Dayna's Blog

Holidays, walks and who knows what

Melbourne Brompton Club ride to the Melbourne Tram Museum – 27 June 2015

17 Comments

When you think of Melbourne icons, our trams must surely rank in the top 5.

A Melbourne B-Class Tram (Route 86) turning at top of Bourke Street onto Spring Street in front of Parliament House

A Melbourne B-Class Tram (Route 86) turning at top of Bourke Street onto Spring Street in front of Parliament House

The Melbourne Tram Museum at Hawthorn is just off the Main Yarra Trail (a shared path along the Yarra River); a worthy destination for this month’s group ride.

Meeting up at Federation Square we took a few snaps (because you can’t let the chance go by), before walking past the temporary ice skating rink (as instructed) then we were underway!

It’s a pretty cruisey ride along the river. We followed the Yarra Trail along the north bank of the river the whole way to where Wallan Road crosses the Yarra River. Some of it is a floating walkway, but mostly it’s firm river bank.

The Tram Museum is in a beautiful red and cream brick building on the corner of Wallan Road and Power Street, Hawthorn. Next year will be the celebration of its 100th birthday! The museum doesn’t occupy the whole of the premises any longer, and isn’t as large as the Hawthorn Depot was in its heyday. Despite now including residential units in the main building, and having a new apartment building at the back where the second shed used to be, the facade has remained as it’s protected by its listing on the Victoria Heritage Register (read more here).

The exterior of the Hawthorn Tram Depot, now containing residential apartments and the Melbourne Tram Museum

The exterior of the Hawthorn Tram Depot, now containing residential apartments and the Melbourne Tram Museum

Arriving at the Tram Museum - the entrance is off Wallan Road

Arriving at the Tram Museum – the entrance is off Wallan Road

Totally unfazed by the arrival of a group of ‘folders’, we set our bikes and bags down while one of the volunteers gave us a bit of history about the history of the depot and a couple of the trams they have. Then we were welcome to explore and take as many photos as we wanted.

One of the volunteers giving us some of the history about the Tram Museum and trams on display

One of the volunteers giving us some of the history about the Tram Museum and trams on display

A recent addition to their collection is the Z1 81 ‘Karachi W11’ (the link provides information on the history of the Z Class trams as well as how tram 81 came to be ‘Karachi W11’ as well. Definitely worth a read!)

This gorgeously extravagant tram is the work of 5 Pakastani artists and was run on Melbourne’s City Circle loop during the 2006 Commonwealth Games. A recent addition to the museum, I hope it becomes a permanent resident!

Although no questions were asked as we carried our bikes in, it’s not to say that they didn’t draw any comment at all…

“What make of bike is that?” was the first question (it’s usually a good starting point). Before long, the museum volunteer who asked had all – and more – of his questions answered by our enthusiastic group!

Discussing Brompton design with one of the tram museum volunteers

Discussing Brompton design with one of the tram museum volunteers

At present, the museum also has a Tramway ANZACs exhibition to honour the tramway employees who went off to fight in the Great War and the role of the tramways during that time. If you can’t visit the museum you can read more about the displays and personal stories here.

Unlike other Australian state capitals who ripped up their tram tracks years ago, Melbourne has grown its tram network over time, although we no longer run cable trams anymore. You can compare a map of the lines that were in service in 1916 here compared to today’s network managed by Yarra Trams here. The irony is that “light rail” is now being (very slowly) reintroduced to the Gold Coast and expanded in Sydney. I don’t know of any plans to expand Adelaide’s single line, but at least they kept that as a functional means of transport for commuters – if you happen to live close-by.

The afternoon was getting on; we’d explored the trams, seen the ANZAC exhibition and answered Brompton questions in return, so it was time to say goodbye and head back to the city the same way we’d come. Just before leaving Stephen kindly bought each of us a badge from the gift shop to remember the trip.

It was another enjoyable ride with the group.

Next ride planned for the weekend of 26-27 July. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Strava to keep up to date with rides.

: )

Thanks to Stanley for letting me use a couple of his photos in this post.

