He sold to Bell St. B.C. in the late 1950s and in the mid 1960s it was cut back to from North Coburg Tram Terminus to Merlynston Station. Renumbered 514 in 1971.
ROUTE 515 COBURG – PASCOE VALE – WESTBREEN
A branch service off 6A Heidelberg – Westbreen, began in December 1950 as Pascoe Vale – Olive Gr (Laidlaw and King t/as Coburg – Heidelberg Omnibus Service). Sold in January 1955 to Nixon t/as Bell St B.C..
In May 1958 it was extended from Pascoe Vale to Westbreen taking over part of 124A (Moonee Ponds – Westbreen – Glenroy) from Glenroy B.S. The route was further extended in August 1970 to operate as Coburg – Pascoe Vale – Westbreen. Renumbered 515 in 1971, it closed down in December 1975.
ROUTE 516 NORTHLAND – BELL ST, EAST PRESTON
Started in 1966 when Northland Shopping Centre opened, this shuttle was 153A (Bell St. B.C) connecting with the trunk service along Bell St, and specially painted Bedfords were used. Renumbered 516 in 1971.
ROUTE 517 NORTHLAND – GREENSBOROUGH – ST HELENA
Bell St B.C. began this route in October 1973 as Rosanna – Yallambie. Extended to Northland in June 1975, and in the opposite direction to Greensborough on 17/10/1977, with a further extension to St Helena 2/2/1982.
ROUTE 519 HEIDELBERG – LOWER PLENTY – RESEARCH
Route 55A Heidelberg – Eltham Park started in August 1927. Then in February 1935 87A Heidelberg – Ford St, West Ivanhoe began. In December 1936 55A was absorbed into 87A to form West Ivanhoe – Heidelberg – Eltham Park. Cut back from West Ivanhoe to Ivanhoe Station in June 1941.
The operator in February 1952 was Heidelberg Motor Omnibus Co., although by then the section Ivanhoe – Heidelberg had only a Friday shoppers’ service. Sold September 1952 to W. Holborrow and J. Birkett, who then extended it to Eltham Station in December 1952. Further extension to Research occured in March 1954 and that year Holborrow was on his own trading as Heidelberg – Eltham B.S. The link to Ivanhoe finally ceased September 1954. Eltham – Research was withdrawn in June 1956 and in June 1957 the section Looker Rd, Sth Eltham – Eltham was sold to A. Witham as part of 137A Greensborough – Eltham. By January 1958 Holborrow was partnered by H. Collins. The service again reached Eltham November 1959, and again to Research in 1966.
Sold to Valley B.L. (part of Bell St. B.C.) in January 1969, renumbered 519 in 1971. The section Eltham – Research again closed November 1973, while Bell St B.C. was the operator from 1974. The route was absorbed in June 1975 as part of 513 rationalisation.
ROUTE 520 (1ST) HEIDELBERG – GREENSBOROUGH – RESEARCH
A branch off 87A (see 519 above) was opened to Watsonia Camp in November 1950. Further extensions reached Greensborough April 1953 and Briar Hill in June 1954. Eltham appears to have been reached during the 1960s and this route became 520 in 1971. Operator details are shown under route 519 and the route was absorbed in June 1975 as part of Route 513 rationalisation.
ROUTE 520 (2ND) YAN YEAN – GREENSBORUGH – MACELOD
A school service operated by Mees Bus Lines was given the number 520 by 20 June 1986. It ran from Yan Yean to both Macelod High and Technical Schools via Yarrambat, Plenty, Greensborough, Watsonia and Yallambie. A second bus ran a shortworking at a similar time, operating from Browns Rd, Plenty to Greensborough before school and originating from Watsonia each afternoon.
Mees also operate other Met fare school runs to St Helena Secondary College and Viewbank College.
ROUTE 521 NORTHLAND – LOWER PLENTY – RESEARCH
When Northland opened in 1966 a branch service off 87A began (see Route 519) and was numbered 521 in 1971. Closed in June 1975 as part of 513 rationalisation. Operator history is shown under 519.
ROUTE 522 NORTHLAND – GREENSBOROUGH – RESEARCH
Same history as 521.
