Lewis Family

Inducted 28 November 2007 

Through the transport company, Rover Motors, the Lewis family has been synonymous with buses, coaches and transport in the Cessnock and Hunter Valley since the 1920s.

In 1925, a local businessman, George Ryder, purchased the South Maitland Motor Company and the Marble Bar Motor Service, which were operators of bus services in the Coalfields area. He named the new company Rover Motors Propriety Limited. Rab Lewis (1906 – 2000) joined him soon after and so began the long association of the Lewis family with the company.

In the early days, Rover Motors buses transported mine workers to the collieries and Coalfields residents to the towns and villages of the area. In the 1930s and 40s, the company grew to become the largest and most progressive in NSW, pioneering the first centre door double decker buses in Australia and in 1944 introducing the first semi-trailer bus in NSW.

The 1950s saw services expand to meet the growing demand for buses to transport shift workers to BHP in Newcastle, weekend revellers to Maitland and people spending weekends at Lake Macquarie. It was at this time that Jack Lewis (1937 – 2005) joined Rab as an apprentice, starting a working life of half a century with the company.

The next two decades saw an expansion into tours and holidays, with Rover Motors offering tours to the Gold Coast and the Snowy Mountains, and a travel agency that provided overseas and domestic travel services. The loss of the railway service to Cessnock also saw the start of a bus service to Newcastle.

In more recent times, coaches and buses have been deployed to offer local people and visitors the opportunity for day trips, and access to cultural, sporting, leisure and special events in the vineyards, Hunter and Sydney regions.

Throughout these times, the Lewis family has played an important part in the ownership, management and development of the company. Aaron Lewis became the third generation member in the company in the 1980s, the decade in which the Lewis family became the sole owners.

Innovation has always been a hallmark of the company, now known simply as Rovers, and this can be seen again in the 1990s when the company took delivery of the first ultra-low floor buses outside a capital city.

Visit the Rover Coaches website

Plaque location
115 Vincent Street, Cessnock (garden bed)