Sunday, August 19, 2007

Get a life or Sydney Trams

I thought it would be so easy. With my reference reprint of Sydney's Gregory street directory from 1934 and a Sydways 2006, I thought I would draw in on the Sydways with a highlighter pen where all the Sydney tram lines went.

If Melbourne had been silly enough to get rid of their trams and I did the same thing now for Melbourne, it would have taken about half an hour.

No one told me that Sydney's tram routes were like a spider's cobweb, but far less symmetric.

I have spent hours on it and not even touched the north shore yet or barely the city proper. It has turned into a project.

I recall my Sydney friend being quite fascinated to learn that a street he often drove along, Crystal Street, had trams running along it. He then understood why the centre of the road was different to the edges. Tram tracks had been covered over. I once sent him a picture of Railway Square when it had trams and he replied, ah, I know where that was taken. I drive past it every evening when I go to gym.

So if you live in Sydney in an area where trams used to run, pretty well any inner to middle area, I am a font of information and feel free to ask. You will impress your friends with your new found knowledge, just before they roll their eyes. "You know that walking track we walk along, it used to have a tram running along there". So Jo? Mercboi? Steph? Fire Horse? Anyone else. Get your history lesson from 1934.

Email me ripppon at and it will be no names, just the the suburb and the info.

Back to the the larger than life task. R lived in Coogee a long time ago and his work involved standing on street corners, and I am bit stumped there at the moment. Street names have been changed and things are not matching.

Picture is the front of the South Dowling St tram depot. Right where the Moore Park Supa Centa is now located.


  1. I admit I spent two hours in the airport. That's as much of Sydney as I've ever seen. Well, the bridge and the opera house from the air, too.

  2. You should go Rob, it is a wonderful place for a holiday.

  3. Anonymous5:01 pm

    Awesome stuff Andrew...I enjoy learning about this stuff. It makes me think about my nan and how she grew up in Sydney

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  5. Is that Crystal Street, Petersham?

    Trams once ran all the way out to La Perouse. They ran up Oxford Street then turned into Flinders Street and along Anzac Parade. In Coogee they would turn off Arden Street into Havelock Avenue. This road was exclusively for trams. Today the 373 and 372 buses plus cars take this road. There is also another street called Tram Lane not far from Randwick Racecourse which was for the exclusive use of trams.

    I know the tram terminated at the Bondi Pavillion which is still there. They would turn them around on this big thing (clever aren't I). Waverley Council have old photos. I also know that trams ran along Glebe Point Road and King Street, Newtown and onto the Prince's Highway as far as (at least) Tempe.

    I live in Annandale and I am curious as to whether they ran through here.

    Good luck Andrew.

  6. Thanks Anon. I know there are always people interested.

    They certainly were trams in Annadale. Info in a post soon.

  7. And yes, Crystal Street Petersham.

  8. Hi Andrew,

    Some info for you on another old Sydney tram route.

    I used to live in Queen Street Woollahra ('90's) and I read then that the current route of the 389 bus (that runs from Bondi Junction to Circular Quay through Edgecliff Rd, Queen St, Moncur St, through the back of Paddington at Five Ways and across Darlinghurst) follows the route of the old Bondi tram.

    The old expression "shot through like a Bondi tram" apparently a reference to the tram as it hurtled around the Edgecliff Rd/Queen St corner.

    It's hard to imagine trams clanging through the narrow winding streets of Woollahra and Paddington, but I guess there were less cars everywhere back then.

    Interesting post, thanks.

  9. Yep Andrew B., it is my dream trip that shall only ever be a dream. Interestingly it was only a forty minute trip, with all those twists and turns. Did you know it went diagonally through Cook and Phillip Park then down Yurong Street. I am guess the route was what is now Boomerang Walk.

    Now which blog in your profile is yours?

  10. Hi again,

    No I didn't know about the Cook & Phillip Park bit. I'm not really a tram afficianado, but have always been intersted in old trains, trams, busses and ferries.

    All those blogs are mine - Don't judge me :)