The women who set the wheels in motion for female Sydney bus drivers
Sitting behind the wheel of a double-decker service from Wynyard to Palm Beach in the Spring of 1970, June Lusk became the first female Sydney bus driver as soon as she exited the Brookvale depot.
November 27 marked 50 years since Mrs. Lusk, now aged 91, made her mark on the traditionally male-dominated industry and opened the doors for over 400 women driving Sydney’s buses today. These 400-plus drivers make up only 5% of the driving force, but there are hundreds more women engaged in related roles across the city,
State Transit Authority’s first female chief executive, Daniela Fontana, says that “…for years, women were employed as conductresses and cleaners but driving was a male dominated industry and many of their applications to get behind the wheel were rejected…”
Lorna Hutchings, the first female bus driver at Burwood depot, also started driving buses around this time.
“Walking down the stairs at Burwood depot, they were all looking at me and I thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ But I loved the job and I’ve made some great friends in the industry over the years.” Mrs. Hutchings says.