Tramway documents donated to the State Library of Victoria

Wednesday 9 April 2014


Electric trams have been running in Melbourne for more than 100 years, and for much of that time the daily goings on in the industry were recorded on paper.

From roster to employee records, maintenance reports and work logs the Melbourne and Metopolitan Tramways Board continued to rely on paper based communication long after they leapt into the computer era in 1971.

Employees at our power centre recently collected almost 70 years of log sheets and donated them to the State Library of Victoria. The logs date back to 1928 and outline incidents which affected the tram power network.

In the example shown above a Mr Dight of the Glenhuntly Depot revenue office has contacted the power centre to report that an overhead clip has turned over and is causing issues for trams near today's Route 67 terminus.

The State Library will initially clean and quarantine the logs, but in the near future they will be available to library visitors to use in research.

Documents already available for tramway researchers at the State Library include maps and images produced by the MMTB. Information about the early years of trams is also available at Public Record Office Victoria.

Today our power centre continues to monitor the network 24 hours a day. Employees respond to reports from staff and to alerts which are automatically triggered when something unusual occurs around the system. They also perform routine tasks like turning off overhead power off in sections of the network where scheduled maintenance is taking place.

More documents about the history of Melbourne's trams can be found in our history section or on the Hawthorn Tram Museum site.


ABOVE: The Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board power centre in the early 1930s.