C.59351 (also known as “Matilda”) is a 1949 AEC Regal III, with body by Commonwealth Engineering, which has been fully restored to original condition by ACTION engineers. It is one of two vehicles in ACTION’s Heritage Fleet.

Photo by Peter Kane

The bus was originally registered within the C.59351 to C.59362 series. As its original registration could not be confirmed, it was notionally assigned the first number of its sub-class. Its official registration was HIS-611 (ACT Historic Vehicle 611), although it is currently unregistered.

The AEC Regal was originally delivered to the Department of Interior, which ran the then Canberra City Omnibus Service in 1949, where it spent the next ten years.

It was sold in 1959, having been replaced by an AEC Reliance. It was purchased by Ron Prior of Batemans Bay, who utilised it on a service from the Bay to Moruya and later between Batehaven and Batemans Bay Primary School, registered as MO 978.

In 1977 the bus was purchased by Colin Gray of Schofield NSW, who intended to restore the bus to its original condition. That dream went unfulfilled until ACTION purchased the bus in June 1979.

Matilda called Woden Depot her home for many years, but was relocated to Fyshwick in July 2017.

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