Monday, 9 August 2010

Laying down childhood memories


An hour from home, on the fringe of the second oldest national park in the world, a tight-knit band of weekend warriors, expend lick, spittle and elbow grease to make the past come to life.

As I sat in the rear of the gleaming ‘1979’ the squeals from the youngsters and the beams on the faces of the oldies was the proof of the pudding. The volunteers looked the part and their knowledge of trams was voluminous. Col was Head Conductor for the day, and no question was too dumb, no request too wacky.


Sydney’s tramway system commenced in 1861 but only caught the public imagination after the 1879 International Exhibition. By 1922 the tramway system covered 290kms and by 1945 was carrying 400 million passengers per year.

However, with the spread of the city and a dramatic increase in car ownership, the car lobby won the ear of the government and the last tram trundled into the Dowling Street depot in February 1961.


A member of the Mellow Yellow Monday community.

27 comments:

jabblog said...

Very interesting post. What a shame the trams lost out to cars.

Lisergic Synaesthesiae said...

great series!
I love the 4th, clean and conceptual.

brattcat said...

You make me feel nostalgic and this isn't even my history.

Bill said...

A fabulous post. Last time we were in Sydney we wanted to go out to Sutherland to see the Tram Museum but it was shut, they don't open every day unfortunately but next time we're in the big smoke we'll go and see it. Thanks for posting these pictures, Julie, you made my day.

Julie said...

Wednesday and Sunday, Bill. I was there for 3 hours and was totally engrossed.

J Bar said...

It's a fascinating place. I've been but haven't photographed there before. I bet Diane from Brisbane will be glad you made the trek down there. She's asked me to visit a couple of times to consider a visit but haven't had the chance yet.

Andrew said...

STM is a treasure and the best tram museum in Australia. Easy to get to by train too. A memorial to one of the world's finest tram systems.

Lesley said...

When I was young I really wanted to be a tram (or streetcar as we call them) driver.
Shame the auto lobbyists got in the way of these rolling beauties.

Liza said...

Great photos!

Happy Mellow Yellow Monday.

Liz @ MLC

lewi14 said...

Great shots. It's a pity that the tram had to make place for cars, cars, cars. There is no better way to explore a city as by tram. I use tram to go to work, it's stress-free! Thank you for your photos which remind of the good old time.

Channal said...

nice shots... / Anna

Jilly said...

These are beautiful. Trams are such a good idea in a city. Nice recently installed a new tramway system and it is fabulous. I have to say tho these old ones are simply beautiful. That old brass handle - would one say steering device? - is wonderful.

Elaine coolowl said...

Ah! The Sydney trams! Used them up to their saddest day in 1961. Came to Brisbane to find trams, trams, trams! But they too closed (rode on the very last one) around the 70s. The Tramway museum was not opened at the time I left Sydney for Brisbane but Sutherland is very familiar, lived close by. Tramway museum here at Ferny Hills never open when I'm over that way. Super photos as always - quality shots, great text. A total pleasure to open these pages each day. Thank you and may your shutter finger continue to be strong!

Victor said...

I love trams and used to travel to school by tram as a boy growing up in Sydney. I wanted to become a tramdriver and was devastated when the trams were removed.

Peter said...

please bring em back! There is still a tramshed at Narrabeen

paul said...

Very nice documentation of trams! We have a Sydney tram on lease at Auckland's MOTAT (Museaum of Transport and Technology), it's number 1808. Will have to search for an image.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Did you know there is a steam tram at the Valley Heights rail museum (up here in the mountains). It was apparently ran in Sydney in the 1890s. I have only seen it operating once and didn't have my camera with me.

Julie said...

I did not know there was a Rail Museum up your way. I have just checked out their website and it looks very interesting. I shall have to arrange to go up there. It is only 750m from Valley Heights station ... I did not even know there was a VH station!

Joan Elizabeth said...

I thinks it's opening hours are irregular so check. If you let me know when you plan to visit I may be able to join you ... have not been there because it wasn't open the one time I tried.

Hilda said...

They're beautiful!

I doubt if they would have been as well-maintained if you had continued using them. Commuters (and drivers stuck behind them) might also be frustrated because of their slow speed. This is looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses. Better for everybody, I think.

diane said...

Just across the line from where I lived in my childhood days but the tram museum wasn't there then the trams were on the roads. Nice shots and angles. They are certainly cared for with loving hands by the looks.

Francisca said...

What a delightful post, Julie. And with your lovely photos, a great fit for MYM. I take the tram in HK as often as I can... even though they are usually jam-packed!

[And yes, my last photo was definitely weed next to the flowering rapeseed... we are of the same generation, perhaps...:-) ]

Julie said...

Hilda, I agree it is looking at the past in a very favourable light. However, just as in Melbourne, if the Sydney trams had been retained they would have been upgraded on a regular basis every 7 or so years since 1961. I think what people are harking back to is the style and the more modern trams are not that far removed in that respect. I think the ride is a factor of the engineering of the bogies and the lightness and efficiency of the design. This could all be a component of the 'old' trams in the modern world.

So yes, there is a big element of reminiscing ... but it is doable...

Gattina said...

OMG I try to remember when I took a tram the last time ! In Brussels they were yellow too when I had to take it to go to work. No they are more colorful and look different.

Marice said...

so nice! the place looks really interesting ;)

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

The last tram trundled
nearly fifty years ago—
end of an era.

TheChieftess said...

Love the mid way photo of the doors...the repetition and color!!!