ROUTE 523 DONCASTER SHOPPINGTOWN – GREENSBOROUGH
This was a new route of December 1969 classed as part of 87A operated by Valley B.L. and numbered 523 in 1971. However, this service ceased around 1973 although MMTB since resumed over much of the route as 269 on 29/6/1981.
ROUTE 525 (1ST) EAST PRESTON TRAM TERMINUS – GOWRIE
This route was ex Route 69A, renumbered 525 in 1971, but very soon after was again renumbered to 527, full details appear under that listing.
ROUTE 525 (2ND) COBURG – WEST RESERVOIR
This is an industrial service which began November 1967 as part of Route 121A (Preston – Coburg B.S.). Renumbered 527 in 1971, then later that year became 525.
ROUTE 526 COBURG – WEST PRESTON
Route 121A East Coburg Tram – Regent began in June 1944, and by 1952 it was run as Coburg – West Preston – Preston Town Hall, operated by J. Kennedy. In November 1954 it was linked with 7A Coburg – West Coburg (bought ex H. Anderson) and then in March 1955 was altered to operate West Coburg – Coburg – West Preston Tram Terminus.
Kennedy traded as Preston – Coburg B.S. by 1960 and in August 1963 rationalised his service, with 121A then becoming Coburg – West Preston. Renumbered 526 in 1971.
ROUTE 527 (1ST) COBURG – WEST RESERVOIR
See 525 (2nd) above.
ROUTE 527 (2ND) EAST PRESTON TRAM TERMINUS – NORTHLAND – COBURG – GOWRIE
An original route of January 1925 was 7A Coburg – Sussex St via O’Hea St. Then in March 1930, 69A Preston – East Preston (Wood St) began, which in August 1935 was extended from Preston to Coburg. 69A was taken around to East Preston Tram Terminus in September 1936 to become East Preston Tram Terminus – Coburg. A further extension in East Preston to Northernhay St operated from January 1941 to June 1941. Meanwhile 7A was extended in West Coburg to Essex St in May 1941, and looped via Ray St from December 1947. By 1952 the operators were H. Anderson (7A) and J. Kennedy (69A).
In November 1954, 7A was incorporated into 121A to form West Coburg – Coburg – West Preston (see 526 above). Kennedy traded as Preston – Coburg B.S. by 1960 and in August 1963 rationalised his services to offset a planned extension of the West Coburg tram (or feeder MMTB bus), and 69A became East Preston Tram Terminus – Coburg – Hadfield.
Further extensions north of the West Coburg tram occurred, and reached Gowrie Station in February 1969. Renumbered 525 in 1971, but shortly after again renumbered to 527.
ROUTE 530 NORTH COBURG – FAWKNER – BROADMEADOWS CAMP
An original route of 1925 was 4A North Coburg – Fawkner Cemetery, which closed in January 1928. Restarted in May 1942 by P. Thorne as 104A North Coburg Tram Terminus – Broadmeadows Military Camp, which by March 1948 had passed to J. Loughnan and in July that year, deviated off the highway into East Fawkner (McBride St). In the 1950s Louhgnan traded as Broadmeadows B.S. and on 5/5/1956 extended to Somerton to replace the Fawkner – Somerton Rail Motor. However, the extension was short lived, and in October 1959 the route reached Broadmeadows Station. As part of some rationalisation around Broadmeadows, the run was cut back to Broadmeadows Camp as of 1/3/1962. Renumbered 530 in 1971.
ROUTE 531 NORTH COBURG – SOMERSET ESTATE – UPFIELD
A branch of 104A (North Coburg – Broadmeadows Camp) to Somerset Estate began in November 1969 (Broadmeadows B.S.) and numbered 531 in 1971. This is now the basic service along Hume Hwy and has been extended onto Upfield.
ROUTE 532 BROADMEADOWS – UPFIELD STATION – CRAIGIEBURN
Began 18/2/1985 by Broadmeadows B.S. as Upfield Station – Craigieburn. By the late 1980s it had been extended to depart from Broadmeadows.
ROUTE 534 GLENROY – MERLYNSTON
Started late 1960s by Northern B.L. as 146A. Renumbered 534 in 1971.
