Transporting Art – Melbourne’s Art Trams 1978-2018

This web article is produced in conjunction with the Transporting Art exhibition, which will be held at the Melbourne Tram Museum from October 2018. Images of all art trams produced from 1978 to 2018 can be seen at the exhibition.

In 1978, public art in Melbourne was almost entirely restricted to staid bronze statues of Victorian luminaries, Imperial bureaucrats or military heroes. Modern art was absent from the public arena, only to be experienced on school excursions to art galleries, although some of the more conservative sections of society held that modern art was immoral. After all, their view was that art should be improving, and one should go to a gallery to be improved – not corrupted with suspect ideas spread by libertine artists of the twentieth century.

Instead, one could say that Melbourne’s public art was very British, very proper, and very boring. Attempts to introduce change, such as with Ron Robertson-Swann’s minimalist sculpture Vault (popularly known as the Yellow Peril) were subjected to vitriolic attack from conservative media – even before its installation. The city of Melbourne was not ready for public modern art.

When the first art tram hit the streets of Melbourne, it was like a bolt from the blue. Mirka Mora’s magical and vibrant Chagall-like No. 243 immediately captured the imagination of both the art world and the general public, perfectly achieving Mora’s intent to celebrate both art and the people of Melbourne. So how did this radical and innovative concept begin?

Mirka Mora's No 243 of 1978. Photograph courtesy PROV The first Melbourne art tram, Mirka Mora’s Chagall-like No. 243 of 1978 was both magical and vibrant, striking an immediate chord with the public and the art world alike. Its success would lead to the expansion of the initial art trams program from six to sixteen trams.
Photograph courtesy Public Record Office Victoria.
In painting my tram, I not only celebrated art but also the people of Melbourne.

    – Mirka Mora

The concept of art trams started at a lunch in Toorak, a fashionable and exclusive Melbourne suburb, where Lord Mayor Irvin Rockman posed a question to artist Clifton Pugh: “How could the streets of Melbourne be made more colourful and exciting?” The answer he received was to remake trams into mobile artworks, executed by the very best of modern Australian artists.

The idea caught fire. Rockman, who was a prominent businessman as well as Lord Mayor of Melbourne, took the proposal to the State Government. The Premier, Rupert Hamer, was well known for being socially progressive with a special interest in the arts, despite leading a conservative Liberal Party government. It did not take long for the project to receive funding and proceed to fruition.

Initially, six trams were painted in 1978, but the project was so popular it was extended to 1982, with a total of sixteen artists painting art trams. The trams chosen for canvases were the classic Melbourne W2 class trams, all well over fifty years old.

One of the consequences of W2 class trams being used as the canvas for the artworks is they were only seen on a subset of routes, as the Bourke Street routes, as well as the East Burwood and Wattle Park routes, were exclusively operated by the then new Z class trams at the time. Not all of Melbourne was to be graced with the presence of art trams.

Public reaction

Looking back, we do not recognise how ground-breaking was the concept of art trams. No other city had conceived of the idea of having mobile art works travelling along its streets.

Broadcaster Philip Adams said at the time, “Melbourne has invented the mobile mural, the electric fresco. To fully grasp the originality of the notion, imagine waiting at a bus stop in Rome to take a ride on the Sistine ceiling.”

The art trams were immediately popular with the public, who looked forward with excitement to seeing each new art tram.

The arts and environment writer at The Age newspaper, Anne Latreille, wrote: “You may like some trams, you may hate others, but that’s part of the project’s success. It inspires definite feelings, and in featureless Melbourne that’s a real plus.” Melburnians were soon requesting the trams to travel to their own suburbs and world-wide attention was focussed on the moving artworks.

However, not all the trams were well-received. The common reaction of the public to John Nixon’s minimalist No. 503 was a sarcastic, “Well, he obviously put a lot of thought into that one.”

Peter Corrigan’s cheeky No. 567 created an international incident – the Japanese Embassy lodged a diplomatic protest over his use of their naval ensign with the enigmatic slogan ‘Mother Knows’. The tram was hurriedly withdrawn, and the offending flags were quickly overpainted before No. 567 re-entered traffic. By report, Corrigan was less than impressed by this act of official censorship. Even in its adulterated form, No. 567 did not last, as it was overpainted in 1982 with a work by artist Mike Brown.

