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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 7

I The First 100 Years 1788-1888

II Railways

III Motorised Vehicles
i Trucks
ii Truck Manufacturing
iii Road Trains
iv The Diesel Electric Ore Trucks
v Buses and Coaches

IV Aviation

V Modern Shipping

VI Innovative Small Craft

VII Conclusion

VIII Acknowledgements

IX Contributors



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Buses and Coaches (continued)

By the early 1980s government and private buses were carrying more passengers than any other form of transport, except in Melbourne, where trams still predominate. In New South Wales, government and private buses carrying 300 million people per year compared to the railways 200 million.

The bus services in major metropolitan cities have played a major role in the development of the middle and outer suburbs because they can adequately service low density areas in a way that fixed track vehicles cannot.

In 85 years, the motor car, truck and bus vehicles have grown from a few horseless carriages of academic interest to a torrent of vehicles with annual registration approaching 700,000 in 1985 and with direct employment in manufacturing of 150,000 people and in distribution of the order of another 80,000.

The Australian road system is vastly improved with 2,440,000 km of sealed surfaces and transport by road is by far the greatest carrier of goods in terms of tonnes consigned. About 75 per cent of all freight is carried by road.

The motor car has changed the development of our cities, the movement of people and our lifestyle. Motor car imports either in the form of complete cars, or parts, is a major drain on Australia's foreign exchange and the taxes generated by levies on fuel, registration, sales tax and duties, is an important source of revenue for the Government. The vehicle industry has investments of several hundred million dollars and vehicle finance is a large business in itself. The whole network of dealers' franchises throughout Australia provides a retail outlet for sales service and parts for customers and maintains the fleets of vehicles on Australian roads.

As the internal combustion engine became more reliable, it was adapted to provide propeller traction for heavier than air machines and so emerged the era of the aeroplane. This new dimension in mobility was to conquer distance and shorten communication in a dramatic way.

The following section describes the rapid technological advances in aviation and the part played by Australians in establishing air travel as another major part of Australia's transport system.

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© 1988 Print Edition page 502, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher