Spencer Charles Ross was born in November, 1949 in Burwood, New South Wales. His interest in transport began at an early age when he was taken by his grandmother to the Auburn Railway Station to watch the buses and trains. Following school, Spencer began a career in retail management with G.J. Coles & Coy Ltd. before transferring to New World Supermarkets.
However, an ever-growing interest in transport led Spencer to purchase a refrigerated truck in 1971, establishing Manning Valley Refrigerated Transport. He offered daytime delivery schedules for the New South Wales Mid North Coast. Based in Wingham, the fleet grew to six trucks operating out of Sydney and Newcastle and delivering to towns between Forster and Coffs Harbour.
After four years the Sydney service and Manning Valley Refrigerated Transport name were sold, including three trucks. The Newcastle service was retained and operated as S.C. & F. Ross Refrigerated Transport until sold in late 1978. The fleet included a variety of Dodge, International, Leyland, Morris and Toyota vehicles.
Spencer’s interest in the private bus industry beckoned and Johnson’s Motor Service at Edgeworth was purchased in December 1978 following encouragement from close friend and private bus service operator, Ken Butt. Thus, Ross Bus Service and Ross Coaches began and operated until 1984 when Sugar Valley Coachlines evolved, together with a livery change. The service provided daily route services between West Wallsend and Wallsend, industrial services to the BHP Steelworks, school bus services and charter tours. Single, double deck buses and coaches were in service ranging from AEC, Albion, Austin, Bedford, Ford, GM-Scenicruiser, IBC, International, Hino, Leyland, MAN, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, RFW, Scania, to Toyota and UD. After 20 years, the firm was sold to Toronto Bus Service in March 1998.
Spencer has continued his involvement in the bus industry, helping to form Bus Stop New South Wales: assisting with bus operations at the 2000 Sydney Olympics: becoming an Executive representative on the Bus & Coach Association of New South Wales: establishing and managing Newcastle City Council’s NightLink service and working within historical and community associations. Inducted in 2021