Hawthorn Tramways Trust No 8

No 8 is an important part of the heritage tram collection at Hawthorn Depot, as it started its working life from this location in 1916, just a few weeks after the opening of the Hawthorn lines and the depot building itself. Furthermore, it is a typical example of how many obsolete Melbourne trams were recycled through the regional Victorian tramways of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, as a result surviving to the current day. And finally, it is one of the few of the secondhand trams that ran on the regional systems essentially unmodified from its original form.

HTT No 8 at Bendigo, April 2003. Photograph Mal Rowe HTT No 8 at Bendigo, April 2003.
Photograph courtesy Mal Rowe.

This tram was built in 1916 for the Hawthorn Tramways Trust by Adelaide-based car builders Duncan & Fraser Limited, entering service only a couple of weeks after the opening of the Hawthorn lines. The tramcar design is known as a single truck drop-end ‘California’ combination car, with a central closed saloon and open ends. This style of tramcar was first seen on the San Francisco cable tram system, and later adapted for use as an electric car design. The ‘California’ style car was a design compromise between a fully open tramcar such as NMETL No 13 and a fully closed saloon car.

It was originally fitted with electrically operated ‘Newell’ brakes, but these were expensive to maintain. In 1918 it was subsequently modified to be fitted with compressed air brakes operated with a manual lapping brake valve.

No 8 was subsequently taken over by the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board in 1920. It was classified as an ‘M’ class tram in its roster and renumbered 114. In 1930, this car, along with several others of the same type, was sold to the Electricity Supply Company of Victoria for service in Bendigo, where it was taken into the fleet as No 3. The State Electricity Commission of Victoria took ownership of the Bendigo tramways in 1931, retaining this car along with its number. It was never modified for use as a one-man car, and it was retired from service in 1956. Subsequently, it was donated by the SECV for preservation to the Australian Electric Traction Association, and passing on to the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria in 1963. This tram sat at the back of Malvern Depot for many years awaiting restoration.

In 1992, this tramcar was placed on long-term loan to the Victorian State Government, which then undertook a major restoration of the tramcar at Preston Workshops, restoring it back to near original condition as Hawthorn No 8. It is now on display as part of the collection of the Melbourne Tram Museum.

Technical details

Motors: 2 x 53hp (WH 225)
Controller: WH T1C
Truck: Brill 21E
Passengers: 38 (seated), 57 (standing)
Weight: 12 tons
Length: 31 feet 10 inches
Width: 8 feet 11 inches


Brill, D. (2001) History of the J.G. Brill Company, Indiana University Press

Cross, N., Budd, D., and Wilson, R. (1993) Destination City (Fifth Edition), Transit Australia Publishing

Cross, N., Henderson, R. and Kings, K. (1981) Destination City (Fourth Edition), Australian Electric Traction Association

Kings, K.S. and Richardson, J. (1965) Destination Eaglehawk, Traction Publications

Prentice, R. (1966) “Tramway by the River – A Brief History of the Hawthorn Tramways Trust”, Running Journal April 1966, Tramway Museum Society of Victoria