ROUTE 536 GLENROY – GOWRIE
Glenroy – Glen St East Glenroy began in April 1955 as 133A, by W. King who in the next year traded as Westbreen – Glenroy B.S. Further extension followed to Justin St in August 1957 then Broadmeadows Station in October 1957, by which time King traded as Northern B.S.
Following the opening of Jacana Station, a separate service started May 1959, Glenroy – Jacana but this was withdrawn in April 1964, meanwhile on 1/3/1962 rationalisation in the Broadmeadows area saw 133A reduced back to Glenroy – East Glenroy. Extension to Gowrie followed in 1969, and the service renumbered 536 in 1971.
An extension to K-Mart Campbellfield began during August 1973 but was withdrawn a couple of years later.
ROUTE 538 BROADMEADOWS – SOMERSET ESTATE
On 1/3/1962 Jacana – Broadmeadows Camp started as 147A by Northern B.L.. Altered to Broadmeadows Station – Broadmeadows Camp in November 1963, renumbered 538 in 1971. Extended to Campbellfield K-Mart during August 1973 and later onto Somerset Estate off Hume Hwy.
ROUTE 540 BROADMEADOWS – COOLAROO AND BROADMEADOWS – UPFIELD
On 1/3/1962 Northern B.L. began 148A Broadmeadows – Kiewa St. Extension to Upfield Station occurred in the late 1960s, before being renumbered 540 in 1971. A branch service to Coolaroo began in February 1977.
ROUTE 542 OAK PARK – BROADMEADOWS – BETHEL ESTATE
In the mid-1950s King (Northern B.L.) had some service from Glenroy to West Glenroy but its history is very vague. In 1965 Route 150A, West Glenroy – Glenroy- Broadmeadows was commenced by A. Lord t/as North Western B.S..
Renumbered 542 in 1971, it was extended that year down to Pascoe Vale. Extension to North Broadmeadows took place in March 1973. The southern terminus was changed to Oak Park in 1974, and Northern B.L. took over on 13/1/1976. Further extensions in North Broadmeadows took place to Nathalia Street during February 1977, and Bethel Estate in April 1978.
ROUTE 546 SMITH ST, COLLINGWOOD – CLIFTION HILL – HEIDELBERG
In August 1926, Route 19 started at Clifton Hill – Heidelberg Repat Hospital. Extension over the Cable Tram route as far as Derby and Smith Sts, Fitzroy followed in April 1927. Final extension to Victoria Pde was occurred in May 1941, but some restrictions applied during the war and the full route did not resume until October 1945.
By 1952 G. Duncan was the operator who later that year began to trade as Duncan’s Green Bus Service. The route was cut back from Heidelberg Repat Hospital to Heidelberg Station on 2/4/1956. Renumbered 546 in 1971, it was sold to Reid B.S. on 4/10/1981.
ROUTE 547 COTHAM RD, KEW – IVANHOE – MONT PARK
Starting in November 1926, Route 49A operated as Darebin St – Cotham Rd, Kew, via Burke Rd. However, it only lasted until January 1928. Reopened December 1929 as Ivanhoe Station – Cotham Rd, Kew, and extended northwards in February 1935 to Mont Park and Cresswell Sanatorium.
In October 1945 the operator was Heidelberg Motor Omnibus Co., they sold to Morarty & Nolan in May 1952 who later traded as Mont Park – Cotham Rd B.S. and by May 1957 had formed Ivanhoe B. C.. Renumbered 547 in 1971.
ROUTE 548 COTHAM RD, KEW – IVANHOE – LA TROBE UNIVERSITY – MONT PARK
A branch service of 49A began in 1967 (Ivanhoe B. C.) to serve La Trobe University and was given the number 548 in 1971. The timetable in the late 1980s saw many 548 trips extend onto Mont Park, effectively forming a loop service with 547.
ROUTE 549 IVANHOE – NORTHLAND
Beginning in 1950, Route 123A was Ivanhoe – Oriel Road & Bell St, then up to Malahang Pde in October 1951. By 1952 the operator was Heidelberg Motor Omnibus Co. Further extensions to Ramu Pde in December 1954, and McEwan Rd July 1955 followed. Ivanhoe B. C. took over in August 1956 and the route was extended through to Heidelberg on 2/2/1959.
Renumbered 549 in 1971, it now travels between Ivanhoe and Northland, with the 551 operating between Heidleberg, West Heidelberg and La Trobe University.
