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    Adelaide - Transport


    Horse Trams

    Also see:
    Place Names - Norwood
    Place Names - Kensington

    Horse Trams, Tram Drivers and Boy Conductors

    (Taken from Geoffrey H. Manning's A Colonial Experience)

    Under the laws which regulated horse trams there was no effectual check on the number of passengers which could be carried for a conductor could overload his tram to any extent and be safe from prosecution because the private Act of Parliament controlling the company was superior to any corporation by-laws - so the tramcars were overloaded with impunity and the passengers who complained had no redress.

    It was not uncommon to find that a car, supposed to be licensed to carry sixteen passengers inside and nineteen outside, would have as many as twenty-five within and more than thirty without. To remonstrate with the driver during this overloading process was to no avail for he would disregard all remonstrances and take on passengers as long as he could pack them in.

    The laws governing tram cars were eventually amended to give local authorities control over some aspects of the companys' operations and the first prosecution was launched in 1906 when Arthur Hutchinson of West Hindmarsh, a driver for the Adelaide, Hindmarsh and Henley Beach Tramway Company, was charged with permitting "a larger number of passengers than was specified in the licence, viz., five in excess."

    Counsel for the defence suggested that the alleged overcrowding was "due to the greed of the company and its desire to draw in the filthy lucre." After heated exchanges between counsel for both sides the unfortunate defendant was allowed to leave without a blot on his escutcheon for the learned magistrate ruled that portion of the council by-laws were repugnant at law.

    Another inconvenience was the presence of dogs which were permitted in tram cars "to the great annoyance of persons inside' while the ever-present drunkard was "far more objectionable than a dog in a crowded vehicle."

    Roomy carriages became close and stuffy and the loading at the top and on the steps was a check on ventilation. There were notices in the trams that any complaint or incivility or otherwise should be made to the secretary of the company in writing but they probably found "themselves in a correspondence which [ended] in nothing."

    It was suggested that an appeal to the driver would be useful, but his hands were full minding his horses and attending to the call bell and the state of the traffic in the streets, and had no time in transit for altercations and no power to do anything except complain upon return to the depot - the long hours they had to keep were against any special zeal in this direction.

    Each tramcar had a driver and conductor, the latter usually a boy. The smaller cars had fare-boxes into which all the fares in tickets or money was put. At the end of each journey the driver and conductor delivered a weighbill showing the number of persons carried, and this of course had to agree with the tickets and money in the box, of which the company manager kept the key.

    In the large cars the stationary boxes were closed and the tram conductor went around with a box which would have served very well for church collection purposes. Its secular character was, however, manifest from its being so constructed that money or tickets could not be taken from it except by use of the key.

    In the smaller cars a strap attached to a bells in front and behind ran along the whole length of the vehicle above the gangway, and by pulling it a passenger could secure the immediate attention from the driver. In the larger, the alarm bells were rung by touching a cord, which ran along either side above the windows, that on the driver's side being intended for him and the other for the conductor.

    The men who drove the cars were most "respectable and steady; their daily task [was] severe and protracted."They worked from twelve to fourteen hours a day and had no special times for meals - they took them when they could. If they were off duty from sickness or any other cause, they had to "place a shilling for every trip made in their absence.' They received a holiday every other Sunday and one week every year, the latter being a concession only introduced in 1881.

    In 1891 the Register carried an informative and perceptive article, purporting to be the story of a day of a tram car written in the first person; it reads in part:

    Horse Tram Boys

    Many youths from working class families were employed as conductors on the horse trams and one of them has left us with a poignant account of his life, both at home and in the work place:

    A newspaper editor had some remarks on the young boys employed as conductors:

    Tram Horses

    A typical tramway company had a stable to accommodate ninety horses made of corrugated iron on a framework of timber. Stalls were constructed in two tiers, each having two rows of stands, the horses in the two standing with their heads inward; each row of stalls accommodated twenty-two. The stands were separated in three of the rows by poles from the manger suspended by chains, but in the case of the fourth the divisions are fixtures, as it was found that some of the horses, from being vicious or fidgety, required to be kept more to themselves than the rest.

