End of the Road: BAC's Departing Bus Drivers

"I remember having it drummed into me by my parents when I was a kid that I should always thank the bus driver. It was considered discourteous not to say 'hello' as we hopped on the bus and 'thank you' as we hopped off. And now, four of our very own bus drivers are officially hopping off the BAC bus." — Mr Charleson.

The folk who safely deliver children to and from school are, quite literally, a “driving force” at BAC. However, the end of this year will see three of our most seasoned drivers pulling over and switching off their engines to embark on a well-deserved retirement. One of those will be our Bus Manager Tony Whyatt, who leaves after 27 years of service. His wife Suzanne is also leaving.

However, at the end of last term, two other bus drivers slipped away through the back door and zoomed off in a cloud of dust. We’re already missing Mrs Ellson and Mrs Louwen, who dedicated many years to helping BAC avoid the proverbial and real potholes, and run smoothly and efficiently. (Mrs Ellson served 44 years and Mrs Louwen, 25 years.)

You could say that bus drivers are like the oil that greases the wheels. Humble, and appearing mainly at the edges of all the action, they possess a wealth of insight accumulated from years of serving and observing. We entrust them with the safekeeping of our children, but also to keep our classrooms full and enable our school to offer enriching extracurricular and co-curricular activities that enhance our programs and fulfill our mission.

Our retirees

  1. Bus Manager Tony Whyatt will be leaving on August 4 after serving Brisbane Adventist College for an impressive 27 years. In that time, he has filled several roles, including IT Support, Maintenance and Support Services Management. He leaves with wife and fellow bus driver Suzanne Whyatt for 20 weeks of long service leave, after which he will head directly into retirement without passing GO. Tony was instrumental in implementing the College bus app, which has alleviated anxiety and provided information to make drop offs and pick ups for parents much easier.
  2. Maureen Ellson is one of BAC’s longest-serving employees. Throughout her 44-year tenure, Maureen has consistently driven buses; however, she has also taken on responsibilities in managing cleaning and tuckshop during periods where her reliability, hard work, and common sense approach have been invaluable.
  3. Karen Louwen drove BAC buses for almost 25 years and some would say that she found it a little difficult to relinquish BAC's "best bus” at the end of last term. However retirement won out and she will enjoy some travel and the realities of not getting up early every morning!
  4. Suzanne Whyatt stepped in during the COVID-19 pandemic when our older and more vulnerable drivers hung up their bus keys. Initially a temporary, fill-in role, Suzanne now says that she will really miss it!

If you’ve ever visited the office at the Bus Shed, you’ll know that it’s a lively gathering place, filled with camaraderie and flying anecdotes. Stepping inside, you'll be instantly offered a hot beverage, a seat, and a joke. Despite the limited space, the atmosphere always exudes warmth and genuine love for our school and community. Beware, though, they have been known to hold trespassers captive and terrorise them with their antics, pranks, and witty word play!

Please take a few minutes in the next two weeks to farewell the Whyatts, and over the coming months, catch up with Mrs Ellson and Mrs Louwen for a hot beverage and a bickie. Fill them in on what's been happening since they last set foot on campus.

To our retiring and current bus drivers, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for your dedicated service and convey how high we hold you in esteem for your invaluable contribution to BAC.

By Debbie Cosier, BAC Communications and Marketing