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Author: Dayna

I'm interested in nature, hiking and photography - but these have been somewhat overwhelmed by a new passion... my Brompton folding bikes! You can follow me on Twitter: @daynaa2000 or @Brompton_MEL Or find me hanging out most Saturdays at Velo Electric & Folding (http://velocycles.com.au/folding-bikes/) or on a Melbourne Brompton Club ride! (https://melbournebromptonclub.wordpress.com)

17 thoughts on “Melbourne Brompton Club ride to the Melbourne Tram Museum – 27 June 2015

  1. I knew Melbourne had trams but I didn’t realise the extent of them so thank you for expanding my knowledge! It amuses me to think of the curious looks your group may receive as you cycle along. It’s great that people ask questions and you can educate them about the benefits of folding bikes. I’m sure it will encourage others, Dayna. Great post! 🙂

    • Thanks Jane. When I moved down I was also surprised by the extent of the network. Note that the Yarra Trams map is not to scale – a couple of the lines actually go out a long way into the suburbs. In Brisbane I used to catch a bus almost daily (or a citycat) but I haven’t once caught a bus in Melbourne. Which is not to say there aren’t busses – I just don’t need to travel that far out or in those directions.
      (BTW, working on a Tassie blog right now!)
      🙂

  2. Such a wonderful insight into the Melbourne trams Dayna. It looks like everyone had a terrific day out.

    Clare

  3. Really interesting. I was a Bus Conductress in Glasgow once upon a time, and this included some duty on The Glasgow Trams. Little did I know that I was making history.

    PS. Any news on a new Doctor Blake Season?

    • Hi Elena,
      I think it’d be better if there were still conductors on trams, but that’s ‘progress’ for you…
      Good news re Doctor Blake – a fourth season is confirmed to be filmed later this year and I expect it’ll be shown here in 2016. (Yay!!) What season are you up to?

      • I did have such fun on the Glasgow buses and trams. They were so kind to me with my plummy accent, when the fans came out of Ibrox, a little worse for wear.
        I once had to get off a tram to move a drunk who was lying in the road, with the help of passers by.
        And carrying a ton of pennies in a bag around your neck didn’t help.

        I am up to the minute on Dr. Blake. And begging for more, so Yay.
        For the moment I will have to settle for one more season. But I do so hope it runs and runs.

        Thank you for such good news.

      • When I look at the ticket and money boxes conductors used to have to carry my neck and back hurts almost immediately! The tramways employed women in many roles when the boys went off to war, but they pretty much all got the sack when the war finished. I understand why the guys were offered their jobs back, but still think it was poor thanks and hard for a lot of the women. The whole period was a tragedy for everyone, of course. Thank goodness we’re getting closer to equality for the sexes now – still a way from equality for all, though. Need some Dr Blake now to cheer myself up! 🙂

      • When I had to be on the first Bus or Tram out on the road at 5am, I would hitch a ride on The Dust Cart. Otherwise I would have to walk, obviously. I bet no one thinks of that.

      • No, I guess I imagined people used to cycle on pretty uncomfortable bikes or walked – or rode an animal! Never considered a dust cart!

  4. Hooray for trams (and rhinos on skateboards)!

  5. Hi Dayna, great to read of your latest adventure. I have been thinking about what a group of Brompton riders are called. Maybe a ‘clutch’ of Brompton’s on a cold Melbourne morning. Then maybe a ‘flock’ of Brompton’s as you make your way for the first coffee stop. A ‘herd’ as the Brompton’s make their way with their pilots to lunch. A ‘mob’ of Brompton’s after a few too many drinks with lunch. Lastly a ‘peloton’ when the Brompton’s and their pilots spy the car at the end of the day.
    I’m looking forward to reading of your trip to Tassy.
    Cheers Kevin

    • Very clever Kevin! 😊
      I guess if we’re ‘Bromptoneers’ then we could be described as a band? Maybe I’ll put it to the others on our next ride.
      Fingers crossed that I’ll get the first Tassie post out this weekend…
      Thanks Kevin 😊

  6. How’s about a Bagatelle of Bromptons?

  7. Pingback: MBC Ride on Melbourne Day – Sunday, 30 August 2015 | MELBOURNE BROMPTON CLUB

  8. Pingback: MBC ride to the Melbourne Tram Museum – 12 August 2017 | MELBOURNE BROMPTON CLUB

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