History-Compass Tours and Penrith Bus Company
John Burke started as an operator when he purchased route 87 Eastwood - West Ryde from Griffiths. This was a one bus run and John drove the bus. In April 1972 he expanded with the purchase of route 163 Epping - North Epping from Carl Tattam. Over time, a successful and respected charter and tour operation was developed and named CommodoreCoaches. The company operated long distance extended tours as well as day and local charters. John Burke sold the runs and all vehicles to Cumberland (Todds) effective 4/8/77. By that time there were 8 vehicles (3 Ford R226/CCMC buses, 1 Bedford YRQ/ CC coach, 1 Bedford YRQ / PMC coach, the Leyland Mastiff PMC coach a Leyland Tiger Cub rebody /CC semi coach and a Bedford SB5 / CVI). Cumberland immediately ceased the long distance tours and concentrated on day tours with several of the coaches being sold almost immediately. John Burke then retired from the bus industry. He purchased and ran the Bellinger Valley Motel at Bellingen near Coffs Harbour until he sadly passed away quite suddenly in May 1982.
Commodore Coaches was then re-launched by Mike Bedford a "well-known" in the radio industry, with the Depot moved to Waters Rd in Werrington ( St Marys ). Mike promoted Commodore Coaches through the radio station. As the business grew, so did Commodore Coaches' staff, employing 4 permanent staff in the office to run the company which included a licensed travel agent for School excursions known as "Commodore Educational Tours." Mike purchased two 1989 Scania PMC Apollo High Deck Coaches ex Sun liner Express which were fantastic assets especially for School Children. These two vehicles are still in Commodore Coaches' fleet today because of their superior design, excellent fuel economy, large coach seating capacity and all round reliability. Fifty-five-year-old Mike had been fighting a long battle with cancer. In 2005, Mike sold Commodore Coaches and the Radio station. He died in Mt. Druitt Hospital with his family by his side and is survived by his wife Dorothy, son Adam, daughter Tanya and granddaughter Paige. Mike's legacy lives on and he was inducted into the Country Music Broadcasters' Hall of Fame in January 2003.
Frank Reynolds, a previous owner of Silver line Coaches of Ingleburn, was a close friend of Mike Bedford and before Mike's tragic passing, had asked Frank to come out of retirement and take care of Commodore Coaches. Adding another Scania to the fleet, Frank together with his wife Narelle, ran Commodore Coaches in a caretaker role from Lake Tabourie on the NSW South Coast. In 2006 Commodore Coaches celebrated it's 40th birthday - truly a testament to the company and its people. Frank's role as caretaker ended in November 2009 when Commodore Coaches was advertised for sale in the ABC Magazine.
November 2009 saw a new direction for Commodore Coaches being acquired by Jeff and Sharon Chalker of Compass Tours. With 15 years experience in logistics, transport, the company was re branded, re equipped, trained and resourced to see our Company firmly embrace the new millennium. The Commodore Coaches name was put to one side and all the coaches were re branded formerly becoming part of Compass Tours - A New Direction. Compass Tours will proudly continue the company's long history.