Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sorrento Steam Tram

Actor, politician and entrepreneur George Coppin - who gave Melbournians Cremorne Gardens and The Iron Pot Theatre - started making Sorrento The Place To Be.

May 18, 1889 he launched the Sorrento Tramway Company, and by 1890 the 2 steam engines, which had been used by the Loch Valley Timber Company near Noojee, were hauling up to 20,000 tourists each season.

No timetable was set; the tram would meet the paddle steamers that plied the bay (also owned by Coppin) and would then chug the mere 2 kms from Sorrento Pier to the back beach. A toot on the whistle in the afternoon would warn tourists to hurry back to the tram to begin their journey home again.

As time stands still for no man, neither does progress and, with increasing car ownership and usage, both the steam tram and paddle steamers became obsolete. The tram ceased services in 1921 and the paddle steamers were cut from 8 down to only 2 bobbing about on the waves by 1940.

For more great photos and info, click HERE, HERE and HERE.

Map courtesy of Andrew.


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