The McHarry's Story

 

Buses

The origin of McHarry's Buslines Pty. Ltd. goes back to 1932, when John McHarry (Grandfather of the company's current managing director who is also named John McHarry) was working at the Geelong Plant of the Ford Motor Company of Australia as a master builder. He carried his own employees to the plant in his work truck, and it wasn't very long before he was inundated with requests from the Ford workforce for a ride to work.

 

As there was an obvious demand for a passenger service to Ford, Mr. McHarry decided that it was time to purchase a bus. The Victorian Railways were calling for tenders for the sale of an International bus which they owned and Mr. McHarry was successful in tendering for this. Soon afterward he purchased a second bus; a Republic, to help cater for the heavy demand on the Fords run.

Buses

 

Buses

McHarry's first route service was to Highton, but due to poor patronage it was sold to local identity Hec Drew. In later years this service was bought by Corio Buslines and eventually taken over by Bender's Busways when it took over Corio Buslines.

 

Due to continuing growth of the business, John's son Norman joined him in 1933 and bought his first bus which was also an International. He ran to Ford to assist his father and in the same year a White and a Ford were purchased to cope with the demands of the Ford patronage and the ever increasing popularity of trips to seaside resorts. In 1935, Norman McHarry married and his wife Alice became active in the business and together they built it up with the addition of a Tilling-Stevens in 1936 and two more Fords in 1937 and 1938.

Buses

 

Buses

Tragically, in 1940, company founder John McHarry was killed in an accident at the depot.

 

December 1951 saw the McHarry operation amalgamate with Green Star Passenger Service, which had routes operating to seaside areas, and Corio Buslines, who were operators of the Highton and West Geelong urban routes. The Group became known as Geelong Associated Buslines. In the same year the East Geelong/Breakwater route service was purchased from the Kenny family and it is from this service the Whittington, Breakwater & St. Albans Park extensions were developed to what they are today.

Buses

 

Buses

The company's involvement with Geelong Associated Buslines didn't last long. In 1953 it was decided that the three operators would return to individual operation and that the Lorimer family (Green Star) would continue in the name of Geelong Associated Buslines Pty. Ltd.

 

In the ensuing years, Norman and Alice McHarry were successful with several tenders for Education Department school contract services and in 1965 it was decided that as Corio Buslines had been sold to Bender's it would be prudent to purchase Corio's premises in Catherine Street Geelong West. McHarry's Kooyong Road Depot was beginning to "burst at the seams".

Buses

 

Buses

Fifteen years after parting from Geelong Associated Buslines the McHarry's decided to purchase the operation and in doing so doubled the fleet to 36 vehicles.

 

McHarry's next expanded, doing camping tours into the Outback but after Norman McHarry's untimely death in 1975, it was decided that the company would scale down its touring operations.

Buses

 

Buses

Already in the business for some years, Norman McHarry's son John and daughter Corinne were left to assist Mrs. Alice McHarry in continuing the operation of the family business. Later John's wife Lyn joined the firm to assist in the clerical side.

 

In January 1984, the company purchased the busy East Geelong and West Geelong services as well as nine Education Department school contract services from Trans Otway Ltd. This added another 17 vehicles to the fleet. The company was also able to secure the head lease of the Trans Otway bus terminal in Ryrie Street from which it continued to operate its newly acquired and existing urban services and allowed for the provision of much needed parking space for other vehicles during the day.

Buses

 

Buses

But with the continued expansion of the business, even the addition of the Ryrie Street terminal and depot wasn't sufficient to cope with the growth of the fleet, so it was decided to move the company's 67 buses and 86 employees to a new depot where operational, maintenance and administrative requirements could be concentrated, thus improving the overall efficiency of the company's various activities. The move was made in October 1988 to an 8 acre (3.2 ha) site at Breakwater where there is ample room for further expansion.

 

The move showed a great deal of foresight because in July 2000, the company purchased Bellarine Buslines and Advance Coaches, a further 49 buses increasing its fleet size to 125, now by far the biggest bus company in Geelong. The acquisition meant that it now operates services across the entire Bellarine Peninsula, and the V/Line Passenger Service between Geelong and Apollo Bay, and also Apollo Bay to Colac .

Buses

 

Buses

In addition to the urban services provided under the Geelong Transit System network operation, McHarry's Buslines have services grouped under the title of Bellarine Transit and which co-ordinate with V/Line trains at Geelong and run beyond the urban grid to and from Barwon Heads, Clifton Springs, Drysdale, Ocean Grove, Collendina, Portarlington, Point Lonsdale, Queenscliff, Torquay, Jan Juc, St. Leonards, Indented Head, and the V/Line Service; Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay.

 

In the 1990’s John McHarry’s two children and fourth generation family members Ashley and Lisa McHarry became involved in the business; Lisa in an administrative role, and Ashley first as an apprentice motor mechanic, then Operations Supervisor and currently as General Manager and Director.

Buses

 

Breakwater Depot

McHarry’s now operate over 150 buses and will remain a proud family owned and operated business for many years to come.

McHarry's Employees

 

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McHarry's is the regions biggest charter company, and offers charters at competitive rates. See our Charter Page for more information.