Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2012.
Alison (Aly) Coop's involvement with the coach industry started in March 1975 while on a crew training trip with Centralian Staff Pty Ltd. She planned to become a safari cook. An Easter tour to Andamooka soon followed and before long she joined the legendary Kevin (KB) Bryant on his tours travelling widely throughout Northern and Central Australia including to iconic locations such as Alice Springs, Darwin, Coober Pedy, Ayers Rock (now Uluru), Birdsville, Oodnadatta and the West Coast of Australia. KB’s buses were all called Elma and Aly was involved with the company in various capacities between 1975 and 1983 initially serving in ‘Elma 1’ an Albion Viking VK 41) through to ‘Elma 5’ a Denning bogie drive.
Alison well remembers the challenges of travelling the Stuart Highway (the North South Highway) in those days. It was always a memorable trip. One highlight for Alison’s passengers was the traditional roast dinner at Ayers Rock which was cooked over an open fire with trays of golden roast spuds.
Alison was in the Albion, on the company’s attempted East-West transcontinental crossing in September 1975 travelling from Byron Bay, NSW to Steep Point, WA via the Gunbarrel Highway through Carnegie. Unfortunately localised storms adversely affected road conditions causing havoc and the tour was diverted after they became stranded near the Blackstone Ranges. Further delays occurred at Meeberrie in WA (Murchison Shire) and the shire grader had to be called in to tow them through. The tour missed the Mayoral Welcome in Carnarvon and didn’t reach Steep Point.
Alison obtained her heavy rigid licence and passenger certificate in 1981and often drove the Denning on tour when a ‘two-up’ or second driver was required. She was also tour driver and hostess with a Canadian Group in 1982 during the Commonwealth Games and in 1983 drove a Western Australian 16 day camper tour.
Later, Alison worked for Casey's Coaches driving school buses, usually Bedfords and Hinos before returning to work for Mobile Production Facilities Pty Ltd with Kevin Bryant again. She drove on many film and television productions around the country. After Kevin's death Alison also assisted with vehicle maintenance.
In 2010 Alison, a member of the Australian Long Distance Experienced Coach Crew organisation, retired to wander this vast country, visiting places and friends from her touring days. We are thrilled to often have her visit us here at the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.
“Touring was a way of life when driving the dirt roads. ‘The Track’ was an adventure in an era which gave so much and is now recalled around camp fires as past outback experiences and characters dance among the shadows to envelop our souls.”