This October and December marks the 30th anniversary of two devastating crashes involving buses on the Pacific Highway.
The first bus crash occurred in October 1989 at Cowper, near Grafton. 21 people were killed when a truck veered to the wrong side of the road hitting a Sunliner Express coach.
At the time, the crash was the worst in Australian road transport history in terms of number of deaths.
Three months later, on the 22nd December 1989, a McCaffertys Coach and a Trans City Coach collided head-on on the Pacific Highway at Clybucca Flat. 35 people died — It remains the worst road accident in Australia.
30 years on, after some political action and inaction, there’s a new dual highway that runs north of Newcastle to south of Grafton. The Coffs Harbour bypass was a political football in the recent state & federal elections. The remaining dual highway from Grafton to Ballina is expected to open some time in 2020 says the NSW Government. ‘81% of the highway has been upgraded.’
These photos were taken at the memorial garden in Clybucca that was created by the Lions Club of Kempsey. The crash near Grafton claimed the life of a student who was in a year above me at Corpus Christi College, Jannine Marie Ormesher. Eight members of the Ormesher family were killed. Jannine’s mother Angela Ormesher passed away from ill health three years ago — she spent the final 27 years of her life lobbying for an upgrade of the Pacific Highway.
Rest in peace.