Must be time to visit way up north again, well write about it. Let me see. The last thing I can recall writing about Brisbane was about the Whisky au Go Go fire. No, later about two women breaking the no women in hotel public bars rule.
I'll go back further this time to another fire. On this day fifty years ago, the inner suburban Paddington tram depot in Latrobe Terrace was destroyed by fire, precipitating the closure of the whole tram system by 1969. Sixty five trams were destroyed in the fire, a quarter of Brisbane's fleet of trams.
It is rumoured ahead of the fire that the Mayor of the Brisbane at the time, Clem Jones, would find it very convenient if something dire happened to some trams. Mayor Jones had some financial interests in petrol stations. Should the tram system close, more people would be in cars, using more petrol.
With a fanfare of publicity, the mayor acquired some buses from Sydney to replace the destroyed trams, which was rather odd, as Brisbane had spare buses sitting in storage. Some older trams in storage were also brought back into service. Eventually eight trams were able to be rebuilt from what was salvaged at the depot. They were known as Phoenix Trams and had this gorgeous little emblem on a exterior panel.
A later quote from Mayor Jones was that that the trams had to go because they were dangerous and that
there were many accidents involving trams.
Another was along the lines that he was a Labor man and he wanted Labor people to drive cars,
like the rich folk, but the trams were in the way and so they had to
go, to encourage his folk into cars.
There is a great little video about the fire from Channel 7 in Brisbane. Apparently many of the ex tram drivers went on to become bus drivers, some less than successfully. Click here to see the 2.30 video.
Once the Paddington Depot burnt, it only left the Ispwich Road depot and another smaller one in Light Street, Newstead. The Light Street Depot seems to now have an Audi car showroom on its site.
I enjoyed putting this together. I hope you enjoy the smattering of Brissy history. OMG, I have written about the Paddington Depot fire before and it was only last year. How could I have forgotten.