A Tremendous History of the Tramway

Monthly news from the Brisbane Tramway Museum and the Ferny Grove Men’s Shed

‘The Brisbane Tramway Museum Society (BTMS) invites any person who is interested in the preservation of Brisbane’s historic trams to attend the first public meeting of the Society. The meeting will be held at the Druids Hall in Little Roma Street on the evening of 5th July 1968 at 7.30 pm.’

Made in a circular that was distributed by the society, this appeal  and struck a chord with the public. The meeting was well attended by people from all walks of life and some of these people have continued their association with the society to the present day!

The meeting enthusiastically supported the establishment of a tramway museum. Buoyed by this show of support, the newly formed society set about securing a suitable site for the museum. Funds were raised to finance the project and negotiations were entered into with the Brisbane City Council for the acquisition of a representative collection of Brisbane’s trams.

The negotiations with the Council were speedily concluded with 20 trams, two trolley buses and a vast quantity of equipment being passed over to the society. Unfortunately efforts to secure a suitable site proved more difficult. As a temporary measure, the museum was housed in a disused tile factory adjacent to Ferny Grove Railway Station. It was not until March 1972 that the present site became available. With a permanent home secured, work began in earnest, laying the foundations for the future. Car sheds were erected, the electricity supply was installed, and the track was put down. 1980 will be remembered as the year that the society ‘stood on its feet’ in the eyes of the public. On 10th August, 1980, the Governor Sir James Ramsay officially opened the Museum’s doors.

Building on this success, the BTMS continued to make steady progress in the development of the museum complex. The 1990’s saw a period of consolidation at the museum. A new building was erected to display tramway related artefacts and to house archival records. This building also doubles as the museum’s shop where books and other souvenirs can be bought. In addition, workshop facilities were improved in this period and electric power distribution was upgraded throughout the museum.

In 2001, the Museum gratefully received a special payment from the Queensland Government to enable major improvements to be made. As a result, the society undertook projects that included:

  The construction of a new engineering workshop.

  The renovation of an existing workshop that can now house

    the two trolley buses.

• The construction of another new building for the purpose of

   maintaining and restoring trams. This building has two tram

   tracks laid inside.

• The repositioning of tram tracks, including the laying of a 

   triangular junction, both to give access to the tram restoration

   building and also to enable trams to be turned so as to even

   the wear on the wheel flanges.

The society is now in a solid position to advance with further developments including the restoration of trams and a trolley bus. In the longer term, the society will look to extend the track to enable visitors to experience a longer ride.

The Brisbane Tramway Museum is proudly supported by Brisbane City Council.

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