In September 1982, the art trams project received a Merit Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Built Environment by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

A major consequence of the art trams project was to generate a greater understanding and acceptance of modern art amongst the Melbourne public. From this point on, major public artworks such as Inge King’s Forward Surge did not generate the opprobrium suffered by Vault, instead being judged on their artistic expression and merit, and suitability of the design to their location. As a result, Melbourne would come to develop an international reputation for the excellence of its public artworks.

The end and a new beginning

The fall of the Liberal Government in 1982 saw the project cease for a time, as the new Labor Government lead by John Cain as Premier was focused on implementing radical changes to Melbourne’s public transport system and its bureaucracy rather than considering mobile artworks. One of these changes was the progressive replacement of sixty-year-old W2 class cars with more modern trams, and inevitable consequence of the existing art trams disappearing as a result took some time to realise.

The art trams were wildly popular with the public, and the new State Government did not wish to diminish its popularity by removing what had become an important component of Melbourne’s civic pride.

Therefore, when all the remaining art trams were removed from service in the mid-1980s, the State Government determined it would undertake a renewal of the art trams program, which would be entitled Transporting Art.

Subsequently, an announcement was made that fourteen of the original art trams were to be sold at auction. Part of the proceeds would be used to fund a new series of art trams based on the refurbished SW5 class. The remaining proceeds were to be granted to the Victorian College of the Arts Foundation, to assist in the education of a new generation of artists.

Fourteen of the fifteen trams in the series were auctioned on 7 December 1986. They were purchased by a single buyer, who had plans to develop a ‘tram art park’ as a commercial activity, but the venture was ultimately unsuccessful. These trams were subsequently dispersed.

The foundation gave a grant of $2000 from the sale of Erica McGilchrist’s No. 497 [1] to support the work of the Women’s Art Register, at the behest of the Ministry of Arts. McGilchrist was a co-founder member of the Register and served as its co-ordinator from 1978 to 1987. Her tram, however, was not to last. After passing through the hands of at least two different owners, it ended its days derelict on a rural property in Nambucca Heads, and was scrapped in 2011 or 2012.

Two of the art trams – those by John Nixon and Les Kossatz – are running on heritage tramways in America, but their original artwork has been painted over. Mike Brown’s tram is part of a house renovation in outer Melbourne, while Gareth Samson’s tram was last seen derelict in Diggers Rest.

The tram painted by Howard Arkley went missing for several years but was last heard of as being privately owned by a tram enthusiast north of Melbourne, although it was not undercover and exposed to the weather. Don Laycock’s tram was owned for a time by the Hungry Jacks burger chain – who repainted it – and is last known as being privately owned in Melton.

When last sighted, Stewart Merrett’s and Trevor Nickolls’ trams were installed in a Perth hotel’s beer garden in their original colours.

Unlike the others, the Clifton Pugh tram No. 504 was retained in public ownership, in the collection of the Museum of Victoria. However, the museum was unable to place it on display due to space restrictions, and the tram had received significant damage in a traffic accident before it was withdrawn. Subsequent repairs, and the weathering of the tram in normal service had severely degraded Pugh’s artwork. There were several proposals to fund a restoration to be executed by Pugh, but a combination of lack of funding, together with the artist’s ill-health and subsequent death in 1990 rendered these unachievable. No. 504 was stored in Preston Workshops for many years, until 2015, when it passed to the care of the Ballarat Tramway Museum, which plans to restore it back to its state as one of the first art trams.

Mirka Mora’s Chagall-like tram – probably the favourite of the travelling public from the first series art trams – is now cared for in a seaside garden in Mount Eliza. Unhappily, Rosemary Ryan’s tram was demolished – and the fate of the others is largely unknown.

Art and commerce

The basis of the new series of art trams was to be different from the first. The State Government wanted the program to be revenue neutral for the operations of the Public Transport Corporation, so it wished to offset the loss of advertising revenue against the trams selected for participation in the Transporting Art program. Essentially, the art trams were not to be wholly government-funded, as was the case for the initial program.

Lesley Dumbrell's No 731 of 1986. Photograph courtesy PROV Lesley Dumbrell’s No. 731 of 1986 represents the power of the electricity that moves the tram, characterising the energy, creativity and optimism that infused all aspects of the 1980s in Melbourne.
Photograph courtesy Public Record Office Victoria.
The tram project was such fun to paint, and the response in Melbourne was a delight. Wherever I went I would meet people who would tell me, I saw your tram yesterday on the St Kilda line or the Preston line, etc.

