Christian’s Bus Co operates a fleet of about 160 vehicles out of seven depots across Ararat, Beaufort, Bendigo, Colac, Ocean Grove, Terang and Warrnambool.
Rewind the clock back 100 years, William Christian had bought out his partner Whitson to operate solely as a blacksmith, wheelwright and funeral director in Mortlake, southwest Victoria.
With the advent of the motorcar, the business grew and the company evolved into a motorcar trader with a large mechanical repair and metal engineering workshop.
During the 1950s under management by William’s three sons – William, John and Frank – the company held the franchise for BMC and International Harvester.
In 1962, the company obtained the GMH franchise and during the next 20 years the dealership network was expanded to the nearby towns of Terang and Camperdown.
In 1981 the company, managed by Barry and Glenn Christian (sons of John Christian), purchased five school services in Terang. Two years later five more school services were acquired in Warrnambool and since then, Christians Bus Co have invested extensively in developing a tour and charter operation.
A major refocussing of the company occurred in 1995 when Christians Bus Co purchased the Bendigo-based School, Urban Transit and V/Line services of Kangaroo Flat Bus Lines.
This acquisition meant that Christians Bus Co was now involved in all the major aspects of the bus industry – urban transit, school services, V/Line, charter, tours and hire and drive.
The Ocean Grove depot organises extended tours to various destinations throughout Australia and overseas through its wholly-owned Helloworld travel agency on The Terrace.
There are some public tours coming up to Mt Gambier and Robe, the Victorian High Country and the Silo Art Trail, just to name a few.
Overall the company carries more than one million passengers per annum and is still owned and managed within the family.
For more information on Christians Bus Co and its services, head to christiansbus.com.au.