Originally purchased by Stonestreets in the late 1990’s to add to the fleet for our very first project contract for Bechtel at the Millmerran Power Station, No 21 is a 1987 model, L10 mid mount Cummins. The vehicle was originally fitted with a 7 speed box, which has since been replaced with an Alison auto.
It was considered one of the luxury vehicles on the Millmerran project when compared with other buses on this job including 1978, 1979 and 1980 Bedfords.
Following the completion of the Millmerran project, Stonestreets was awarded a LNG contract in Darwin by Bechtel. No 21 was then fitted with air conditioning, new seats and mobilised to this project. After a time in Darwin it returned to Toowoomba to serve as a School bus.
Many of our long term drivers hold fond memories of their times with No 21, some stating that the 6 speed manual with gear selections back to front, and a quick release maxi brake operated by small lever made hill starts quite interesting.
Driver Andrew recounted a story of a school run to Westbrook which required a reverse manoeuver. "All seemed to be going well until I realised that the 21 would not move forward. On closer inspection, I discovered that with a full busload of students, I had managed to beach the back half in a ditch. All I could do was to ask the kids to get off so that I could get the thing back on the road. This operation worked and I was back on the roads. The students were grateful for the entertainment that had been provided to the extent that I was asked if I would do the same thing again the next day. The 21 and I did manage to get them to school on time with no damage to the vehicle, just my pride."
Bus 21 has now been given a new lease on life and a new purpose with new owner, Bernie and her family who plan on using it to travel Australia. We look forward to hearing about the next adventures of our trusty Bus No 21.