    – Lesley Dumbrell

Instead, art trams of the second series were to have commercial sponsors. Each sponsor was to pay an amount of $6000 per annum over a period of up to ten years. If the annual fee was not paid, the original artwork would be overpainted either by a new artwork, or the standard green and yellow tram livery.

Between 1986 and 1993, twenty art trams would be painted under the renewed Transporting Art program. This series would also see the first community-based artwork, No. 829 The Peace Tram (1986), painted by muralists Eve Glenn and Megan Evans, using a design selected from entries in a competition held for Victorian school-children.

Claytons art trams

To paraphrase the advertising slogan of Claytons – a popular and heavily advertised non-alcoholic drink of the 1980s – there were also ‘the art trams you had when you weren't having an art tram.’ These trams were not part of the formal Transporting Art project.

The Cain/Kirner Labor State Government of the 1980s and early 1990s made extensive use of painted trams to promote government programs and initiatives. Some were indistinguishable from ‘normal’ art trams, such as SW5 727, which was painted in 1986 to promote the Spoleto Festival, which would eventually evolve into the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Other painted W class trams promoted the state school system and employees of the Public Transport Corporation.

Painted ‘message’ trams were not restricted to the older W class vehicles. Modern Z class trams were painted for a number of different promotional purposes, including:

  • Melbourne’s bid for the 1996 Olympic Games.
  • Crime prevention, including the Neighbourhood Watch program.
  • Centenary of the Collingwood Football Club.
  • Loan of pandas by the People’s Republic of China to the Melbourne Zoo.
  • Bicentenary celebrations of Australia.
  • Program to clean Melbourne’s waterways.
  • Recycling of household waste.

The end result was that in the minds of the Liberal Opposition, painted trams had become inextricably linked with the Labor Party and its time in government from 1982 to 1992, which would have apparently fatal consequences for the art tram project – especially as the final six art trams in the series were partially sponsored by a State Government instrumentality, Vic Health, to promote a Labor government program.

The ascent of the Kennett Liberal government to power in 1992 saw many Labor initiatives halted, such as the relocation of the Melbourne Museum to Southbank. Despite construction having commenced, the work was halted, the site was to be transformed into the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, and the museum [2] was relocated adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Carlton Gardens in 2001. The consequence was that the museum was removed from being a central attraction within the city, and over the following decade museum attendances fell dramatically.

Under the rule of Premier Jeff Kennett, discretionary state government spending was oriented towards major events, such as the Formula 1 motor racing Grand Prix, or prominent architectural statements like the ‘butter knife and toast rack’ at the city end of the Tullamarine Freeway, rather than nurturing arts and culture through smaller-scale programs like Transporting Art. After Aleks Danko’s No. 824 entered traffic in 1993, no further art trams were commissioned. Within a year, ostensibly due to the discovery of asbestos in the controllers of the SW5 class trams, all the surviving Transporting Art trams were rapidly withdrawn and placed into storage.

While some of the SW5 class trams had the offending asbestos removed so they could continue in service, none of the art trams were selected for remediation. Instead, they have remained in storage to the current day, at the former Newport Railway Workshops. In 2018, a program was initiated by VicTrack to dispose of most W class trams in storage, primarily to community groups. Those W class trams identified as historically significant, including all the surviving Transporting Art trams, have not been included in the disposal program, and for the present will remain in storage at Newport pending a decision on their future.

Painting the trams

Being commissioned to paint one of the art trams between 1978 and 1993 was a major accolade, viewed by all as a significant commission. It was also a huge commitment in time and effort, the actual painting taking about a month, in addition to prior design work.

For the first series of art trams, the selection committee selected well-known and established artists, who were widely exhibited in regional and national galleries, if not internationally. With the second series, while the committee still chose some artists using the same selection criteria, it cast a broader net, selecting lesser known and developing talent, providing a valuable commission to boost these younger artists’ careers.

However, right from the start of the project in 1978, there was a commitment to selecting works from a diversity of artistic talent, with both women and indigenous artists prominent among those awarded commissions.

All the artists agreed that painting a tram was a major challenge, in part due to the size – a W class tram is around 15 metres long. Painting at Preston Workshops required artists to work from scaffolds high above the ground, and this work was both difficult and tiring.