ROUTE 550 NORTHLAND – LA TROBE UNIVERSITY
As part of 123A, this service between Northland Shopping Centre & West Heidelberg began in August 1966 (Ivanhoe B.C.). Renumbered 550 in 1971 it was later extended to La Trobe University.
ROUTE 551 LA TROBE UNIVERSITY – HEIDELBERG
This route incorporates part of the former 123A service.
ROUTE 552 NORTHCOTE PLAZA – RESERVOIR – NORTH EAST RESERVOIR
Route 1A was an original route started in 1925 and ran from Reservoir to the Northcote Tram Terminus. In February 1929 the route was extended to Edwards Lake, absorbing route 2.
In October 1929 a route numbered 22 was started between Northcote Tram Terminus and Westgarth via Victoria Road, and in February 1931 it was extended to Thornbury Station.
Route 1A was altered at the north end in October 1939 to become Northcote Tram – Edwards Lake (further details under 553), and Northcote Tram – Cheddar & Crookston Rds, which was a new section beyond Reservoir.
Route 22 was cut back from Thornbury Station to Thornbury Junction in August 1941, and in January 1950 the operator was G. Duncan trading as Thornbury – Westgarth Bus Service.
In 1952 the multiple operators on 1A were K. Williamson, McQueen, Watton and Nathalia – Melbourne Passenger Service (Taylor). In August 1954 McQueen sold his share in 1A to H. Webb, and trading as East Preston – Epping Bus Service.
With the extension of the MMTB bus service to West Heidelberg on 13 March 1956, the 22 route was linked to the 1A to operate via Victoria Rd, East Thornbury, Reservoir, Cheddar Rd, East Reservoir.
Another service to North-East Reservoir from East Preston Tram Terminus started in March 1958. Further extensions to North East Reservoir occurred in the early 60s and in 1964 East Preston – Epping Bus Service became the sole operator. A direct service, Northland – North East Reservoir started up in April 1966 as Route 152A, operating over the same route. Reservoir Bus Co. took over on 1 December 1968 and both services were numbered 552 in 1971.
The Northland service was abandoned in the 1970s. The route then operated Thornbury, Dundas Street – Preston – Regent Station – North East Reservoir. The southern end was extended to Darebin Road in August 1977 and Northcote Plaza in July 1981.
ROUTE 553 THORNBURY – RESERVOIR – WEST RESERVOIR
Original routes of January 1925 were 1A Northcote Tram Terminus – Reservoir and 2A Reservoir- Edwards Lake. 2A closed in January 1928, so in February 1929 1A was extended from Reservoir to Edwards Lake.
In August 1948 the route was taken on from Edwards Lake via Henty and Spring Streets to Regent. However, in December 1948 the Regent end was linked up to High Street to form a big loop service, Thornbury – Reservoir – Edwards Lake – Regent – Thornbury. By 1952 the multiple operators were K. Williamson, McQueen, Wotton and Taylor (who traded as Nathalia- Melbourne Passenger Service). Trips ran in each direction between Thornbury and Edwards Lake. McQueen sold his share in August 1954 to H. Webb, and by December 1955 Taylor had been replaced by Stephens, trading as East Preston – Epping Bus Service. 1964 saw East Preston – Epping Bus Service take over the other operators, after which the run went to Reservoir Bus Co. on 1/12/68. It was renumbered 553 in 1971.
At an unknown time, the route via Regent Station had been altered to operate via West Preston Tram Terminus, and in May 1972 was further altered to run via Henty St, West Reservoir. Further revision occurred in 1974 when the route was altered to Thornbury – Reservoir via either West Reservoir or Spring St (direct).
ROUTE 554 LALOR – EPPING
A new run started in 1975 by Reservoir Bus Co. as Lalor Shops – East Lalor. This was extended to Henderson Rd, Epping in 1982 as a Friday only shoppers service.
ROUTE 555 NORTHLAND – EAST PRESTON TRAM TERMINUS – RESERVOIR – EPPING
This began as 122A Reservoir – Lalor by J. & A. Witham in November 1948 and continued on to Epping in 1949. The route was extended in March 1952 to East Preston Tram Terminus absorbing Motor Cab Route 6; East Preston Tram Terminus – Broadhurst Ave, Reservoir. Witham sold to East Preston & Epping Bus Service in March 1954.
