Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lost Electric Tram Lines #3 Box Hill - Doncaster

On the 14th October, 1889, probably the world's only tram line to cause an outbreak of war-like behaviour, (and Australia's first electric tram line) was opened.

While the many tourists escaping the heat and dust of the city made the tram line a necessity the local land owners and orchardists campaigned furiously against it.

The larrikin had emerged by this stage in Melbourne culture and, with friends and girls of the various "pushes" (gangs) egging them on, larrikins thought nothing of climbing fruit trees to steal fruit and wreck havoc; verbally and physically challenging those residents who demanded they cease and desist.

As the tram way was the one thing bringing these destructive louts into the fragile idyll of the area, the tram way was the one object on which people vented their anger and frustration.
Overhead lines were left in the mud when the poles on which they were strung were chopped down, tracks and rails unearthed and left scattered.

Much to-ing and fro-ing between the tram company, locals and law courts saw the stop/start of the line, with a long section beyond Whittens Lane cut off when permission to cross land was withdrawn and wire fences erected.
Eventually the line was able to run but, with the economic depression of the 1890's causing more havoc than the drunken larrikins ever could and the previous problems of running the line depleting the coffers, the line was finally closed on January 6th, 1896.

The line began at the corner of Whitehorse Rd and Station St, plodding along in a pretty straight line until it reached a slight dog leg and meandered to the left which became Tram Rd and from there it ran along till it finished at the triangle intersection of Elgar and Doncaster Rds.
The depot was on the corner of Wimmera and Station Sts .

For a picture of the tram click HERE and HERE.

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