For most artists, the enamel paint required to protect the trams from weathering was an unfamiliar medium. Even the process of mixing colours was strange, unlike how artists had been taught to mix oil paints or watercolours, or the more modern acrylic paints. There were also restrictions on the paints that could be used – those containing metallic pigments were not permitted on the roof due to the presence of high-amperage electrical currents at 600 volts DC, with the consequent danger of electric shocks to tramways staff and the general public.

The lack of climate control at the workshops added another challenge – the temperature. The workshops could be bitterly cold in winter or blisteringly hot at the height of a Melbourne summer. This impact was not just felt in terms of personal comfort of the artists. In these extremes, the enamel paints would be either thick and glutinous, or thin and runny.

Micky Allan observed that initially she splashed paint around ‘ la Jackson Pollock’, getting more on herself than she did on the tram – at least until she was shown the right way to hold a brush by the paint shop foreman, so the enamel paint didn’t drip.

Another of the artists, Elizabeth Gower, was newly pregnant at the start of her commission. The fumes from the enamel paints made her extremely nauseous and dizzy, and she was unable to work safely on the tram. The work was faced with disaster, only being saved by the hiring of sign writers to work under Gower’s direction.

Despite the difficulties in painting the trams, working in the harsh conditions of the unheated workshops, without exception the artists looked back on their time painting a tram with affection...and pride.

Renewal of the Art Tram Project

The passing of the painted art trams was treated with regret, although the austerity of the 1990s focused the public much more on economic issues rather than art and culture.

The rise of all-over-advertising wraps for public transport vehicles in the early 1990s in the United States offered a tantalising prospect for artists. These wraps are made from vinyl film backed with an impermanent adhesive, to allow easy removal of the wrap. In conjunction with powerful graphics software, and high-resolution printing processes, traditional artistic methods for decorating public transport vehicles – such as the Transporting Art program – could not match the detail, vibrancy and variety, together with the speed of production, of these new methods. Furthermore, the use of computers and automated printing processes to produce the wraps reduced the chance of errors, allowing simple correction of mistakes before the wrap was produced.

Finally, the wraps can be applied in a matter of a few hours by semi-skilled workers, rather than the month it took an artist to produce one of the original painted art trams.

The only downsides to the wraps used for artistic purposes were the common perception that art and the skill of the artist was cheapened by their use, and the removal of a textural component to the artwork. Plus, public transport passengers did not approve of their view of the outside world to be obscured by the wraps over tram windows, although it was claimed by manufacturers that visibility was degraded only by a minor degree.

However, it was not until 2013 that the use of wraps for works of art on Melbourne tram exteriors was taken up, long after they had been well-established for advertising on trams and buses in the city. In the interim, art trams were not wholly absent from the Melbourne scene. To celebrate the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Z1 class No. 81 was decorated as Karachi W11 by a team of Pakistani artists. A sculpture of a flying W class tram was a centrepiece at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, while in 2013 a sculpture of Melbourne’s last W class tram was erected ‘end on’ at the corner of Flinders and Spencer Streets, the work of artist David Michael Bell.

The new Melbourne Art Trams project was undertaken as part of the annual Melbourne Festival [4], sponsored by Creative Victoria, Public Transport Victoria and Yarra Trams. The Festival is held in the month of October, with the art trams being launched during this month. The Art Trams project is viewed by the art world as very much a renewal of the original Transporting Art project, conducted between 1978 and 1993, despite the total change in the artistic medium. To emphasise this continuity, for the 2018 season one of the tram wraps selected was a re-imagining of the late David Larwill’s No. 722, originally painted in 1986 for the second series of art trams.

Apart from this reimagined work, three artists have now produced art trams for both the second series of painted trams, and the revived Melbourne Art Trams project: Jeffrey Makin, Eve Glenn, and Megan Evans.

In 2013, the first annual art tram season produced eight art trams, allowing for one to be based at each tram depot, allowing the maximum coverage of art trams across the routes of the Melbourne tramway system. Unlike the previous series of art trams, a variety of different tram classes have been used. The art tram wraps are removed at the end of April the following year.

Brooke Andrew's No. 3509 of 2013. Photograph courtesy Mal Rowe Brooke Andrew’s No. 3509 of 2013 was one of the first works released under the renewed Art Trams project run by the Melbourne Festival. The work combines the shape of the modern tram, the infinite potential of the computer-generated vinyl wrap technology and age-old indigenous decorative practices in an eye-catching manner.
Photograph courtesy Mal Rowe.
The inspiration for this artwork is driven by a contemporary rendering of a Wiradjuri design found traditionally on tree dendroglyphs and shield design – though similar designs are used across Australia from the Western Desert to Victoria. These designs are an important marker for public and private ceremony, and to mark place. To place a pattern on a tram for Melbourne is an exciting proposal that continues to recognise not only an engagement with tradition but as a camouflage and trompe l’oeil effect of the tram disappearing in and out of the city scape; creating an optical illusion.

