Tributes for anniversary of horror bus crash

NSW Premier Chris Minns has paid tribute to the families, friends and communities affected by the Hunter Valley bus crash
NSW Premier Chris Minns has paid tribute to the families, friends and communities affected by the Hunter Valley bus crash

The families, friends and local communities in NSW’s Hunter Valley have been acknowledged in the one-year anniversary of the tragic bus crash which killed 10 guests returning from a wedding on the King’s Birthday long weekend.

Guests were returning to Singleton after a celebration at the nearby Wandin Valley Estate, when the bus, driven by Brett Button, tipped on its side while approaching a roundabout at Greta.

Button has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, after reaching a deal with the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions that angered the families of the victims.

Marking the first year since the horrific crash, the ramifications of which were “felt nationwide,” NSW Premier Chris Minns acknowledged the heartbroken communities who were still grieving the death of loved ones.

“Communities were left heartbroken in Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania, and in the tight-knit NSW towns of the region – like Branxton, Cessnock, and Singleton.

“Their grief continues to this day.”

He also paid tribute to the families of those who lost their lives in the crash, and expressed the “love and support of the wider community – to all those who are suffering”.

Those killed in the crash included Andrew Scott, 35, and wife Lynan Scott, 33; Nadene McBride, 52, daughter Kyah McBride, 22, and her partner, Kane Symons, 21.

Darcy Bulman, 30, Rebecca Mullen, 26, Zachary Bray, 29, Tori Cowburn, and Angus Craig, 28, were also killed in the crash and were laid to rest last year.

“For the families and friends of those killed and injured, this date will stir many emotions,” he said.

“We understand that families may need some privacy at this time, and we ask everyone to honour and respect these wishes.”

HUNTER VALLEY, AUSTRALIA - NCA NewsWire Photos - 14 JUNE, 2023: NSW Premier Chris Minns lays a wreath at the public memorial of the Greta bus crash.Picture: NCA NewsWire / Rhett Wyman pool
NSW Premier Chris Minns attending the crash site in the weeks after the tragic crash. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Rhett Wyman

The work of first responders, both member of the public and emergency services personnel, were also commended.

“In the face of life’s cruelty, we take comfort in their kindness and bravery,” he said.

The people of NSW remain with you in your grief and will support you on this anniversary and in the painful years ahead.”

Over the weekend, local Cessnock Mayor Jay Suvaal also paid tribute to the “devastating” crash.

In Greta, an official memorial garden about 1km from the New England Highway crash site was opened earlier this month. Locals have also created a makeshift green space closer to the site.

“My thoughts and prays go out to the families, friends, community and the first responders who were so needlessly affected by this tragedy,” he shared.

Mr Suvaal acknowledged the “close-knit community” would be grieving, and urged care and patience around the memorial, which was expected to be busy.