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Mercury Roadlines

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Mercury Roadlines

Postby Reo » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:08 am

Hi all

Another piece of nostalgia I'm afraid ! Attached are 2 photo's that I took in a backyard in Kempsey in 1996 of the Mercury Roadlines "beast" that used to run between Kempsey and South West Rocks in the 50's. It was 1/2 passenger seating and 1/2 freight, with a dividing panel separating the two.
As a child our parents would take us to South West Rocks for holidays each May. Not having a car, we would catch the 8 p.m. sleeper steam train from Central Station, arriving in Kempsey around 5 a.m. the following morning. As the bus to South West Rocks didn't depart until around 9.a.m., it was a long wait sitting around the station waiting for it to arrive. Although the trip was only around 40 klms., it would take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to complete the journey, depending on how many stops the driver had to make along the way. They carried anything from bags of spuds, household goods, new appliances, packages etc....anything pretty much that the people who lived along the river had ordered from Kempsey or further afield. It was a real beast of a thing, but added just another dimension to bus travel at the time.
Any help on identifying the bus would be appreciated.

Cheers and enjoy

Reo
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Thirroul » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:33 am

Thank you for posting these gems REO. Could be my advancing years but, might you resize them so they are more user friendly?
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Reo » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:24 pm

Hi Thirroul

Sorry about the photo size...it was my first attempt at loading photo's. Here's another go.

Cheers

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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Bedford-29 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:55 pm

Mate take a look my post and look at the two MO-961s I posted.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Reo » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:14 pm

Hi Bedford -29
Thanks for that...definitely the 2nd. MO-961 photo...without the Perkins badge in your photo. Do you know what it is ?
It was still in excellent condition when I took the photo's.

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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby GM » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:37 pm

A Mercury Roadliner from the peter kane Collection.
Another photo from the Eddie Hayman Collection.
Are any of these of your vehicle? GM
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Mercury Road Liners - MO xxx - r.jpg
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Bedford-29 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:58 pm

There is a emblem and what I can make out that MO-961 is a Leyland with a Perkins engine the emblem is at the bottom of the grille in GM first picture by Eddie Hayman.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Reo » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:06 pm

Thanks Bedford-29...definitely the one ! Deteriorated a bit !!

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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby burrumbus » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:38 am

Good morning Reo and Bedford 29.
Many thanks for the posts on the fascinating and colourful Mercury Roadlines fleet at Kempsey.
An early operator on the South West Rocks-Kempsey route was J.McNally.He operated from 1934 to 1939.
It was owned by the Everson family by the 1940s operating a route ,mail and parcel service between South West Rocks and Kempsey.I do not know for sure whether McNally sold out to Eversons.But on the dates of operation it would be highly probable.As the school transport scheme swung into effect in the 50s and 60s the focus of the business changed from route,mail and parcels to school services.The ownership of the business was transferred from L.Everson to B.(Brian)Everson in 2/85.I suspect that L.Everson may have been Brian Everson's mother.Brian Everson sold to C.A.& C.Cavanagh,Kempsey with the business in 7/96.By 1994 the route was numbered 348 and comprised about 3 return trips for adults and parcels,and around 5 school runs into Kempsey schools.There was also a school run into South West Rocks Public School.
The depot was the family residence at 337 Forth Street.It was a typical "Queenslander" residence as the Kempsey area is very prone to flooding.I was fortunate to meet Brian Everson once in 1994 and was a very friendly,helpful person.
A feature of the business was the adaption of chassis for bus operation and the building of home made bodies,until around the early 70s..
Greg Travers book"The Australian Private Bus(since the 'forties)"shows a photo of MO 4183.The text shows this to be a Leyland Comet 3 tonne chassis new as a milk truck in the late 1940s.It was converted to forward control by widening the front axle by 300mm and altering the springing.All this was done by Mercury who built the B39F body on it in 1960.Patronage on the route had dropped to 3-4 pax daily .Mercury had mail and parcels contracts and changed the layout of the bus to B14F with the rear goods bay built in.A comparison of the photo in Greg's book and the photo of the bus above would indicate this was MO 4183.
I hope this is of interest.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby burrumbus » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:41 am

To clarify the bus in the Pete Kane shot.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Reo » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:05 am

Hi Burrumbus and Bedford-29
Thanks for all the info. It is amazing just how much information is still stored in people's minds regarding these fabulous old operators and their fleets. My memory of this old "leviathan" double parked in the very narrow streets of South West Rocks while unloading just seems like yesterday.