    At the southern end was the feed-room and from this two small tramways ran down between the mangers of each tier. A truck carrying the feed ran along from end to end at feeding-time, the contrivance saving a great deal of labour, as each box was easily supplied by them men with its measures of feed as the truck passes along. There were eight stablemen kept busy grooming and effecting changes of teams which were effected 70 times each day. Two trips a day were done by each horse.

    With the introduction of electric trams the horses could well have expected being "put out to grass' but their owners had different ideas as the following report indicates:

    The auction was conducted by Messrs Coles and Thomas and "cockies" came from everywhere and were in the majority and "the tramway authorities showed appreciable enterprise by charging 1/- [10 cents] for admission to the auction."

    After the horses had been disposed of, wagon-loads of harness, obviously as old as some of the animals, "and older than many of the jokes said about them' were brought under the hammer; this sale accounted for 150 in an overall total of 2,032.

    General Notes

    A history of trams in Adelaide is in the Advertiser,
    24 January 1934, page 29.

    "Horse Tramways" is in the Chronicle,
    17 December 1870, page 12c,
    "Economic Street Tramways" is in the Register,
    21 February 1871, page 5a,
    25 February 1871, page 13g,
    "Street Tramways" on
    10 February 1872, page 13g,
    30 March 1872, page 13d,
    "A Street Tramway Scheme" on
    24 April 1875, page 13f,
    15 April 1876, page 2g,
    "Another Street Tramway Scheme" on
    15 April 1876, page 2g,
    "The City Tramway Company" on
    10 June 1876, page 8b.
    A sketch is in the Pictorial Australian in
    October 1878.

    An editorial on a street tramway scheme is in the Register,
    22 April 1875, page 5b; also see
    23 April 1875, page 5b and
    26 June 1875, page 4g,
    15 February 1876, page 2b,
    7 August 1877, page 7c,
    19 February 1876, page 4b,
    1 February 1887, page 4f.

    "Death of Mr Mortimer Burman", the driver of the first horsecar, is reported in The News,
    18 January 1930, page 4f.

    "Our First Street Tramway" is in the Register,
    18 September 1878, page 6d; also see
    30 December 1878, page 7c.
    An interesting article entitled "The Tramcar Boy" appears on
    28 April 1884, page 6a.

    "The Corporation and the Adelaide & Suburban Tramway Co." is in the Register,
    10 June 1876, page 4e; also see
    11 and 25 November 1878, pages 4g and 6d,
    3 December 1878 (supp.); also see
    5 and 7 May 1881, pages 4d and 1c (supp.).

    Information on horse tramways is in the Register,
    8 and 9 June 1876, pages 5b and 4f,
    26 August 1876, page 4f and
    13 September 1876, page 4c;
    a brief history of their opening appears on
    1 January 1907, page 7d.

    Also see Observer,
    11 August 1877, page 12g,
    22 February 1877, page 6b,
    8 August 1877, page 7c,
    7 September 1877, page 5f,
    29 and 30 October 1877, pages 4e and 5g,
    14 November 1877, page 4f,
    1 December 1877, page 2e,
    29 January 1878, page 6a,
    1 March 1878, page 6f,
    11 June 1878 (supp.), page 2a,
    27 July 1878 (supp.), page 1a,
    30 July 1878, page 6e.
    A sketch is in Frearson's Weekly,
    17 August 1878, page 185.

    "The New Tramway Cars" is in the Observer,
    6 October 1877, page 16c.

    "Tramrail-Cleaners" is in the Register,
    27 June 1878, page 6e.

    "Tramcar Conductors" is in the Register,
    30 December 1878, page 7c; also see
    21 October 1879, page 6e,
    "Boy Conductors" on
    19 May 1880, page 4g.

    "Riding on Omnibus Steps" is in the Register,
    30 January 1879, page 6g; also see
    5 February 1879, page 6f.

    Tramway accidents are discussed in the Observer,
    17 May 1879, page 14c,
    9 August 1879, page 7g,
    13 September 1879, page 13d,
    17 July 1880, page 109b,
    28 May 1881, page 948d,
    25 September 1891, page 6g,
    5, 6, 8, 10, 13 and 20 September 1910, pages 4c-6d, 4h-5g, 5g, 15g, 8i and 9b.