Apparently the section Reservoir – Epping was abandoned from March 1958 until the early 60s. The route was further extended from the East Preston Tram Terminus to Northland upon its opening in October 1966. The route was diverted via East Lalor in 1969, and Reservoir Bus Co. took over on 1/12/68. It was renumbered 555 in 1971. An extension from Epping to Greenbank Dr dates from January 1973.
ROUTE 556 NORTHLAND – RESERVOIR – KEON PARK
A service from West Preston to East Reservoir via Cheddar Rd started as 138A in March 1956 by East Preston & Epping Bus Service although in 1961 it is noted as also having H. Webb and K. Williamson as multiple operators.
The terminus at Keon Pde & Cheddar Rd was reached in January 1962, and by December 1964 East Preston & Epping Bus Service was the sole operator and the route operated from Reservoir to Keon Pde. It was extended to Northland in October 1966, sold to Reservoir Bus Co. on 1/12/1968 and was renumbered 556 in 1971.
ROUTE 557 THOMASTOWN – WEST LALOR – LALOR – THOMASTOWN
Reservoir Bus Company began this route in June 1971 as Thomastown – West Lalor and extended it to Lalor late in 1972. It now operates as a circular route.
ROUTE 558 RESERVOIR – NORTH WEST RESERVOIR – RESERVOIR
During April 1966 East Preston & Epping Bus Service started this route as 151A. It was sold to Reservoir Bus Co. on 1/12/1968 and renumbered 558 in 1971. An extension to K-Mart Campbellfield was tried in August 1973 but did not survive. It operates largely as a circular service.
ROUTE 559 THOMASTOWN – EAST LALOR – LALOR – THOMASTOWN
This route began in August 1969 as 156A by Reservoir Bus Co. and was renumbered 559 in 1971. It now runs as an anti-clockwise circular service.
ROUTE 560 GREENSBOROUGH – BROADMEADOWS
Commenced on 1/8/1980 by East-West Bus Lines, a partnership of Dysons Bus Service and Reservoir Bus Co.
ROUTE 561 RESERVOIR – LA TROBE UNIVERSITY – MACLEOD
Started by East West Bus Lines (a partnership of Dysons Bus Service and Reservoir Bus Co.) on 9/3/1981 and was extended from Macleod Station to Dunvegan Estate, Macleod on 2/4/1984.
ROUTE 562 REGENT & NORTHLAND – WHITTLESEA – HUMEVALE – KINGLAKE
Whittlesea- Kinglake was Country Route 10, dating from April 1928. It seems to have extended through to Melbourne at some time (War years?) and in 1958 was sold from B. Heather to Dysons Bus Service, and given route number 163A.
When the Lalor – Whittlesea rail service ceased on 30/11/1959 the route was altered to start from Regent Station. Shoppers trips to Northland commenced in October 1966. The route was renumbered 562 in 1971 with only a school trip going right out to Kinglake by the late 1980s. Normal service terminates at Whittlesea with occasional extensions to Humevale.
ROUTE 563 LA TROBE UNIVERSITY – MILL PARK
Started 1977 by Dysons Bus Service operating from Regent (shopping hours from Northland) to the developing estates in Mill Park.
Following the Plenty Rd tram being extended north on 10 January 1985, trips were truncated from 20 July 1986 to originate from La Trobe University. The route was also further extended into new parts of Mill Park North from this date.
ROUTE 564 REGENT & NORTHLAND – JANEFIELD
Route 46A began in November 1925 as Thornbury Station – Janefield Colony. It was altered in June 1938 to operate from Regent Station by which time the operator was E. Gastin.
It was sold to L. Dyson in June 1952 and as housing developed along Plenty Road, it developed as a regular service. Shopping trips were diverted to Northland from October 1966 and the route was renumbered 564 in 1971. It closed on 14/2/1982 when a revamped service on 563 took effect.
ROUTE 565 GREENSBOROUGH – APOLLO PARKWAYS
A local feeder route serving the hilly Apollo Parkways estate north-west of Greensborough, introduced by Dysons on 20 July 1986, replacing the Greensborough – North Greensborough section of the 566 service.
