The Business has operated as a local company for over 60 years. It has grown from two buses to more than 80. Founded by local man Tom Hadfield in 1939 at Eastern Beach, the company was originally called Eastern Buses. The company moved to Bucklands Beach 12 months later. Tom Hadfield died in 1952 but his legacy remained. And with each passing year, the company continued to grow. In 1962 Eastern Buses took over Howick Buses and the combined fleet numbered 21.
Three generations have put their stamp on the family business. Tom’s daughter Audrey Dalbeth, her husband Lionel and their son Bill have all worked for the company. Audrey has been Company Director since 1963. Bill was made Company Manager in 1994.
Audrey says her father was a kind and reasonable man who listened to people. The late Jack Wells who managed the business from 1955 to 1995 agrees. He fondly remembered the late Tom Hadfield as a likeable man who worked hard. “Tom was very much a straight shooter. He would never ask you to do something that he wouldn’t do himself. He himself had risen through the ranks.”
Bill says that today’s success has come from a lot of hard work over 60 years, the ability to look forward and the burgeoning of the south east area. Jack managed the company from 1955.
In 2008 the Dalbeth family sold the business, which by then had grown to 130 buses, to Scots transport tycoon Sir Brian Souter of Souter Holdings Limited. The business continues to be run as an independent company.