HAND, Bill and Doreen

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Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2008.

Bill and Doreen Hand of Sydney operated Sundowner Coach Tours from May, 1964 to December, 1994.  After a holday in the outback they saw the potential for tourism, bought a second-hand bus and found a market in Sydney for safari travellers to outback central Australia.

Both obtained passenger-vehicle licences.  Bill had the mechanical knowledge from working with aircraft during WW11 and later owned a Toyota dealership.  Doreen had office experience and worked with youth groups in various capacities.

After the first year the routes were expanded as the passengers wanted to repeat the experience, see new places, and they brought their friends along.  It also gave the Hands the courage to order a Leyland-powered Denning coach and over the years upgraded to the ultimate Denning bogie-drive Allison Automatic powered by a 8V92 Detroit.  This was the vehicle they used to cross the Simpson Desert in 1984.  They built their home in Sydney in 1959 and, to comply with various NSW state Government regulations, modified a room downstairs in 1965 for an office.

This enabled the Hands to interview prospective clients as safari travel was a new venture and they wanted compatible groups.  They later became registered Travel Agents and Doreen was awarded a Certificate of Transport Management (Bus and Coach) from the University of Sydney.

As their reputation grew in Sydney they were asked to conduct a number of specialized tours  for study groups including geologists, photographers and botantists which expanded their knowledge of the countryside.

In retirement Bill wrote a book, published in 2004, called appropriately "Bill's Story and It's Not All Bulldust", of his memories of outback roads and characters.  They still love travelling to far off places and experiencing different cultures and locations.