    "Tramway Company Grievances" is in the Register,
    24 June 1879, page 1d (supp.).

    "The Adelaide Tramway Companies" is in the Express,
    8 July 1879, page 2g,
    "Tramcar Annoyances" on
    10 February 1880, page 3g.

    Also see Register,
    24 June 1879 (supp.), page 1d,
    8 January 1880, page 6d,
    30 August 1880, page 6g,
    1 and 2 September 1880, pages 6a and 7a,
    14 and 26 January 1881, pages 5c and 2a (supp.),
    21 and 26 February 1881, pages 5b and 1a (supp.),
    13 January 1881, page 2b,
    14 May 1881, page 2c.

    "Smoking on Tramcars" is in the Register,
    9 and 10 February 1880, pages 7c and 6f.
    "The Sufferings of Non-Smokers" is in the Express,
    21 February 1882, page 3d;
    18 February 1882, page 26c.
    Also see SA - Social Matters.

    "Proposed Suburban Tramways" is in the Register,
    9 December 1880, page 5d.

    A poem titled "The Tram Boy" is in The Lantern,
    18 and 25 September 1880, pages 10 and 6;
    cartoons on
    15 and 22 November 1884.

    "Tramcar Manufacture" is in the Register, 15 November 1881, page 6b.

    A fatal tram accident is reported in the Register,
    12 November 1881, page 6c.

    Information on tramcar drivers' hours of work is in the Express,
    19 June 1882, page 2b.

    "Larrikins on Tramcars" is in the Register,
    10 July 1883, page 1e (supp.).
    Also see Larrikinism.

    A daring robbery at the tramway's office in North Adelaide is reported in the Register,
    18 July 1882, page 6g.

    A map showing roads, railways and tramways is in the Pictorial Australian in September 1889 (supplement).

    An early photograph of King William Street showing horse trams and hansom cabs is in the Chronicle,
    20 June 1935, page 38.

    "Suburban Railways and Tramways" is in the Express,
    13 January 1879, page 3c;
    30 August 1880, page 6g.

    "Tramcars and Their Working" is in Frearson's Weekly,
    24 January 1880, page 451.

    "A New Colonial Industry", the making of tram cars, is in the Advertiser,
    15 November 1881, page 1d (supp.); also see
    15 November 1881, pages 4g-6b,
    26 October 1882, page 3b.

    "The Tramways and the Public" is in the Register,
    30 March 1883, page 4g,
    2 and 7 April 1883, pages 2e (supp.) and 1f (supp.).

    Cruelty to tram horses is reported in the Register,
    15 July 1882, page 6c.

    Also see Register,
    5 May 1881, 4d,
    30 March 1883, page 4g,
    30 May 1883, page 4e,
    29 August 1883, page 5b,
    25 September 1883, page 6a,
    23 April 1886, page 7e,
    1 March 1887, pages 4h-6f,
    31 July 1888, page 7f,
    2 and 4 August 1888, pages 7g and 7c,
    1 September 1888, page 6f,
    10 and 11 September 1895, pages 6f and 6c,
    11 July 1899, page 7e,
    24 May 1900, page 3d,
    29 May 1901, page 5b,
    28 November 1903, page 8h.

    An informative editorial is in the Advertiser,
    19 April 1881, page 4c.

    "Tram Regulations and Overcrowding" is in the Register,
    20 September 1883, page 4f; also see
    27 October 1884, page 7a.

    "The Tram Car Boy" is in the Register,
    28 April 1884, page 6a,
    3 May 1884, page 43c.

    "The General Tramways Bill" is in the Register,
    4 and 14 July 1884, pages 4h and 4h.

    Sketches of tram cars are in The Lantern,
    22 March 1884, page 4,
    8 November 1884, page 4; also see
    28 June 1884, page 3 (poem).

    A poem titled "The Tram Conductor" is in The Lantern,
    20 June 1885, page 22,
    "The Tram Driver" on
    26 June 1886, page 18.

