Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Every now and then I seem to get nostalgic about trams - perhaps it's a sign of old age! It's not as if trams had any exalted position in my life - they just were. I saw them as functional, albeit slightly dated in a romantic sort of way. I didn't live on a tram line when I was young, but journeys would often involve different modes of transport such as catching the bus to a hub like Woolloongabba, the City, or the Valley, and then the tram to the final destination.

As we have noted before, trams disappeared from Brisbane in 1969. In recent times various governments have intimated that trams might be reintroduced, but that never seems to eventuate. Rather we seem to spend increasing amounts on tunnels and freeways to serve the motor car.

But there are still traces of our tram history to be seen if one knows where to look. In no particular order, here are some reminders of the Brisbane tram system.

1. Stop 26.
On the corner of Old Cleveland Rd and Cavendish Rd at Coorparoo. This former tram stop is where people used to wait, on the footpath, for the trams that ran down the centre of the road. The trams would pull up opposite the stop, and all the motorists had to stop their cars at the rear of the trams to allow the passengers to walk in safety from the footpath onto the roadway and then board the tram.

2. Mail hitching post.
In Queen St, outside the GPO. People used to be able to post their mail by dropping it in a mail bag on the front of the tram. When the tram got to the GPO, the conductor would leave the mail bag on this post and it would be collected by post office staff.

3. Tramway substation.
On Ipswich Rd at Annerley, just before the Annerley Rd junction. This substation was built in 1936 to supply power from the grid to the electric tram network. It has been incorporated into the old Annerley Junction Hotel, now known as the Muddy Farmer. The top photo was taken from Annerley Rd, and the bottom from Ipswich Rd.

4. Tram shelter 1. 
Sandgate Rd Clayfield. It's hard to imagine a scene more in keeping with Brisbane than this tiny tram shelter. Built around 1946 and designed by then City Architect Frank Costello, it is sheltered from the hot sun by these giant Moreton Bay figs. If you look closely you'll find it!

5. Tram shelter 2.
On Chatsworth Rd, opposite Rossmore Avenue. A timber construction with a terracotta tiled roof built during WWII, this was the standard waiting shed for trams. It now serves the same purpose for the buses.
(Photos: © 2012 the foto fanatic)



  1. I think it was a semi tragedy that Brisbane lost its trams and tram shelters in 1969. But it is not too late. Close the central business district to private cars, put the trams back into service and make the city beautiful again.

  2. There are traces of the past everywhere. Like Sydney, Brisbane made a terrible mistake in getting rid of trams. Great post.

  3. Hels: I agree that it could be done. One of the densest bus routes Isis from West End on the south side of the river to Teneriffe on the north.

    A tram route instead would make a lot of sense.

  4. Mark: Yes, at least we have some reminders around the place to stir up the nostalgia!

  5. Thanks for the great reminder of Brisbane. We used to catch the tram from a shelter outside the South Brisbane Cemetery, on Annerley Road. I was only young, but seem to remember it was out on the road. It was there for years, but sadly all signs seem to have gone now that the road system has changed so much. There IS a lovely old tram shelter further up Annerley Road, in the park that is bounded by Annerley Rd, Cornwall St, and Ruskin St. It also serves as a bus shelter...


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