Site seeing – July 26

It’s a relatively quiet Sunday in Ballarat. After a wild night of gale force winds and driving rain, it’s been a quiet Sunday morning. Yesterday Mrs HVL and I headed into Melbourne to get away from town for the day. The Hawthorn Tramway Museum in Melbourne had an open day and we took the opportunity to ride public transport all the way to get there.

Site 1: The Melbourne Tram Museum – Hawthorn [Link Here –>]

Located at the junction of Routes 70 & 75 in Melbourne’s eastern suburb Hawthorn the Melbourne Tram Museum is a volunteer-based non-profit group composed of representatives from VicTrack, Heritage Victoria, honorary appointees with recognised expertise in tramway history and preservation, and representatives of the volunteer workers.

We visited as part of the Open House Melbourne. There are some outstanding examples of trams. Here are a selection of the photos taken on the day.

Why Z1 class tram #81 was highlighted

This tram represented the beginning of the renewal of Melbourne’s tramway system beginning in 1975, ending two decades of neglect by the Liberal State Government

It also signals the beginning of ongoing Federal intervention in the peacetime development of Australia’s urban infrastructure, which had previously been an entirely State government function. The Z class tram program was one of the enduring fruits of this fundamental shift in political responsibilities.

Number 81 was the first Z1 class tram to be built (the previous 80 trams of the Z class order were completed to a different standard, and upgraded later to the Z1 design).

In its new identity as ‘Karachi W11’, Z1 81 was used on Melbourne’s City Circle route for the duration of the Commonwealth Games, over the period 14-26 March 2006. The cultural experience for tram passengers was intensified by Bhangra and Pakistani music playing in the background. Special event conductors handed out souvenir tickets featuring the imagery and Urdu poetry displays typical of public transport tickets in Karachi.

After the end of the Games, Z1 81 was placed into storage, but was returned to limited service on the City Circle route on Friday evenings, from 3 November 2006 until 23 March 2007, as part of the City of Melbourne Living Arts program. Performances were conducted on its journey by artists, musicians and dancers during the sponsored program.

On completion of the season, Z1 81 was returned to storage, where it remained until it was placed into the collection of the Melbourne Tram Museum @ Hawthorn Depot on 19 June 2015.

You can find out more about this spectacularly beautiful tram by following the links in the resources section below.


  1. Bell Cord  – Journal of the Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot – Issue #28 – discusses the history and transformation of Z1 Class tram #81. A really great article about this car and it’s history and a lot of political history on the Melbourne Tramways that as an import I did not know about or understand.
  2. Yarra Trams Z1 Class No 81 ‘Karachi W11’



About Andrew Martin

After a long IT and Telecommunications career in the USA and Australia, I've decided I need a break, I've changed focus and now work in the public transport sector - a complete change of pace. Hobby wise I'm focused on model railway layout building and modelling. I blog, write and publish as often as I am able.
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