Melbourne has one of the oldest and most extensive still existing tram networks in the world and the Melbourne Tram Museum at Hawthorn Tram Depot is a quintessential Melbourne experience that not many people seem to know about. Entry is by gold coin donation so it’s a cheap day out too!
The Melbourne Tram Museum is located inside a heritage listed original red brick tram depot and houses Melbourne’s heritage tram fleet. Some of the original building has been redeveloped into apartments at the rear.
Like the Fire Services Museum in East Melbourne, the Melbourne Tram Museum is solely run by volunteers with a background in tram services or simply tram enthusiasts. A volunteer will be happy to tell you the history of the trams and show you around, although each tram has an information plaque if you’re happy wandering around on your own.
VicTrack owns the depot and the majority of the exhibits. The museum contains twenty-one fully restored trams dating from 1906 to modern day, including several version of the iconic Melbourne W-class tram and a wonderfully bright Bollywood City Circle tram.
There’s also other memorabilia, including old tram seats, route boards, destination signage and a room about tram driver training.
You can enter each of the trams on display – read the notices, lounge on the leather seats and imagine all the journeys these carriages have taken!
Lady AB wasn’t so much interested in the history as getting into every single driver’s cab, climbing onto the high padded seat and having a spin of the steering wheel and levers.
Some trams even have bells you can ring!
Note that due to the fact that the museum used to be an operating depot and the heritage nature of the collection, it may not be possible to see everything if you have a pram or have limited mobility.
The walkways between tramcars is very narrow and it’s difficult to get into individual tramcars without assistance.
Some parts of the depot are more accessible, such as the training room, main room, depot gift shop/reception and the outer perimeter pathway.
Naturally, the gift shop sells Make Me Iconic’s iconic wooden toy tram and mini trams.
The tram is one of Melbourne’s true icons and if your little boy (or girl) loves trams and vehicles generally then head to the Melbourne Tram Museum and give them a thrill. Ding ding!
- Free 2 hour parking next door at Leonda;
- closest tram stop is stop 29 on tram routes #70 and #75.
- Entry by gold coin donation;
- Not really pram accessible as the spaces between tramcars are narrow and you can’t climb in and out of the old-fashioned trams without assistance;
- Parts of the depot are still accessible to prams, wheelchairs and those with limited mobility – the training room, main room, depot gift shop/reception, and a defined pathway following the outer perimeter of the depot shed;
- For more tram collections check out the Tramway Heritage Centre run by the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria, 330 Union Lane, Bylands; and
- Nearby child-friendly eateries include Serotonin, Friends of Mine and The Grand Hotel which are all a short drive towards Burnley.