The Sydney Bus & Truck Museum Limited is a company limited by guarantee which was formed to operate the Museum as a Public Museum. The Company is registered as a charity and can receive tax deductible donations.
To operate a not-for-profit museum and education centre for public benefit, that acquires, preserves, interprets, displays and operates historic public transport vehicles, public commercial vehicles and historic transport relics.
To, for the sole benefit or promotion of the museum:
- Engage in any lawful fund raising activities
- Operate passenger buses under all relevant acts and regulations
- Produce and/or sell any matter or thing relating to historic buses or commercial vehicles
In recognition of the earlier activities, the State Government in 1986 made available the former Tempe tram depot to the Museum. The purpose was to establish a working museum, storage and work site, so that buses and trucks could be restored. The threat that many elderly exhibits would simply rust away has been removed. The Museum was opened to the public in late 1986. Thus the Sydney Bus Museum was born and immediately became a community organization. The exhibits housed at Tempe are a unique collection of our history and the concept is truly a hands on working museum.
There are over 90 vehicular exhibits at the museum. A majority are positioned for public viewing and many are in running condition. The oldest bus is a 1924 Ruggles and the oldest truck is a 1914 Leyland RAF. The newest bus is a 1983 Mercedes Benz O305 and the newest truck is a 1975 Leyland Buffalo. A number of exhibits are also stored offsite. There is also a large number of non-vehicular exhibits relating to public and commercial vehicles at the Museum. Our Archives hold many historic documents and other items which help interpret our vehicular exhibits. The acquisition, restoration and disposal of exhibits is controlled to ensure that our public and commercial vehicle heritage will be secure long into the future.
Tempe Tram Depot History
The Museum is housed in the former Tempe tram depot. In 1912 the population of the southern suburbs of Sydney expanded rapidly and the existing tramways could not keep up with the demand. In September of that year that a tram depot was opened at the site. During its operational life, the ‘castle like’ structure of Tempe tram depot housed over a hundred tramcars. It is a fine example of Edwardian industrial architecture. The depot’s trams plied over the Cooks River Line (just to south of the tram depot), the Earlwood Line, the line to Dulwich Hill and the Canterbury line. All these lines converged at Newtown bridge and then to the City and Circular Quay via Broadway, Pitt, Hay, Castlereagh Streets. These services were known as the “Green Lines” as the destination signs for these services were green. Tempe Depot operated until November 1954 when all the remaining trams were transferred to Newtown Depot. The area at the front of the depot building was converted to a bus depot by September 1957. Trams ceased to run from on the “Green Lines” 28th September 1957. Tempe Depot, which had a fleet of 41 buses, closed as an operating depot in January 1992. Such an old building requires regular maintenance, particularly the roof, which has seen better days. A great deal of money has been expended and the need for support in this area will continue.
Using preserved vehicles
The Museum operates its vehicles at various community functions including:
- open days at bus depots and workshops of the State Transit Authority and its antecedent bodies,
- vintage bus services for the Sydney Festival Committee, Australia Day Council, Powerhouse Museum and the N.R.M.A,
- schools and community festivals,
- vintage bus rides at the Sydney Bus Museum.