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Take a bus trip down memory lane

Friday, 25th March, 2016

Carol Johnstone and Greg Lee with sons Lachie and Angus visited the Miners’ Memorial yesterday while waiting for the other Flxible Clippers Club members to arrive in the city. PICTURE: Emily Roberts Carol Johnstone and Greg Lee with sons Lachie and Angus visited the Miners’ Memorial yesterday while waiting for the other Flxible Clippers Club members to arrive in the city. PICTURE: Emily Roberts

By Emily Roberts

Patton Street Village will be hosting a display of buses from yesteryear tomorrow when the Flxible Clipper Club puts on a Show and Shine.

The “Flxible Clipper” buses which were built from the 1940s to 1960s.

Club members Greg Lee and Carol Johnstone said the Ansair Flxible Clipper was recognised as a touring coach.

“They were built in Melbourne by Ansair Pty Ltd, under licence from the Flxible Company, USA,” Greg said.

“They were used Australia-wide as touring and express coaches during the 1950s, 60s and 70s by Ansett Roadways, Pioneer Tours and several smaller operators.”

Ansair built 131 Clippers and of these, 115 went to Ansett companies, six went to Newmans of New Zealand and the last few went to Hobart and Geelong.

The coaches built in Australia were 33 feet long, had seating for 29 to 33 passengers, full air brakes, large luggage racks, rear luggage compartments, sliding windows and public address systems.

Most of the buses were left to decay or were cut up for scrap but luckily a few remained and were restored to their original condition or turned into motor homes by the members of the Flxible Clipper Club of Australia.

“There are about 30 of the old buses in the club,” Greg said.

“Sixteen of them are coming to Broken Hill.”

The Show and Shine will be in Patton Street from 10am tomorrow morning.

“There are a fair few activities which have been organised thanks to Bells Milk Bar’s Jason King,” Greg said.

“There will be a few other vehicles as well.”

Greg said locals were welcome to look inside the buses and take photos.

“Each bus has its own history,” he said.

“After that we will be doing a tour with Silver City tours, since a lot of the buses can’t fit us all in.”

The club will also head out to Silverton on Sunday and display their buses across from the Silverton Hotel.

“If you want to go for a drive and a look out there, we will be there around lunchtime,” Greg said.

He said the Clippers hail from all around Australia.

“We have some travelling from the Surfers Paradise, NSW, Victoria, SA and there are two Clippers coming from Tasmania.

“We also have members in New Zealand and WA.”

Greg said the Clippers were quite popular in American movies.

“Most recently, a Clipper appeared in The Dressmaker, an Australian movie with Kate Winslet.

“A few bands have used Clippers to travel around Australia.

“Our Clipper was used in a 1996 film ‘Race the Sun’ with Halle Berry, parts of it were filmed in Broken Hill.”

Greg said he and his wife Carol got into Clippers after they were looking for a place to run their snowboard shop from.

“We wanted something different,” he said. “We drove around for six months looking for something.

“Then we found a Clipper which put us onto the club president who eventually sold us one of his Clippers.

“We then ran a snowboard hire shop out of it before setting it up as a family vehicle.

“We have two teenage sons who seem to enjoy going around in it so we will keep doing that until they are sick of it.”

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