Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tram to La Perouse

Apart from the huge size of the Sydney tram system it was also one of the most flexible in Australia. There were many different ways trams could travel to reach a suburban destination, as in the previously posted Ryde tram route through Drummoyne via either Pyrmont or Forest Lodge. I don't have a lot of information on the La Perouse system, but enough to work out its route and some details.

Two different city termini sent trams to La Perouse, one route from Railway, now known as Central, and the other from Circular Quay. There is a bit of guesswork here. From Railway, along Eddy Avenue, right into Elizabeth Street, into Chalmers Street, left into Cleveland Street, right into Anzac Parade.

Much of the tram route along Anzac Parade was in a reservation and I believe the bus now runs in this reservation. In fact I have been on the bus from Kensington, but I was standing so I saw little.

At Alison Road, the Clovelly and Coogee Beach routes branched off and where the Randwick tramway workshops were located. We then come to the intricate and huge Randwick Racecourse siding. There were a number of platforms and tram tracks everywhere. Thousands upon thousands would use the trams to travel to Randwick on racedays. The co-ordination that went into the service must have been extraordinary and was often on a normal working day. The main entrance to Randwick was at Abbotsford Street.

The tram then continued down Anzac Parade as it twisted and turned to terminate at La Perouse on a loop terminus and along the way, the tram line to Maroubra Beach exited left. La Perouse terminus was a loop, which means that rather than the driver changing to the other end of the tram to return to the city, the tram just went around a track loop.

The Circular Quay service most likely travelled Phillip Street, Hunter Street for a short distance, Elizabeth Street, left into Liverpool Street, Oxford Street and down Flinders Street at Taylor Square and then Anzac Parade.

The trams and staff I think principally came from Dowling Street Depot, now the site of the Moore Park Supa Centre, the entrance was from Dacey Avenue.

There were a couple of other related sidings. I believe one was in Forbes Street, Darlinghurst at the Darlinghurst Court House next to the Supreme Court of NSW. The track ran from inside the court and a special tram that has been restored and can be seen at the Sydney Tramway Museum, ran from there to a siding inside Long Bay Gaol in Malabar. New South Wales' most notorious escape artist and criminal Darcy Dugan escaped from the tram in Kensington by cutting a hole in its roof while he was being transported.

Initially a steam tram ran from the City to Kensington Junction, that is Alison Road, Anzac Parade and Dacey Avenue. The electric tram to La Perouse opened as a single track from Kensington to La Perouse on 11th August 1902. By the 9th November 1909 the track was duplicated and the last tram ran to La Perouse on 25th February 1961. In the early days of the twentieth century there was a single track link to Botany Bay from La Perouse via Bunnerong Road. It may not have been for passenger service though.

Sydney Prison Tram at Sydney Tram Museum, their publicity shot I think.
The Randwick Racecourse sidings, presumably while a meeting is in progress and the trams are ready to collect the punters upon their exit. Photo taken by Noel Reed.


  1. Guruann7:07 pm

    Those last 2 pictures are taken on the Cnr of Bay St and Grand Pde in Brighton Le Sands

  2. Hi Ann. Long time. Duh, it even says so in the picture title. I'll take them down now. Such of the joys of dealing in unfamiliar cities. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. When nect in Sydney we will go there!

  4. yeah, it's been a while, been a bit busy.

    I know of that area as my grandfather lived just where the camerman would have taken the picture.

  5. Anonymous2:31 pm

    Excellent pictures. Anzac parade looks like it once used to have a tram...a desolate version of St Georges road in Northcote.

  6. I haven't been there either Cazzie.

    There when the trams were running Ann?

    Thanks Reuben.

  7. I have learned so much about Sydney that I never knew from you lol. Trams were a little before my time but I can remember seeing the tram lines breaking through the worn roads around the city

  8. Lol, they still do break through Jo. Other evidence is that some roads have concrete in the centre of them where the tracks used to be , or still are.

  9. My grandfather moved there in aboutr 1975, not trams or any trace of them then

  10. Anonymous1:48 pm

    So our buses now follow near exactly the same routes as the trams. And still do the loop at La Perouse. Anzac Parade has a grassed verge in the middle of it these days, which I presumably was were the tram tracks are now buried. Pity we cant convince the Gov't to put light rail back in to La Perouse and Maroubra.

  11. They pretty well do Anon. If you have been on the bus to Bondi Beach that winds around some back streets, it is following an old tram route.