Regards
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby burrumbus » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:27 am

The closing fleet sold to C.A.& C.Cavanagh Pty.Ltd comprised-
-2) MO 0875 Mercury-Commer/Watt (10/72)B57F,ex MO 4442.
-MO 633 Bedford YRQ2(U/F)/Custom Coaches(75-539,3/5/76)RB57F.
-6)MO 1767 Bedford VAM 70(U/F)/Custom Coaches(68-520,8/5/69)RB49F,ex Eggins Holdings Pty.Ltd,Taree,MO 5190.
-8)MO 1766 Bedford YRQ2/Smithfield(SB 536,30/9/76)B52F,ex W.D & C Sutherland,Wallendbeen,MO 8069.
-MO 9104 Mercedes OH1418/Austral(1599,9/89)B57F.This one did not appear to have been sold to Cavanaghs.Instead sold to D.W & C.Martin,Bombala.
-MO 2137 Izuzu LT1-11P/Custom Coaches(91-265,28/1/92)RB57F.
-MO 1833 Izuzu FSR500/Rogers(B379,3/92)C30FTB.This operated the adult route /freight service,plus the school service into South West Rocks Public School.
-MO 2577 Mercedes OH1418/Custom Coaches(92-279,4/93)RB57F.
So a closing fleet of 8 buses,with the last 4 purchased new,to comply with the average age rulings introduced with the 1990 Passenger Transport Act.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby GM » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:09 pm

Digressing from the subject of Mercury Roadlines for moment, Seargents were early operators in Kempsey.
Harry Seargent had been a Taxi and Bus operator in Kempsey before purchasing CARLYON’s Pioneer Bus Service, The Entrance-Wyong, on 14th September, 1935.
Mr Seargent was a farmer before entering the transport field in 1917, commencing a Taxi Service with a T Model Ford at Frederickton on the Macleay River, later branching out into buses.
Some items attached from the family records. GM
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Seargents, Kempsey - First Taxi, T Model Ford 1917 - P0391.jpg
Seargents, Kempsey - First Taxi, T Model Ford 1917 - P0391.jpg (53.25 KiB) Viewed 2132 times
Seargents, Kempsey - Local taxi on Picnic to Grassy Head Dec 1933 -  P0392.jpg
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Seargents, Kempsey - Seargents Comfort Coaches - Omnibus & Taxi Services.JPG
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Seargents Comfort Coaches, Kempsey - 38-574 Reo.JPG
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby burrumbus » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:04 pm

Great stuff GM. I knew nothing of the early Seargents history.Thanks.From the size of the shed in the background of 2 photos Seargents must have had at least 2 buses/taxis.From the Richard Peck/Vic Hayes book" Country operators of NSW" Harry(H.W & J.W) Seargent sold to F.W.Raines,formerly of Bondi in 1935.Do you know what route Seargent and Raines operated perchance??
Raines was one of the displaced operators of the government takeovers of 1933-8.He had route 20-Vaucluse-Bondi Beach taken over 15/4/34 and route 163-McMahons Point-Military Road,Neutral Bay taken over on 15/2/34.From Greg Travers book "From City to Suburb"Raines had m/o s 108,791 and 836 all Reos with Smith and Waddington bodies.-,sold to DRTT on 15/4/34.
Cheers-Allan.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby busways266 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:39 pm

Would anyone know the location of the Ex kemsey to SWR 1/2 bus / truck . Have actually ridden in it in the 80`s , Was in immaculate condition back then for it age .
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby sydfox22 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:16 pm

The house has since been sold and as far as I know it was sold for scrap metal.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby VIKing » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:29 am

Just adding to the history of Mercury Roadlines ...
The Kempsey - South West Rocks route was a dual operator route. A list created by Mr Roy Corrigan (Berowra Bus Service) who was a very early office holder in the NSW Bus Industrry adssociation (BPA - BPA etc), which is thougft was prepared in 1946 showed the 2 operators as -
J Reynolds with MO 094
J Stuart with MO100 and MO101. MO100 was a Reo.
However a Truck and Bus report suggests that Stuart sold to Everson in about September 1945.
Hilton Everson married Loma Rowe in 1945. Hilton passed away 15/05/1977 and Loma was the "operator" of the business until son Brian became formally involved in the business. Hilton and Loma had 4 children, but I am only aware of Brian becoming involved in the bus business ?
As noted in earlier posts the business was sold to Cavanaghs in 1996, Loma passed away 10/07/2007 and the house and depot was only recenetly (last couple of years) sold, which is when the bus / truck and the partly dismantled Bedford / CCMC disappeared.
I found both Hilton and Loma to be very friendly and helpful people. I can't recall ever meeting Brian. Hilton was very passionate about his buses, I have a letter from him, the text of which I will post (when I locate it) written about 1972/3. I called to the depot for my first ever visit, I was more than welcome to look around etc but Hilton was very apologetic as he was on his way out (not driving a bus) and said if there was anything I wanted to know about his buses, please write to him. So I did and the response was wonderful.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby VIKing » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:08 am

The letter from Hilton Everson : I identified as much as I could of his fleet when I visited but could not identify all that many details - and that was what I asked for help with. The is an entirely handwritten response on plain lined paper - only the "Mercury Road Lines" which is a rubber stamp at the end was not written (note that Road Lines is 2 words on that company stamp)

