Making the transition from full-time bus driver to a part-time lawn bowler has been seamless for Anna Bay’s Steve Cruickshank, who retired in November after nearly 50 years as a professional heavy vehicle driver.
Mr Cruickshank, who was given a fitting farewell by his colleagues at Port Stephens Coaches where he had spent the past 22 years of his career, said while it was sad to be leaving the industry he had many happy memories.
“I will definitely miss the people of Port Stephens who I have come into contact with over the past 22 years and I appreciate all the well-wishes I have received since retirement,” he said.
“But I have a new-found interest in lawn bowls. I have actually been a member at Soldiers Point Bowling Club for some 20 years but I can now re-focus my attention on the sport and begin playing pennants again.”
Having grown up in Bobs Farm, Mr Cruickshank left home at 17 to pursue his dream, telling his parents he wanted to travel Australia.
His first job was driving trucks in Victoria but he returned to NSW six years later to commence driving buses, firstly with Delux Coachlines, followed by Blue Ribbon Coaches and Sid Fogg’s prior to PS Coaches.
“I’d like to say that I’ve seen a lot of Australia through the windscreen of a coach, including Tasmania, the Daintree, Mt Isa and Darwin, but by far the most spectacular sight is the Great Australian Bight.
“My longest single journey was a 54-day around Australia trip and there were other long distance drives where you really had to keep your wits about yourself. You have a huge responsibility for your passengers.”
The pinnacle in Mr Cruickshank’s career came in 2013 when he took out the Bus and Coach Association's Outer Metropolitan Bus Driver of the Year award.
"It was a great honour to win that award and I owe a lot to the management and staff at Port Stephens Coaches for their great support.”
Mr Cruickshank, who has one daughter and two grandchildren, said a career as a transport driver had taken a toll on family life. “Now that I am retired I can enjoy more time with family and pursue my other passion, lawn bowls.”