    "Overloading Tramcars" is in the Register,
    8 and 9 December 1885, pages 5h and 7e,
    31 July 1888, page 7f.

    "Tramway Traffic" is in the Observer,
    2 January 1886, page 33e.

    An interview with the manager of the Adelaide and Suburban Tramway Company is in the Advertiser,
    29 April 1886, page 6d.

    "The Adelaide Tramway System" is in the Register,
    1 February 1887, page 4f.
    A cartoon is in The Lantern,
    5 February 1887, page 1.

    Information on a Tramway Employees' Association is in the Register,
    25 August 1887, page 5b.

    "The One-Horse Cars" is in the Register,
    9 September 1887, page 7f.

    "Reducing Tram Fares" is in the Register,
    8 April 1889, page 5a.

    A cartoon is in The Lantern,
    7 June 1890, page 19.

    "The Story of a Tramcar - City and Suburban Locomotion" is in the Register,
    16 November 1891, page 6c,
    "Gas v Tram Horses" on
    2 September 1897, page 4f.
    Events of a day spent with a tram driver are narrated on
    20 July 1903, page 6g.

    "Overcrowded Tramcars" is in the Register,
    14 May 1890, page 4g,
    8 December 1890, page 5c,
    14 May 1890, page 2b,
    5 September 1894, page 3f.

    "The Tramways of Adelaide" is in the Register,
    5 July 1890, page 4g,
    "The Tramway Employees" on
    16 July 1890, page 3h,
    "The Hours of Tramdrivers" on
    2 August 1890, page 5a.

    "Regulation of Tram Traffic" is in the Register,
    28 July 1891, page 5a.

    "City and Suburban Locomotion - The Story of a Tramcar" is in the Observer,
    21 November 1891, page 41e.

    Also see Register,
    14 May 1890, page 4g,
    5 July 1890, page 4g,
    13 March 1891, page 4f,
    29 April 1891, page 4f,
    7 May 1891, page 7a,
    28 July 1891, page 5a,
    10 March 1893, page 7b,
    1 June 1894, page 4f,
    24 October 1894, page 4h:

    "Strike on a Tram Line" is in the Observer,
    14 January 1893, page 32d,
    "The Tramway System of Adelaide" in the Weekly Herald,
    30 November 1894, page 1a.

    Also see Register,
    24 and 26 October 1894, pages 4g and 6g,
    7 November 1894, page 6e,
    30 May 1895, page 6h,
    21 August 1895, page 4f,
    1 December 1896, page 5a,
    7 May 1897, page 6e,
    8 June 1899, page 4e,
    11 and 20 July 1899, pages 7e and 6d,
    26 August 1899, page 9a,
    11, 18, 19, 25 and 26 April 1900, pages 8a, 7g, 4d, 9h and 3e.

    The introduction of electric light is reported in the Observer,
    17 June 1893, page 14e.

    "The Tramways and the Public" is in the Register,
    1 June 1894, page 4f.

    "Tram Fatality at Stepney" is in the Express,
    9 October 1894, page 2f.

    "Enfield and Prospect Tramline" is in the Register,
    16 and 21 August 1895, pages 5c and 7f.

    "Tramways, Fares and Competition" is in the Register,
    21 August 1895, page 4f.

    "Holiday Tram Traffic" is in the Register,
    13 November 1895, page 5b,
    "Tram Traffic" on
    3 September 1896, page 5b.

    "Tramcars and Boys" is in the Register,
    7 May 1897, page 6e.

    "Our Tramcar System" is in the Register,
    29 June 1897, page 5f.

    "Trial of a New Pattern Tramcar" is in the Register,
    4 September 1897, page 9d.

    "Adelaide and London Tramways Compared" is in the Advertiser,
    8 September 1898, page 10d,
    "Municipal Tramways - An Important Movement" on
    19 June 1899, page 7d.

    "Adelaide - Its Tramway System" is in the Chronicle,
    25 February 1899, page 27a; also see
    Weekly Herald,
    14 and 21 September 1901, pages 6 and 6b.