    – Brooke Andrew

Since 2014, the artists selected have conformed to a fairly consistent set of principles: one of the trams would be produced by an indigenous artist, another would be based on community participation, while a third would be reserved for a young, developing artist. The remaining art tram works would be selected from more established artistic talent. Within these guidelines, the selection committee is primarily focused on artistic merit as the prime criterion for commissioning works.

In 2018, prior to the commencement of the Melbourne International Arts Festival, it was confirmed that the Melbourne Art Tram project would continue for another three years as an integral part of the festival.

Appendix A – First Series Art Trams 1978 - 1982

Artist Year Class Tram
Clifton Pugh 1978 W2 504
Mirka Mora 1978 W2 243
Peter Corrigan 1978 W2 567
Andrew Southall 1978 W2 234
Mike Brown 1978 W2 336
Leo Kossatz 1978 W2 525
Erica McGilchrist 1979 W2 497
Don Laycock 1979 W2 340
John Nixon 1979 W2 503
Craig Gough 1979 W2 607
Gareth Sansom 1979 W2 345
Rosemary Ryan 1979 W2 502
Howard Arkley 1980 W2 384
Trevor Nickolls 1981 W2 444
Stewart Merrett 1982 W2 439
Paul Mason 1982 W2 567

Appendix B – Second Series Art Trams 1986 - 1993

Artist Year Class Tram Title Sponsor
Michael Leunig 1986 SW5 816 Garden of Eden Victorian Government
Stieg Persson 1986 SW5 721   Herald & Weekly Times
Michael Johnson 1986 SW5 758   State Insurance Office
Robert Jacks 1986 SW5 760   The Focus Group
Lesley Dumbrell 1986 SW5 731   Carlton & United Breweries
David Larwill 1986 SW5 722   Associated Communication Enterprises
Mental As Anything 1986 SW5 726   EON-FM
Eve Glenn & Megan Evans 1986 SW5 829 The Peace Tram Victorian Government
Merrin Eirth 1987 SW5 682 Hello, Goodbye Desire ABC Radio
Jeffrey Makin 1987 SW5 738 The Desert Tram Dulux Australia
Kim Donaldson 1987 SW5 802   Challenge Bank & Windsor Hotel
Elizabeth Gower 1988 SW5 806   Canon
Bob & Lorraine Jenyns 1989 SW5 723   Wattyl
Micky Allan 1989 SW5 724   Bunge Australia
Lin Onus 1991 SW5 829   Vic Health & The Heart Foundation
Jenny Watson 1992 SW5 726   Vic Health & The Heart Foundation
Brett Colquhon 1992 SW5 760   Vic Health & The Heart Foundation
Philip Faulks 1992 SW5 814   Vic Health & The Heart Foundation
Terry Matassoni 1992 SW5 837   Vic Health & The Heart Foundation
Aleks Danko 1993 SW5 824   Vic Health & The Heart Foundation