ROUTE 566 GREENSBOROUGH – MILL PARK WEST
Dysons Bus Service started a branch of 46A in June 1965 as Regent –Greensborough operating along Plenty Rd and Grimshaw St. Shopping trips to Northland began in October 1966 and it was renumbered 566 in 1971. It was extended to North Greensborough in September 1972, serving the Apollo Parkways estate.
Major network changes took place on 20 July 1986 following the opening of the tram extension to La Trobe University on 10 January 1985 and in anticipation of the McLeans Rd extension from 26 April 1987. 566 became Greensborough – Mill Park West along Grimshaw St, Plenty Rd and Childs Rd.
ROUTE 567 REGENT – NORTHLAND – FAIRFIELD – HIGH ST, NORTHCOTE
The original part of this route was 53A High Street, Northcote – Fairfield Park Station – Separation Street loop which started in August 1927. It was extended up to Station St and Darebin Rd corner in July 1942 and in 1946, one of the operators was T. Burke.
By 1952 the route was shared Daldy, Howell and T. Johnson. In 1954, R. Roberts, who had come to replace Daldy, sold to H. McKay. He, in turn sold to J. Shields in December 1954. In April 1956, A. Caddy replaced Howell and around the same time Shields sold to Barber. Changes continued and in May 1958, Ferns replaced Barber and the route was extended to Clarendon St. By 1960 N. Craig had replaced Ferns.
Meanwhile, during 1955, L. Dyson had begun 135A Regent – East Preston, and late in 1960 Dysons commenced 144A Regent – South Preston. The southern portion of 53A reached Rossmoyne St in 1964 and was extended to Northland in October 1966. At this time the multiple operators, Caddy, Craig & Johnson formed a company called Northcote Bus Service.
The opening of Northland saw 144A extended to the complex. In 1968, 135A and 144A were merged to form 144A Regent – Seston St – Northland – Bell St. The renumbering in 1971 saw 53A become 571 and 144A become 570, shortly after being changed to 567.
The final chapter happened on 25/1/1982 when both routes joined up to form 567 Regent – Northcote. Apparently Northcote Bus Service had been part of Dyson’s Bus Service since 1968, and the former name passed out of use with the 1982 change.
ROUTE 568 NORTHLAND – KINGSBURY – NORTH WATSONIA
Around 1966 this run began as a branch of 46A operated by Dysons Bus Service and was renumbered 568 in 1971. Like many routes in the area at the time, trips ran to Northland during shopping hours and Regent at all other times.
The Regent variation was dropped on 20 July 1986 with all trips operating to Northland. At the same time, trips were deviated through Kingsbury to replace most of the discontinued 569.
ROUTE 569 REGENT & NORTHLAND – KINGSBURY
L. Dyson began 134A Regent – Kingsbury in 1955 and shopping trips diverted to Northland from 10/1966.
Renumbered as 569 in 1971.
569 through Kingsbury closed 20 July 1986. It was largely incorporated into the 568 Northland – North Watsonia route, although service was removed from Flag St.
ROUTE 570 (1ST) REGENT – NORTHLAND – BELL ST, EAST PRESTON
In the 1971 re-numbering, this service went from 144A to 570, but shortly after went to 567 (see under that listing).
ROUTE 570 (2ND) THOMASTOWN – BUNDOORA
Commenced 27/2/1984 by East West Bus Lines. This was third service to be started by this partnership of Dysons Bus Service and Reservoir Bus Co, following the establishment of 560 (Greensborough – Broadmeadows) in 1980 & 561 (Reservoir – La Trobe Uni – Macleod) in 1981.
The service along The Boulevard and McKimmies Rd to was introduced to provide a direct link betwen Thomastown Station and the Phillip Institute’s Bundoora campus on Plenty Rd, over a decade before the tram reached the college, now part of RMIT.
Selected trips at school times continued onto the nearby Parade College.
ROUTE 571 HIGH STREET, NORTHCOTE – NORTHLAND
The orgins of 571 date back to August 1927 when 53A High Street, Northcote – Fairfield Park Station – Separation Street loop started. It was extended up to Station St and Darebin Rd corner in July 1942 and in 1946, one of the operators was T. Burke.
