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History of Australian Hearses - Builders

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Ansair (Victoria)

Ansair is a company that was probably better known for it's bus building, but they did produce a large number of hearses as well. Their hearses were particularly well made, often with bevelled side and rear glasses.

This 1951 Ford hearse was last used by T Odgers of Castlemaine in the mid 70s. This car was part of a collection destroyed in the Black Saturday Bushfires in February 2009.

This 1952 Ford hearse last saw active service in the 1960s. In the early 70s, it was bought by the future operator of our Victorian branch, and used as daily transport until 1983. It is currently in storage, awaiting restoration.

Bodycraft (Victoria)

Bodycraft were affiliated with the Ford Motor Company, and built special bodies for Ford vehicles.  

This 60 Fairlane (59 to US readers) was converted from a 4 door Ranchwagon.  These photos were taken in Adelaide in 2001.  These big Fords were very popular with Australian funeral directors, as they could be easily and fairly cheaply converted to hearses.  

Cramp Brothers Bodyworks, Hobart.

This is the 1935 Dodge hearse of Classic Funeral Coaches Tasmania, taken in the late 1970s or early 1980s, at Derwent Bridge in Tasmania. Within a few years of this photo, the car fell into disrepair, and sat neglected in a paddock until purchased and restored by Geoff Cuthbert. Built by Cramp Brothers in Hobart, the hearse is powered by a six cylinder side valve engine, with a 3 speed manual transmission.

In the 1920s and 1930s, it was common for funeral companies to update their hearses by grafting later model front panels to an older body. This saved them the expense of building a new hearse from scratch, yet gave their cars a modern appearance. This 1936 Dodge hearse has doors which would be more suited to a 1933 or 1934 Dodge, and the body itself appears to be from an even earlier car. This car is currently in the hands of a Melbourne restorer.

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