Appendix C – Third Series Art Trams 2013 - 2018

Artist Year Class Tram Title
Bindi Cole 2013 C1 3008 Lakorra
Rose Nolan 2013 Z3 151 It’s OK to Be Alright
Luke Cornish (E.L.K.) 2013 Z3 209  
Jon Campbell 2013 SW6 925  
Brooke Andrew 2013 D1 3509  
Freya Pitt 2013 Z3 183 Going Somewhere
David Wadelton 2013 B1 2002  
Joining Forces 2013 A2 259  
Rone 2014 Z3 209  
Jeff Makin 2014 A1 252  
James Cattell 2014 SW6 925 Melbourne Dreamscape
Gabriella Possum Nunngurrayi 2014 C1 3008 Grandmother’s Country
Callum Croker 2014 Z3 158 Parrot Tulip Tram
Janine Daddo 2014 D1 3509  
Kristin Headlam 2014 Z3 151  
Christian Thompson 2014 A2 259  
Amanda Morgan 2015 B2 2009 Architectures of Light
James Voller 2015 Z3 175 Moving House
Martine Corompt 2015 A2 270 Look Both Ways
Tom Vincent 2015 SW6 925  
Matthew Bird & Phillip Adams 2015 D1 3509 Rooftop Landing & Freeway
Stephen Banham 2015 C1 3008 Cluster
Louise Furthon 2015 Z3 209  
Kathy Temin 2015 Z3 136 The Koala Tram
Eddie Botha 2016 Z3 209  
Joceline Lee 2016 A2 270  
Reko Rennie 2016 B2 2013 Always Was, Always Will Be
Eliza Dyball 2016 B2 2123  
Mimi Leung 2016 C1 3008  
Damiano Bertoli 2016 D1 3509  
Jon Cattapan 2016 B2 2128  
Megan Evans & Eve Glenn 2016 B2 2018 The Women’s Mural
Matthew Clarke 2017 B2 2012  
Josh Muir 2017 B2 2054 Murrunghurk
Robert Owen 2017 C1 3008 Beautiful Stranger
St Albans Heights Primary School’s Community Hub 2017 D2 5002  
Oliver Hutchison 2017 C2 5106  
Bushra Hasan 2017 B2 2007 Tramjatra
Justine McAllister 2017 A2 273  
Emma Anna 2017 D1 3532 The Language of Fracture
Hayley Millar-Baker 2018 B2 2009  
David Larwill 2018 A2 273  
Stephen Baker 2018 B2 2054  
Nick Howson 2018 D2 5002  
Oli Ruskidd 2018 C1 3003  
Oslo Davis 2018 D1 3532 Swimming Through Traffic
Troy Innocent 2018 C2 5106  
Valerie Tang 2018 B2 2012 Marvellous Melbourne



Australian Financial Review (2018), The story of Melbourne’s art trams, 28 September 2018

Ballarat Tramway Museum (2015), Fares Please, June 2015

City of Melbourne (2013), A new kind of art tram for Melbourne, 1 November 2013

Council of Australasian Museum Directors (2015), Melbourne Museum, 11 October 2015

Creative Victoria (2017), Art that moves you – Melbourne’s Art Trams

eMelbourne (2008), Vault aka Yellow Peril

Melbourne International Arts Festival (2013), Melbourne Art Trams 2013 – Artists’ Statements

Melbourne International Arts Festival (2014), Melbourne’s Art Trams – 2014

Melbourne International Arts Festival (2015), Melbourne’s Art Trams – 2015

Melbourne International Arts Festival (2016), Melbourne’s Art Trams – 2016

Melbourne International Arts Festival (2017), Melbourne’s Art Trams – 2017

Melbourne International Arts Festival (2018), Melbourne’s Art Trams – 2018

Micky Allan (2008), Painting the Tram

Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Arts (1986), Melbourne’s Painted Trams

Old Treasury Building (2014), Transporting Art 1978-1993, Google Arts and Culture

Public Record Office Victoria, Series 16260 Transporting Art Program

Public Transport Corporation (1992), Contract – Art Tram – Public Transport Corporation/Philip Faulks, 23 December 1992

Sandbox Signs + Graphics (2018), A History of Vehicle Wraps

St Kilda News (2014), Melbourne Art Trams, 1 December 2014

The Age (2002), Tram Graveyard Reveals An Art Treasure, 7 June 2002

The Age (2010), Go-getting civic and business leader, 3 September 2010

The Age (2013), Melbourne’s art trams back on track, 29 May 2013

The Age (2016), Off the rails: Tracking down Melbourne’s lost art trams, 28 October 2016

VicTrack (2018), Reinventing Trams

Other sources

Letter dated 17 December 1986 from J.M. Morrison, Executive Director of the Victorian College of the Arts Foundation, to Erica McGilchrist.


[1] Erica McGilchrist’s No. 497 realised $3500 at auction. After the deduction of the Ministry of Arts’ reserve price of $1500, the remaining $2000 was granted to the Women’s Art Register..

[2] The new Melbourne Museum building in Carlton was designed by architects Denton Corker Marshall.

[3] Irreverently known at the time as one of ‘Jeff's big erections’, although its official title is Melbourne Gateway. The sculptural statement was designed in 1995 by prominent Melbourne architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall, the bright yellow of the ‘butter knife’ referencing the colour of Vault.

[4] From 2018, the Melbourne Festival was renamed the Melbourne International Arts Festival, to further differentiate it from other festivals held in Melbourne, such as the annual Comedy Festival.