By 1952 the route was shared Daldy, Howell and T. Johnson. In 1954, R. Roberts, who had come to replace Daldy, sold to H. McKay. He, in turn sold to J. Shields in December 1954. In April 1956, A. Caddy replaced Howell and around the same time Shields sold to Barber. Changes continued and in May 1958, Ferns replaced Barber and the route was extended to Clarendon St. By 1960 N. Craig had replaced Ferns.
The southern portion of 53A reached Rossmoyne St in 1964 and was extended to Northland in October 1966. At this time the multiple operators, Caddy, Craig & Johnson formed a company called Northcote Bus Service.
The renumbering in 1971 saw 53A become 571.
The final chapter happened on 25/1/1982 when 567 was extended to High St, Northcote over the former 571 service. Apparently Northcote Bus Service had been part of Dyson’s Bus Service since 1968, and the former name passed out of use with the 1982 change.
The development of the northern half of 567 is listed above.
ROUTE 578 ELTHAM – KANGAROO GROUND – WARRANDYTE
In November 1947 a Warrandyte Town Service was began by R. Kennedy, and was extended to Eltham 11/1949. Extended at south end to Mitcham 10/1952. Then E. Williams bought the run 6/3/1953 and only operated Warrandyte – Eltham, Warrandyte – Kangaroo Ground and Warrandyte Town.
Early in 1955 they all stopped, but on 31/3/1955 E. Hackett resumed on Warrandyte – Eltham and Warrandyte Town. It became 222A and Hackett traded as Highfield B.S. but in 5/1958 it was cut back to Eltham – Research. A local South Eltham service began 11/1959. Hackett withdrew in the early 1960s, although in 1966 the 87A from Heidelberg to Eltham went through to Research (see 519).
Mees B.L. started 578 Warrandyte – Research in 6/1972. Sold to Hurstbridge Bus & Taxi Service in 1973, and extended to Eltham 6/1974, was only a school trip until regular service began 1984. 581 shortworkings also operated between Eltham and Research from 5/1974.
ROUTE 579 DIAMOND CREEK – WARRANDYTE
Started by Mees B.L. in June 1972 as Warrandyte – Kangaroo Ground. Sold to Hurstbridge Bus & Taxi Service in 1973, and extended to Diamond Creek in August 1974. Only school trips operated until the late 1980s.
ROUTE 580 (1ST) HURSTBRIDGE – PANTON HILL – YARRAMBAT
For many years a ‘service car’ had operated Hurstbridge – Panton Hills – St. Andrews by Lyon Bros. In July 1953 the operator was J. Morris, and it later became 205A, closing 14/4/1956.
Re-opened 8/1956 by E. Patterson, it was closed in 1960, but it was resumed by J. Morris shortly after, only to withdraw in 1962. Again resumed in April 1970 by Markby & Patterson t/as Hurstbridge Bus & Taxi Service.
A Hurstbridge Town Service was added February 1973 until December 1975, whilst an extension to Hurstbridge – Yarrambat began in September 1973. These services were not shown as 580 from 1982 but an un-numbered service Hurstbridge – Panton Hills continued to run, and links to Eltham services. Hurstbridge Coaches is now the trading name.
ROUTE 580 (2ND) DIAMOND CREEK STATION – DIAMOND CREEK TECHNICAL SCHOOL
Given this number in 1982, Hurstbridge Coaches, these school trips were linked to Eltham services but the number fell out of use by the early 1990s.
ROUTE 581 (1ST) KANGAROO GROUND – HURSTBRIDGE – YARRAMBAT
Started November 1971 by Hurstbridge Bus & Taxi Service. Withdrawn January 1974.
ROUTE 581 (2ND) ELTHAM – RESEARCH
Started May 1974 by Hurstbridge Bus & Taxi Service, who now operate as Hurstbridge Coaches. These were shortworkings of the 578 Warrandyte – Eltham route.
ROUTE 582 ELTHAM TOWN SERVICE
Feeder loop started by Hurstbridge Bus & Taxi Service, who now operate as Hurstbridge Coaches in the late 1980s to serve residents living in the Woodridge estate to the east of the station, an area previously unserved despite being built up in the 1960s and 1970s.