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Painting Melbourne's trams

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

According to Metro Trams, with over 250km of lines, Melbourne has the world's largest network of urban trams.  Ernest never drove a car and often travelled by trams to create his extensive home city "Melbourne Collection' of paintings and drawings....many of which are permanently located in well known galleries & museums.





Iconic Melbourne Trams


Whilst horse drawn and cable trams commenced in the mid 1880s, the first electric powered service commenced in 1889. Melbourne's vintage and much loved green/gold W Class trams still travel the 'City Circle' route which passes many of Melbourne's landmarks and tourist attractions and used as a tram restaurant


The width of the 1920s series was less than the second W Class series.  The first of these from the 1930s had pull down canvas blind entrance doors, replaced later with sliding doors similar to trams manufactured from the 1940s onwards. Melbourne's vintage and much loved green/gold W Class trams still travel the 'City Circle' route which passes many of Melbourne's landmarks and tourist attractions. 


Melbourne's iconic W Class trams were locally designed and manufactured and be driven from either end whilst those in many other cities of the world can only be driven from one end, therefore requiring a terminus turn around before returning in the other direction.


Following their retirement from servicing Melbourne's tram network, some have been relocated to the Victorian regional cities of Bendigo and Ballarat.  Others now travel the streets of Christchurch New Zealand and the USA cities of Memphis, Seattle and San Francisco. 


Painting Melbourne's trams



Ernest never drove a car and often travelled by trams to create his extensive home city "Melbourne Collection' of paintings and drawings....many of which are permanently located in well known galleries & museums.


Here we see Ernest finishing his impressive painting of  'Melbourne Trams'. Ernest's 1981 painting of two Melbourne W Class trams are part of the 756 of this series manufactured between 1923 and 1956. The Collins Street trams were probably manufactured in the 1940s and likely remained in general service until approx the year 2000. This painting was purchased in 1982 by the company GJ Coles now Coles Supermarkets but the print is available for purchase


Another painting from that period was titled  'Tramway repairs at night  which was awarded  "Highly Commended" at the 1981 'Lord Mayor's Acquisitive Art award' and purchased by the Melbourne Metropolitan Tramways Board (now Metro Trams) again available for purchase



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