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Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

Postby Bedford-29 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:02 pm

Here is a picture that might interest you a Leader with a Hedges Star Liner body there another Leader bus that was kicking around Geelong many years ago.Picture from the Leon Batman collection. http://www.busaustralia.com/gallery/dis ... pos=-15202
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

Postby Denv12 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:12 am

Some adverts for Domino Industries.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

Postby Denv12 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:56 pm

system improver wrote:It would appear the Athol Hedges was born around 1915 and lived in NSW. He moved to Brisbane some time in the late 30s and worked at Hornibrook Highway Bus Service and was involved in the construction of their home made buses. By 1947, he was in business for himself and was building buses for the BCC and private operators (including Hornibrook). He entered into an agreement with Comeng in 1950 to become an "associated company" where sharing of work and matters such as production, design and collective purchasing were undertaken through the group. Royalties were paid to Comeng and although a contract may have had the Comeng name on it, the work was outsourced to the associated company. This arrangement worked better in some states than others, with Athol Hedges being the most successful, at least in terms of buses built. It is why some Hedges designs up to mid 60s looked very much like Comeng buses, particularly the fronts. In the 60s, his premises were at 343 Melton Road Northgate. Here is a pic I took in January 1968:
Image

In the early 70s, Athol Hedges formed a partnership with Domino Industries (whoever they were). The rest comes from Wiki:
"It was later renamed....Domino before becoming Austral in 1982 when purchased by the Australian Manufacturing Group. It originally bodied buses diversifying into integral buses and coaches (body and chassis) in the 1970s.

In December 1988 Austral was sold to Jaguar Rover Australia who also owned Denning, Austral's largest rival in the coach market. Both continued to operate separately until 1990 when the Denning plant in Acacia Ridge was closed and production transferred to the Austral factory.

From 1992, the combined business was rebranded as Austral Denning. In July 1996, along with Jaguar Rover Australia's other bus bodybuilding operations, it was sold to the Clifford Corporation and rebranded Austral Pacific. This resulted in Ansair Orana Volvo B10BLE buses being bodied at Geebung for Brisbane Transport. Following the collapse of Clifford Corporation, the plant closed in November 1998."


This Melton factory would have been small for a bus and coach factory.They wouldnt get many in there.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

Postby Maladjusted » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:59 pm

That was only the shed fronting Melton Rd, there were more behind that one.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

Postby Denv12 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:20 am

Maladjusted wrote:That was only the shed fronting Melton Rd, there were more behind that one.


I'll take at look at Google maps,I missed the rest.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

Postby Hornibrook » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:42 am

Was about to say they built 205 Panthers within about two years, so it must've been reasonably big!
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.

Postby Denv12 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:56 am

dominodc122 wrote:...and yet more...
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looks to be the same workshop premises in later years...?
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Deluxe were a major operator of Domino /Austral Domino DC122s



The photo with the 2 Deluxe Tourmasters facing in opposite directions,what roadhouse was that taken at? It looks familiar?
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:03 am

Here is a variety of photos and adverts.Can anyone else contribute history?
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Car177 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:24 pm

Athol Hedges did his apprenticeship with W.S. Grice of Summer Hill, NSW, who may have been a relative, he later worked for Charles Hope in Brisbane, at sometime during the war he set up a business at Eve Street Sandgate manufacturing Gas producers, at the end of the war he was involved in building two buses for HHBS, No24 a semi trailer bus which was built in Hornibrook's large shed in Rainbow Street and No 16 a LHD White WA20 which was built at the Eve Street premises, I doubt if Hedges was ever an employee of Hornibrook's, the buses HHBS built were composite, wood frame, tongue and groove roofs covered with malthoid and canvas, with steel sheeted sides, Hedges worked in steel.I wonder how much of the structure of these two buses came from Comeng which was a company set up by the government to produces bodies for all, read Hartnetts "Big Wheels, Little Wheels".
Hedges didnt supply any more buses to HHBS until 1956 with the delivery of two Leyland Comets with regular sales of buses to them thereafter, in the period between 1945-56 buses were built for HHBS by themselves,CAC, Charles Hope and F.H. Shuttlewood.
Hedges set up Athol Hedges P/L circa 1947 with a move to Earnshaw Road, Northgate with a later move to 343 Melton Road, Northgate.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 5:55 am

Car177 wrote:Athol Hedges did his apprenticeship with W.S. Grice of Summer Hill, NSW, who may have been a relative, he later worked for Charles Hope in Brisbane, at sometime during the war he set up a business at Eve Street Sandgate manufacturing Gas producers, at the end of the war he was involved in building two buses for HHBS, No24 a semi trailer bus which was built in Hornibrook's large shed in Rainbow Street and No 16 a LHD White WA20 which was built at the Eve Street premises, I doubt if Hedges was ever an employee of Hornibrook's, the buses HHBS built were composite, wood frame, tongue and groove roofs covered with malthoid and canvas, with steel sheeted sides, Hedges worked in steel.I wonder how much of the structure of these two buses came from Comeng which was a company set up by the government to produces bodies for all, read Hartnetts "Big Wheels, Little Wheels".
Hedges didnt supply any more buses to HHBS until 1956 with the delivery of two Leyland Comets with regular sales of buses to them thereafter, in the period between 1945-56 buses were built for HHBS by themselves,CAC, Charles Hope and F.H. Shuttlewood.
Hedges set up Athol Hedges P/L circa 1947 with a move to Earnshaw Road, Northgate with a later move to 343 Melton Road, Northgate.


