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Year: 2018

EDWARD LEO WOOLARD (Eddie) was born in Carlton Melbourne in September 1937. At just 19 years of age he got a job driving with Arthur Cocks & Co. Driving a brand new VW Kombi van Eddie worked delivering wholesale optical and fancy goods on a daily pickup and delivery to Melbourne suburbs.

In November of 1958 Eddie acquired a forward control heavy vehicle licence in an Albion Bus and went working for Jack Ryan, one of a number of owners operating the route service for Moreland Bus Lines. Whilst there Eddie drove Federals, Reos and a Freighter Lawton bodied Commer Knocker with motor mid mounted. In the 60s the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board acquired Box Hill Bus Lines which was owned by Percy Withers. Eddie went to the Doncaster depot and started as a one man bus operator. The fleet of Bedfords, Austins and similar were eventually replaced with AEC half cabs.

After four years there he started driving for Plummers doing charters and school work in a freighter bodied SB Bedford and a VAM Bedford. In 1968 Eddie started with Ansett Pioneer doing day tours and express in Melbourne. He went on to work for Pioneer for 18 years covering most of the mainland. One highlight was to drive the first coach in the official cavalcade across the West Gate Bridge on its official opening.

In 1986 Eddie started and operated Prestige Coaches in a 33 seat 1316 Mercedes coach built by Howard Porter. He operated day and extended tours around Australia using a travel club as his customer base. Combining with Melbourne Sightseeing, he and Ian McMillan started doing public day tours in Melbourne and were bought out by Australian Pacific Coaches. In 1994 Eddie moved to Brisbane to work for Sunstate Charters with Fred Carah and Gordon McNichol. They also serviced NSW Rail Countrylink contracts.

Eddie's last tour was across the Nullarbor from Perth in 2007 completing over 50 years of driving, 49 on the buses! Eddie is still roaming the roads of Australia as a grey nomad.

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