PO Box 148
28 Forth Street
Kemspey 2440
8 - 9 -72

I have your letter to hand and I am pleased to help you all I can. I'll try to answer your questions
(1) Viking MO4243 is, as you say, a standard Viking chassis (I think the wheelbase altered) with a 52 seater Watt Bros body. A 1966 model.
(2) MO663 is a 49 seater Leyland Comet "300" motor - was originally a tug for a semi trailer, we altered the chassis to as is and built the body in our own workshop, body is approx 15 years old and done a lot of work. It was perhaps the first forward entrance of front axle bus on the north coast. chassis is about 1950 model
(3) MO961 is a simailar chassis to MO633 apart from the fact that it is a 39 seater normal forward control - entrance behind from axle. WE also did the chassis conversion from a semi trailer tug and built the body ourselves (actually I personally built this one myself completely). It is approx 10 years old and just recently has been fitted with a 354 Perkins motor by ourselves - this gives for better performance over the Leyland 300 motor
(4) MO4442 - which you passed on the road - is a Commer powered with a horizontal Perkins 6.354. We bought this as a wrecked tipper truck and used the basic parts eg axles, motor, steering. We built a complete new chassis with new chassis rails and mounted the motor underfloor just ahead of the rear axles as it was in the tip truck. Of course it is entrance ahead of front axle. The body is 57 seater 18 standing by Watt Bros and although it is actually a complete chassis of our own it is the best handling vehicle we have. Rides well and goes around corners like a train on rails. The body was built last year (October). It is jet air.
(5) the other bus I have is MO4183. It is a 1941 model Ford chassis now powered with a perkins P6. It was again one of my own chassis conversions - from a 3 ton Ford truck also ....(I can't make out the next few words). I widened the front axle 12 inches and of course in converting these to F control also moved the fixed shackle of the front spring to the front of the axle. This bus was used as a FC 39 seater until about 5 years ago. At that time with falling off in passengers I built a partition in the bus and made it a 14 seater with the rear section for goods carriage like mail and general goods. Carriage to the ... (I can't make out the next word) Bowling Club and farms along the road. This way we give a little service to everyone which would not exist if we relied on passengers alone as 3 or 4 passengers per day is the usual maximum. This alteration meant fitting an exit panel on the RHand side of the bus in the forward passenger section.
Hope this helps you and its a pleasure

Yours faithfully
Hilton Everson
Mercury Road Lines
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby VIKing » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:50 am

Regarding an earlier post re the fleet that passed to Cavanagh, actually MO9104 was sold when the last new Mercedes Benz was purchased (MO2577). I have some photos and deatils from Mercedes Benz (then at Chpping Norton) - "Mercedes Benz OH1418 Late '89. First reg Jan '91 Metroliner 57 Pass roacks 2 hatches large through bins 130,000 km Immaculate in and out, new clutch, 26 stand, sunken aisle, school flashers Asking $125,000 Contact Brian Everson" and then 2 phone numbers plus contacts at Mercedes Benz.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby Bedford-29 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:09 pm

Here are the buses mentioned in the letter Viking I hope they are the right ones.Pictures from the Ken Magor collection.
Attachments
Mercury Roadlines Leyland Comet MO-633.jpg
MERCURY ROADLINES LEYLAND COMET MO-633
Mercury Roadlines Leyland MO-961.jpg
MERCURY ROADLINES LEYLAND MO-961
Mercury Roadlines Ford MO-4183.jpg
MERCURY ROADLINES FORD MO-4183
Mercury Roadlines Albion VK55 MO-4243.jpg
MERCURY ROADLINES ALBION VK55 MO-4243
Mercury Roadlines Commer MO-4442.jpg
MERCURY ROADLINES COMMER MO-4442
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby VIKing » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:12 pm

Wish I could type correctly, the correct number for fleet (2) is MO633 (as in the photo) not MO663.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby alburybuses2 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:32 pm

Thirroul wrote:Thank you for posting these gems REO. Could be my advancing years but, might you resize them so they are more user friendly?


Think we all have that problem, but I find it harder to re-size them to get below the 300 maximum.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby alburybuses2 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:40 pm

busways266 wrote:Would anyone know the location of the Ex kemsey to SWR 1/2 bus / truck . Have actually ridden in it in the 80`s , Was in immaculate condition back then for it age .


There is a collection of Seargent's buses on the BSNSW CDs, I can't put my hand on it at present.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby burrumbus » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:27 pm

Thanks VIKing for the wonderful history on the excellent Everson family owned Mercury Roadlines business.Much appreciated.
Our family came through Kempsey in the school holidays and we parked our vehicle opposite Mercury's old depot in Forth Street.The house is occupied by a family and the shed is occupied by a mechanical repair business.The whole set up is still in excellent shape.
We saw the Cavanagh's service to South West Rocks leave just before 3pm with zero passengers,operated by a Mitsubishi Rosa.
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Re: Mercury Roadlines

Postby macleay » Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:19 am

Have just discovered this site while researching the once owned family business. My father, Hilton Everson was a remarkable man, as he started his business in hard times and valued the support of the residents of the Lower Macleay. He was not a man who boasted about his accomplishments, so the research for this project has unearthed some incredible stories of his passion and drive to provide a much needed transport & bus service. I am in the process of submitting his name for inclusion in the Road Transport Hall of Fame, fingers crossed that the application is accepted. So a big thankyou to those who have added their stories over the years to this forum.
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