Tom Berry passed away on September 16 at the age of 100. He is pictured here in 2010.
Tom Berry passed away on September 16 at the age of 100. He is pictured here in 2010.

Ipswich icon, bus industry stalwart passes away

AN Ipswich icon who lived the way he and his wife of 73 years “had always wanted” passed away peacefully with the love of his life by his side.

Tom Berry, who turned 100 last month, was the longtime owner of Amberley-Rosewood Bus Company, which is now called Highway Coaches.

He passed away with wife June by his side on September 16.

Thomas Joseph Berry was born on August 1, 1920
Thomas Joseph Berry was born on August 1, 1920

Mr Berry spent all of his life in Ipswich and only retired at the age of 94, with his long tenure in the industry making him a familiar faces for generations of locals.

Thomas Joseph Berry was born on August 1, 1920 to parents Elsie and Joseph as the eldest of six children.

He attended West Ipswich Primary School but didn’t enjoy being in the classroom and would regularly run back home and hide under the house.

This forced his mum to turn the hose on him until he came out so she could march him straight back to school.

A photo of Tom Berry from 1939.
A photo of Tom Berry from 1939.

Mr Berry started work at the Woollen Mills but hated it.

By the time he was 18, he worked for Beaumont Bus Services as a diesel motor mechanic before moving on to the Amberley-Rosewood Bus Company.

It was behind the wheel where he met his future wife June.

He gave her free fares and she would pretend to pay the fee.

They would be married in 1947 and lived in Eastern Heights where they raised four children; Annette, twins Bruce and Gordon and Kaye.

Tom Berry celebrated his 100th birthday in August.
Tom Berry celebrated his 100th birthday in August.

The family shared many weekends together playing tennis, boating, fishing and crabbing.

Mr Berry’s biggest passion was tennis and he passed that on to his children but they didn’t all share his dream.

When the kids were old enough, they took turns going with their father on the Snowy Mountain bus trips which Mr Berry recalled as the highlights of his career.

Tom Berry was the familiar face behind the Amberley-Rosewood Bus Company, which is now called Highway Coaches.
Tom Berry was the familiar face behind the Amberley-Rosewood Bus Company, which is now called Highway Coaches.

When Amberley-Rosewood Bus Company owner Hilton McDonald passed away, Mr Berry took over with his family working in the business with him.

Mr Berry was active well into his later years and would spend his Saturday nights at the casino, having dinner and catching up with friends.

On his way home early in the mornings, he would always drive past and check on the bus depot.

Mr Berry’s ill health led to the couple moving to the Infinite Care aged care facility in the Ipswich CBD in March.

Tom Berry passed away peacefully with his wife of 73 years beside him.
Tom Berry passed away peacefully with his wife of 73 years beside him.

A big celebration for his 100th birthday in August did not go as planned due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Family and friends still gathered in a park across the road with Tom and June watching from their balcony.

His family said they lived the life they “had always wanted” and would not have “changed it for the world.”

Described as a quiet achiever with a generous and cheeky spirit, Mr Berry was always interested in everyone else’s passions and always checked in on his beloved grandchildren.

Sons Bruce and Gordon will keep his legacy for the bus industry going strong but he will be dearly missed.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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