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In 1929 the White Motor Corporation of Ohio, USA, introduced a double drop frame coach chassis, with a 6-cylinder petrol engine and 250 inch wheelbase. The local Australian dealer, Dalgety & Co, had to have NSW road regulations relaxed before the trial 54A could be introduced – at that time, it was much larger and more powerful than any previous bus in service in Australia. It was fitted with Westinghouse air brakes, one of the earliest applications on a road vehicle in Australia. The brake system was derived from railway technology.
The prototype chassis arrived in Australia on 28 January 1930 and was sent to Walsh Island Dockyard in Newcastle, where they produced the first all-metal bus body constructed in Australia. On April 15th 1930, the bus entered service for Mr Michael Fitzgibbon, who operated Route 42 between Campsie and the City under the name ‘Deluxe Bus Service’.
Three additional White 54A chassis arrived in Australia on March 22nd 1930, also for Fitzgibbon’s Deluxe Bus Service. These were bodied identically to the prototype at Walsh Island.
The Whites served on Route 42 until October 31 1931, when legislation preventing the operation of bus services in competition to NSW government tram and rail services became effective. The vehicles were placed into storage for five years until March 1st 1937, when the Department of Raod Transport & Tramways purchased all four of the White 54A buses from Fitzgibbon.
The bus was registered m/o 1500 by the DRTT, and operated until February 1939 when it was sold to Rover Motors, Cessnock.
It later passed to Quodling Brothers, Queanbeyan who recognised the significance of the bus and donated it to the Museum’s predecessor organisation in the mid 1960s.
The vehicle is in the middle of a thorough cosmetic restoration being carried out by our volunteers.
White six-cylinder overhead valve petrol engine, bore 4.375”, stroke 5.570”, 519 cubic inch displacement with dual spark ignition developing 130 brake horsepower at 1200 rpm.
Four speed sliding type ‘crash’ gearbox to a crown wheel and pinion differential.
Westinghouse air brakes to all four wheels, mechanical hand brake to rear wheels.