THE man who established Polleys Coaches - Duncan Polley - died peacefully on Thursday night, a month after turning 85.
Mr Polley succumbed to several medical conditions which he had fought bravely for many years, and leaves behind his wife Valda, seven children - Sherryl Polley, Mark Polley, Robyn Scott, Warren Polley, Christine Murray, Jennifer Bentley and Miriam O'May - 25 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren (with another three on the way).
The Polley name is synonymous with school bus runs throughout the Gympie region and with bus tours all over the country.
Son Warren, who took over the family business in 2009, said yesterday Polleys Coaches started as a single bus run three times a week between Gympie and Tin Can Bay back in 1956.
Today it has 28 school runs carrying 2500 students to and from school every day, and is the longest-running tour company in the nation.
"Dad just loved Australia so much he wanted to show it to everybody," Warren said.
"It was what gave him his energy. No matter how many times he had seen Ayers Rock - sometimes three trips in a row, back to back - he never got tired or grew bored with it. Every time was like the first time."
Duncan Polley was a pioneer in his own way, trialling innovations on buses for the first time and helping make them become commonplace conveniences.
"We were the first company to have heating and cooling," Warren said.
"There were a whole bunch of innovations we pioneered."
Mr Polley was also a man of great faith and was much involved with the Gospel Hall on the corner of Pine and Myall Sts.
"That was a dominant part of his life. He was able to face many obstacles because his faith grounded him and gave him great strength."
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