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Ballarat Tramway eNews
No. 37,  April 2020
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CLOSED

During the COVID-19 Restrictions

The introduction of restrictions to control the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the closure of the Ballarat Tramway Museum, with the last workshop day held on March 20. At this time we still do not know when our tram operations will recommence, and what kind of changes will have to be put in place when we do. What is certain is that we will be back on the tracks eventually, and that we are working in the background to make sure that we will be better than ever.

Overhead maintenance

During the shutdown, the Museum has been able to make repairs to some of our overhead electrical infrastructure. Visitors to the depot will have been aware that several of the power poles had developed quite a lean. This was causing the overhead wiring to sag despite several attempts to tighten it. A team of contractors worked at the tramway on Monday 27 April, the poles were straightened and braced to prevent any future movement.

Making new trucks

The tram motors and wheels sit in a frame known as a truck. To make Tram 12 operational, we need to assemble a new truck, as the original was sold for scrap in the 1920s. We have several parts in our collection to build one, but not the side frames. We have been able to get new patterns created from our collection of plans, which will then allow us to have the side frames recast. The photos show our bogey men, Geoff, Mick and Alan, testing a truck last year.

From the Archives

Work continues in the archives, which of course can be done safely from home. Warren Doubleday has been working through a collection of negatives from Wal Jack, who took many pictures of trams and trains over the years. While most of the photos had been seen previously in his albums, there were several "new" photos. This photo from late 1946 or early 1947, shows No. 22 in Main Road, Ballarat East.

Ian Saxon's collection

Tram enthusiast Ian Saxon has assembled a huge collection of tram photos over the years, some are his own, some from his father, many from well known photographers, and many whose original source has been lost over time. Ian has generously made his collection available, and Greg King has been sorting and collating the photos. This photo from the collection shows Tram 35 in Sturt Street, and we think it is probably by Wal Jack.

Geelong No. 2

Geelong Tram No. 2 at Eastern Beach. This is a photo from Ian Saxon's collection. This tram has been restored and generously donated to the Museum. It is currently having electrical work completed at the Bendigo tramway workshops, and hopefully it will be in Ballarat ready for service when we reopen.

1971-2021: 50 years

Next year will be 50 years since the closure of the SEC tramway in Ballarat in 1971. It will also be 50 years since the Ballarat Tramway Preservation Society was formed. The Museum will mark these two significant anniversaries with a number of events and activities. These are currently being planned, so we would gratefully accept any ideas or suggestions for what we could be doing. This photo by board member Chris Phillips, from 1971, shows some of the promotional activity undertaken at the time to preserve Ballarat's tramway heritage.

Tramway sites

Very little of the Ballarat tramway network remains visible in the streets of Ballarat today. However you can still visit the sites where the tramway operated. The APCO service station on the intersection of Skipton, Darling and Drummond Streets in Redan, is built on the site of the Darling Street Depot. This depot was used by the Ballaarat Tramway Company, for its horse tram operations. Even after most of the network was electrified in 1905, the horse trams still operated along Skipton and Albert Streets to service the suburb of Sebastopol until 1913. The service station usually has Ballarat's cheapest petrol, so visitors can see a site of significance to the tramway, and save money too.

Follow us

Social media is a really important way for people to demonstrate their support for our volunteers in the preservation of Ballarat's heritage tramway. During the shutdown we are posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram, with news, photos, and more. Our goal is to increase our Facebook audience to 5000, Instagram (#ballarattramwaymuseum) to 1000, and eNews to 500. You can help by following us on these platforms, and sharing our content with your friends too. Without "real" visitors, we need to connect with "virtual" visitors instead. 

Members also receive our magazine, "Fares Please", six times a year. The April issue featured an interesting story by Alan Bradley, on the 1919 Influenza Pandemic in Ballarat, and the history of the "Sebastopol Cars" by Len Millar. If you are interested in joining, you will find more information our website.
For those who have cancelled or postponed their overseas holiday, here is one we prepared earlier.  Budapest, 2014. Photo: Warren Doubleday.
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