Last Days on the Trams

“They lie, the men who tell us, for reasons of their own,
That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown;
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My windowsill is level with the faces in the street”

— ‘Faces In The Street’ by Henry Lawson

Before freeways, old comrades celebrate public transport! Photo: Garner, Grahame. ‘Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.’ F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland.

In 1969, Labor Mayor of Brisbane, Clem Jones, declared that the Brisbane City Council (BCC) was going to shut down the trams.

In the early 1970s under the ‘Wilbur Smith Plan’ the BCC replaced trams with freeways.

Does this sound like Campbell Newman digging tunnels?

A one time press photographer, Graham Garner, thought what can I do?

During the last days of the trams, Graham went out to every tram terminus and each tram line and took photos.

Photo: Garner, Grahame. 'Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.' F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland

What foresight! Thanks Graham.

When politicians destroy or sell public assets perhaps union members might use their special skill in the way Graham used his skill with a camera.

Tram at South Brisbane Station Photo: Garner, Grahame. 'Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.' F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland

Visit Graham’s photo collection of Radical Protest and Street Marches in Brisbane, 1960-1980

Trams in depot opposite PA Hospital Photo: Garner, Grahame. 'Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.' F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland

Tram leaving South Brisbane Station. The banner on the front of the tram reads "Women's International League for Peace & Freedom" Photo: Garner, Grahame. 'Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.' F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland.

Onlookers on buildings during the Youth Campaign against Conscription, Brisbane, Australia in 1965. Paddy wagons, police and a tram can be seen on the corner of Queen and Albert Streets Brisbane. Facade of T & G corner with Spiers Chemists, Mimi building and NM centre can be seen in the background. Photo: Garner, Grahame. 'Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.' F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland.

1971 May Day march - Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley Photo: Garner, Grahame. 'Images documenting radical protest and street marches in Brisbane , 1960-1980.' F3400. Fryer Library, University of Queensland.

Ian Curr
Nov 2010

3 responses to “Last Days on the Trams

  1. The photo above captioned “1971 May Day march – Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley” I believe is actually the corner of Queen St and Albert St. In the background is the Black Cat Newsagent (now Hungry Jacks). There is an almost identical photo taken a few moments earlier at http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:3882. The facade of the building matches the building now housing Hungry Jacks on the Queen Street Mall.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Readers,

    As a follow up on this story I have received an email from Mal Rowe who, like Grahame Garner, took photos of Brisbane Trams in the late 1960s.

    Previously I had made a mistake in captions attributing one of the photos to Grahame when it actually was taken by Mal Rowe. I have corrected this mistake and some others that I made. I point out it was no mistake of Grahame’s or the Fryer Library which has an excellent collection of photos which is well catalogued. My apologies to Mal for my error.

    Here is a great photo that Mal took in 1968 of a tram turning out of Brunswick Street on its way up from New Farm Park near the Brisbane river.

    We are indebted to photographers like Mal and Grahame who have given us a sense of time and place.

    Ian Curr
    December 2010
    Mal Rowe's Photo of a Brunswick Street Tram in New Farm, Brisbane in 1968

    Like

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