10 November 1923, Thomas Dion was given approval from Wollongong Council to start the Wollongong and Balgownie service. Service to Bellambi soon followed.
Services in the 1920s were expanded – a share with four other operators on the Wollongong Austinmer route from January 1928 and a daily return parlour coach service from Port Kembla and Wollongong to Sydney – started December 1927.
Using a Model T Ford, the family enterprise grew with Tom’s brothers Edward (Ted), Charles (Barney), Arthur, Ernest (Ernie) and Leslie (Les).
Barney Dion established the first bus service between Wollongong and Kiama.
In 1931 the State Government eliminated the Sydney route which competed against the government railway services. The Balgownie, Bellambi and Tarrawanna routes were sold off in the late 1940s.
During the late 1920s and through the 1930s, numerous bus types included Brockway, Chevrolet, Fageol, Ford, Garford, Graham Dodge, Studebaker, Whippet, Overland and White.
In the mid-1940s, Dion Bros Bus Partnership (comprising Tom Dion, his sister Rose, and brothers Ted, Barney, Ernie and Les) operated the Austinmer and Kiama routes and a number of workers’ specials that served distinct coal mines and the Port Kembla steelworks.
In the 1950s, the Dion fleet mainly consisted of new and second-hand Bedford and Leyland single-deckers, together with a Comeng-bodied Leyland OPD/1 double-decker purchased new in 1948.
In the late 1950s, Jim Hill acquired the businesses of Agnew, Henson and Charlie Price and Dion’s acquired the operation of the late Jack Price’s in 1964. Hill and Dion became the joint operators on the Austinmer run from 1964 until 1976 when Dion’s became the sole operator on the Austinmer route after acquiring Hill’s remaining share of the route.
In December 1976, they ceded the operation of the Wollongong – Kiama route to John J Hill’s bus service.
The 1980s saw the start of retirement of the Dion brothers.
Until the late 1980s, Dions was still managed by elderly members of the first generation. The service operated seven days per week but with no evening services. The fleet comprised 13 vehicles of mixed heritage, the most recent being former Sydney government Leyland Leopards dating from the early 1970s.
Until the purchase of second-hand AECs and Leylands in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dion’s 16-bus fleet comprised mainly Leyland Comets, many with Syd Wood-style bodies built in Dion’s depot workshop.
In 1988 a new company, Seapost Pty Ltd, was formed with second generation Dion family members to conduct the bus service. In 1989, two Hinos with 55-seat PMC 160 body featuring air-conditioning and new livery, the first new buses in over 40 years, were delivered.
Today, Dion’s Bus Services operates a fleet of 15 buses with over 50% being low floor accessible buses with air conditioning. Dion’s employs 32 professional and dedicated drivers, mechanics and administrative staff.
A selection of photos taken from the albums of Charles (Barney) Dion.FIND OUT MORE
80th Birthday Celebrations
Photos from our 80th birthday celebrations held in 2003.FIND OUT MORE
A selection of photos from the archives to celebrate our 90th Anniversary.FIND OUT MORE