    "Nationalisation of Tramways" is in the Express,
    24 March 1899, page 3g.
    "Municipalization of Tramways" is in the Register,
    25, 29 and 31 May 1900, pages 6g, 4b and 4d,
    6, 7, 18 and 20 June 1900, pages 6g, 2g and 5h,
    11 July 1900, page 6c.

    "Our Tramways - Shall They be Improved?" is in the Register,
    3 and 8 June 1899, pages 4d and 4e.

    "Who Should Own the Tramways" is in the Register,
    20 July 1899, page 6e.

    "Sale of Lines Approved" is in the Register,
    26 August 1899, page 9a.

    A street scene is sketched in The Critic,
    16 December 1899, page 53.

    The ill-usage of horses is the cause for complaint in the Advertiser,
    4, 8 and 12 July 1899, pages 7a, 8i and 4f,
    5 August 1904, page 4d,
    31 December 1904, page 8g,
    4 January 1905, page 10b,
    1 June 1907, page 14d,
    5 June 1908, page 6g.
    Also see North Adelaide - Transport.

    "Municipalizing the Tramways" is in the Register,
    31 March 1900, pages 7a-9h.

    "The City Council and the Tramways" is in the Register,
    11 April 1900, page 8a.

    "The Tramway Question" is in the Register,
    19 April 1900, page 4d-f,
    7 November 1900, page 4c,
    12 and 29 August 1901, pages 4b and 4c,
    18 September 1901, page 4c,
    20 December 1902, pages 6d-7b,
    21 September 1903, page 4c,
    27 February 1904, page 10a,
    2 and 3 March 1904, pages 6d and 5a.

    "The Tramway Problem" is in the Register,
    5 and 10 May 1900, pages 4d and 7c.

    "Holiday Traffic" is in the Observer,
    13 April 1901, page 30a.

    A complaint is made on 20 July 1901 at page 8h of the Register:

    Also see Register,
    4 and 11 August 1902, pages 4e-h and 4f,
    20 July 1903, page 6g,
    8 February 1904, page 4e,
    30 September 1905, page 6g,
    28 March 1906, page 5a,
    4 April 1906, pages 4c-5d,
    12 February 1908, page 9e-f,
    4 July 1912, page 6h.

    "Trams and Horses" is in the Register, 29 May 1901, pages 5b-8g:

    Also see Register,
    1 and 5 June 1901, pages 3h and 6f,
    20, 23 and 27 July 1901, pages 6h-8h, 6e and 3e,
    8 September 1902, page 4d,
    10 September 1902, page 8h,
    4 August 1903, page 3d.

    "The Tramways Bill" is in the Register,
    27 November 1901, page 6e.

    "Horrid Horse Car" is in the Register,
    6 February 1902, page 5b.

    "Concerning Tramcars" is in the Register,
    4 August 1902, page 4e.

    "Mr Owen Smyth and a Tramboy - A Dispute About the Fare" is in the Register,
    6 December 1902, page 4h.

    "Tram Horse Nomenclature" is in the Register,
    18 March 1903, page 4h.

    "Those Leaky [Tram] Cars" is in the Register,
    6 April 1903, page 4e.

    "What Kills Tram Horses?" is in the Express,
    30 May 1903, page 1e.

    "Overcrowding Tramcars/Tramways" is in the Register,
    4 August 1903, page 3d,
    5 August 1904, page 3g.

    "The Adelaide Trams - Suggested Improvements" is in the Advertiser,
    5 October 1903, page 5g.

    "Ingenious Tramboys" is in the Register,
    16 October 1903, page 5d.

    "A Dishonest Tram Boy - Ordered a Whipping" is in the Advertiser,
    27 October 1903, page 8b.

    "Penny Tram Sections" is in the Express,
    30 October 1903, page 2c.

    "Adelaide Tramways - Prospects of Amalgamation" is in the Register,
    9 January 1904, page 7b,
    16 January 1904, page 40d.

    A cartoon is in The Critic,
    11 May 1904, page 6.

    "Worn-Out Cars and Lines" is in the Express,
    8 and 16 February 1904, pages 4h and 4g,
    "Overcrowding Tramways" on
    5 August 1904, page 3g.