Thank you for adding history here.There's a potential for a book here.I added a post on the book idea:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=76724
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Hornibrook » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:45 am

There's no doubt that at the very least there will be a very informative article on Athol Hedges - as there are copies of a recorded interview with him that the Transport Researchers conducted before he passed.

It will certainly clear up a lot of opinions about how he started and whether it was or wasn't for Hornibrook.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby dominodc122 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:14 pm

...time for TRAX /TRUX to do a production run of Domino Tourmaster die cast models...god knows they were as prolific as Denning Mono's and with a multitude of liveries...
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:23 am

dominodc122 wrote:...time for TRAX /TRUX to do a production run of Domino Tourmaster die cast models...god knows they were as prolific as Denning Mono's and with a multitude of liveries...


I'd be in that.Add me to that list.Needs a new topic posted on them to see who would by them then send them the link so they can see how popular they are and to go ahead and make them.As for which coach companies they should be in lets start making a list.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:03 am

dominodc122 wrote:...time for TRAX /TRUX to do a production run of Domino Tourmaster die cast models...god knows they were as prolific as Denning Mono's and with a multitude of liveries...


The only way to get "Trux" interested in the idea is if we prove to them there's enough demand for them.For that very reasons I started up the post on that exact topic.If anyone would be interested in buying "Trux" Domino and Austral Tourmasters and other bus and coach models they should read and contribute to my post.See the link below:
viewtopic.php?f=44&t=76738
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:04 pm

Some for adverts.And more to add.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:53 pm

I'm still looking for more.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby dominodc122 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:03 am

...Not sure where the 'TourMaster' name came from...but here are images of the decal evolution...

...70s Domino slab front (aka Tourmaster 1) with early 'TM' sticker..
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...Domino TourMaster 3...which became the basis of all series 2 thru 5 units
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...Austral involvement added the 'TourMaster' alloy badge as standard above both front side window
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(it is also interesting to note, that the model type ...DC122...does not appear on the makers data plate inside the passenger front door!?)
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby OpsMan » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:15 pm

Here's one of the Tourmaster 3's bought by Sundowner Scenic Tours in 1985 (?) a couple of days after it arrived. Dad was asked to do a Charter on a Sunday (which upset a few of the others considering he didn't actually work there!!)
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Chip Athol Hedges » Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:57 am

I am Athol Hedges son, Chip Athol. It was interesting to see so much interest in Dad's buses. I have a heap of pictures and stories related to Athol Hedges Pty Ltd. Some of Dad"s photos go back to his apprenticeship days. I have a copy of Athol being interviewed by Steven Tyrrell and Eddie Geoff of the Transport Historical Society? on 15 September 1982. I think you guys mention them in your posts. I'm not about to start posting heaps of stuff but I'm happy to talk to your moderator personally about how to take this further. chiphedges@gmail.com
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:30 am

OpsMan wrote:Here's one of the Tourmaster 3's bought by Sundowner Scenic Tours in 1985 (?) a couple of days after it arrived. Dad was asked to do a Charter on a Sunday (which upset a few of the others considering he didn't actually work there!!)

Hi Chip. Thanks for posting here. Just something to think about,if you could share your knowledge with the right people who could then put a book together I'm sure you would get a few buyers here on this forum. This history of your dad's company and how it evolved is of interest to us. Thanks.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby csrbd » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:30 am

Great work guys.... Would love to see the same idea with history of PMC
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby Denv12 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:10 am

csrbd wrote:Great work guys.... Would love to see the same idea with history of PMC


I posted a couple of topics here in regards to PMC Adelaide:

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=81507
These are my earlier posts:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=73886
viewtopic.php?f=45&t=77389
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby boronia » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:07 pm

Just dug up this thread while looking for some info on Hedges and Domino.

Although it's primarily about buses, it was mentioned that they also built fire trucks.

What was unusual was that Hedges combined the two to create hybrids like this:
01 Domino 1974 (Small).jpg
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About a dozen of these were built for various Qld brigades on Ford R bus chassis, and utilized bodies made almost entirely of fibreglass. Production started around 1970 and carried over into the Domino era.

Fast forward to 1990, and Austral designed a new fire truck using a similar "walk in" bus cab design, but using Tourmaster technology to create and integral vehicle.
04 proto 1 (Small).jpg


Production of these continued until the fold up of 1998, and the design was taken over by Varley Engineering of Newcastle.
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby boronia » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:13 pm

The Sydney Classic and Antique Truck (and Bus) Show
On again May 2018
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Re: Athol Hedges to Austral-Denning:a history.Part 1.

Postby CCCC » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:24 pm




Good find .
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