After close to 60 years in the bus industry Athol McKinnon has called time on a storied career that commenced as an apprentice coach and motor body builder with A B Denning & Co in Brisbane as an apprentice in 1961.
Athol started his career for the princely sum of £3-10 shillings a week before becoming apprentice of the year in 1963, for which he was awarded eight guineas (£8-8 shillings) and a certificate by the Governor of Queensland.
After 13 years at Dennings, the last 10 as sales manager, Athol resigned in February 1975 and formed a new company called Denning McKinnon and Company, or as it became known Denmac, in the Brisbane suburb of Sumner Park. Later he sold a 51 per cent share in the company to Domino Industries and the company was rebranded Domino Denning and in 1976 sold the remaining holding in the company.
Through the 1980s Athol worked in sales with the company, which eventually became a division of Austral Group. When the organization was bought out by JRA in 1991, Athol resigned and became the fleet sales manager at Motor Coach Australia.
Two years later he resigned and slid behind the wheel to become a coach driver on the Gold Coast, before buying small six coach Coastliner fleet in Tweed Heads. He sold Coastliner in 1997. A little bit before that Athol had started at Australian Autobus as marketing manager where he stayed for nine and a half years.
Then in early 2006 Athol started his long association with Chinese built coaches, starting as International operations consultant with the newly formed Bus and Coach International, or BCI as it became known.
Athol moved to China and lived in Wuxi for most of 2006 during the initial design and production of the new range of BCI buses and coaches.
Athol would go on later in 2006 to form a new company, called Bus & Coach Sales Australia or “BCSA” to become the Australian East Coast Dealer for the BCI range of vehicles.
Following five successful years as a BCI dealer, Bus & Coach Sales Australia ceased being the BCI dealer and the company was renamed Bus & Coach Sales Australasia or BCSA, with directors Rodd Hood and Athol McKinnon becoming the sole importers for the Bonluck range of vehicles in Australia and New Zealand.
So after 60 fruitful and successful years in the bus industry and the last nine years selling the Bonluck or BLK buses, Athol has called time and will retire, handing the BLK baton to a \a new importer, BLK Auto on the 1st February. He will be missed but you can bet Athol won’t be far away from the industry that he has been a part of for six decades.