    "The Government and the Tramways" is in the Advertiser,
    15 and 19 July 1904, pages 4b and 6b; also see
    8 October 1904, page 4b.

    "Dirty, Uncivil and Inattentive Conductors" is in the Register,
    8 November 1904, page 8h.

    "A City Road Sensation - Tramcar Brake Failed" is in the Register, 1
    3 and 14 February 1905, pages 5a and 3f.

    "The Tramway Muddle" is in the Register,
    8 August 1905, pages 4c-5a.

    "Sale of Horse Cars" is in the Register,
    18 September 1909, page 12g.

    "New Tram and Motor By-Laws" is in the Express,
    20 September 1905, page 1f,
    2 October 1905, page 1d.

    "Tramway Travelling" is in the Register,
    30 September 1905, page 6g.

    "Tourists and Trams" is in the Register,
    5 January 1906, page 6a.

    "Tramcar Pleasantries" is in the Register,
    1 February 1906, page 7f.

    "Overloaded Tramcars - First Prosecution" is in the Register,
    15 August 1906, page 5a; also see
    28 November 1906, page 11a,
    19 September 1907, page 8e.

    "The Passing of the Tramways" is in the Register,
    1 January 1907, page 7d.

    A photograph of members of the Tramway Trust is in the Observer,
    9 February 1907, page 28.

    "Rowdyism on Tramcars" is in the Register,
    13 March 1907, page 4e.

    "Fatal Tram Accident" is in the Register,
    24 June 1907, page 4e.

    "Tram Drivers" is in the Register,
    18 July 1907, page 4f.

    An obituary of John Driscoll is in the Observer,
    10 August 1907, page 40d,
    of Alexander McGeorge on
    4 July 1908, page 40b.

    "Tram Conductor Prosecuted" is in the Register,
    8 November 1907, page 3d; also see
    25 November 1907, page 4e.

    "A Plea for Tram Horses" is in the Register,
    5 December 1905, page 9i,
    11 January 1906, page 7d,
    15 February 1907, page 4f.

    "Pity the Tram Horses" is in the Register,
    8 October 1904, page 4b,
    2 and 11 January 1906, pages 3i and 7d,
    "The Passing of Trams" on
    5 and 6 February 1907, pages 5c and 7a,
    15 February 1907, page 4f,
    "A Plea for Tram Horses",
    16 July 1907, page 6h,
    13 and 17 October 1908, pages 6g and 7f.

    "Tram Horses" is in the Register,
    16 July 1907, page 6h,
    "Crowded Trams and Cruelty" on
    5 June 1908, page 5c.

    "A Visitor's Impressions" is in the Register,
    21 February 1906, page 7i:

    "Concerning Tram Conductors" is in the Advertiser,
    15 October 1906, page 6f.

    "What the Trust is Doing - A Warning to Conductors" is in the Register,
    6 and 7 March 1907, pages 7e and 5g.

    A meeting of tram companies is reported in the Register,
    12 February 1908, page 9e.

    "The Passing of the Horse Trams" is in the Register,
    12 October 1908, page 6h.

    A sale of horses is reported in the Register,
    15 April 1909, page 7f,
    21 May 1909, page 7f,
    "Cruelty to Tram Horses" on
    21 May 1909, page 4f.
    A photograph is in the Observer,
    24 April 1909, page 29.

    "Exit Horse Trams" and a sale of horses and equipment is reported in the Advertiser,
    18 September 1909, page 9g,
    5 November 1909, page 10c,
    "Rejuvenated Tram Horses" in the Register,
    20 October 1909, page 5a,
    23 October 1909, page 18c.
    Photographs are in the Observer,
    9 February 1907, page 29.

    "Utilising Old Horse Car Depots" is in the Register,
    12 September 1919, page 6f.

    An obituary of W.J. Doddridge, horse tram driver, is in the Register,
    12 February 1924, page 8g.

    "Horse Trams to Trolley Bus" is in the Advertiser,
    3, 4 and 6 September 1937, pages 33d, 24b and 19e.

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