Film & TV

Campaign launched to restore iconic Priscilla, Queen of the Desert bus

A campaign has been launched to restore the iconic bus featured in the beloved Australian film, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, to its former glory.

A campaign has been initiated to restore the iconic bus featured in the beloved Australian film, “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” to its original glory.

In a bid to rejuvenate Priscilla and ensure she remains a symbol of progress, the Minister for Education, Training, and Skills has pledged $100,000 towards the restoration project, igniting efforts to return the bus to South Australia.

“This project is a key investment in the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, where the bus will be located when restored. I’m always delighted by the exhibitions of antique and vintage vehicles – and the toys and models – with the Priscilla bus bringing a new and exciting experience for visitors,” Blair Boyer said.

“It’s important to preserve Australia’s motoring history and to inspire visitors with new and engaging exhibits as they have a significant educational value.

“I am thrilled we have been able to support the permanent public display of a significant piece of cinematic history.”

After being presumed lost, the 1976 Hino Freighter bus was unexpectedly unearthed in a paddock in Ewingar, nestled within the Northern Rivers Region of New South Wales. Enduring years of exposure to the elements, including narrowly escaping bushfires and floods, Priscilla has finally been located.

Currently situated in Queensland, Priscilla is slated for restoration before finding her permanent home at the National Motor Museum in Birdwood. There, she will be a central feature of an immersive exhibition highlighting the film’s cultural and social significance.

“We had heard so many rumours about where she had ended up and had given up hope of finding her again,” Priscilla Queen of the Desert film director Stephan Elliott said.

“I really want to thank the History Trust for making this amazing discovery and bringing Priscilla back to life.

“The film seems to carry through generations, and this is a chance for possibly many more generations to feel its message of love, tolerance and living your true self every day.”

The 1994 cult classic played a pivotal role in Australian cinema, sparking vital discussions, amplifying queer voices, and propelling the international careers of actors Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce.

As part of the History Trust of South Australia, the National Motor Museum Australia has welcomed millions of visitors, spanning all generations, eager to explore Australia’s motoring heritage. Serving as a global hub for the collection, research, preservation, education, and exhibition of Australian road transport history, the museum is poised to provide Priscilla with a fitting stage to continue her journey.

“Even in the 21st century, ‘The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ speaks to audiences of the virtues of respect for diversity and the great Aussie larrikin tendency for irreverence,” History Trust CEO Greg Mackie said.

“Priscilla Queen of the Desert has earned the affectionate regard of a majority of Australians over the last 30 years by affirming the place of road adventures in our national culture – where better for this icon than at Australia’s National Motor Museum.

“The History Trust of South Australia aims to restore Priscilla to roadworthy condition for special outings, and to render to its interior the glamorous over-the-top camp of the 1994 movie. And we want to give Priscilla the kind of home at the National Motor Museum Australia that will evoke rich and happy memories for visitors.”

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