Brisbane Trams - History in Pictures

"...the adoption of this system of street traffic marks a new era in our history... If the tram system in Brisbane accomplishes no other end it will prove that Queensland does not intend to be behind in this very fast age", boasted Brisbane's Telegraph newspaper on the eve of the first tram beginning public operation on August 12, 1885.  Horse drawn trams would later be replaced by electric trams in June 1897. This "new era" ended in 1969, as Brisbane scrapped its trams in favour of the more economical motor buses.  Many look back on Brisbane's tram era with a great deal of nostalgia. State Library of Queensland has some wonderful images documenting the age of Brisbane trams which can be perused on our One Search catalogue. Below is a sample...

Horsedrawn tram and driver ca. 1880. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 62530

Woolloongabba to Breakfast Creek Tram, Brisbane 1886. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 60180

Horse drawn tram, Brisbane ca. 1888. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg Woolloongabba to Breakfast Creek Tram, Brisbane 1886. Neg 67155

Busy Queen Street, Brisbane 1889. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-010-0001-0010

Looking across Victoria Bridge to South Brisbane ca. 1890. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Queen Street in Brisbane featuring Millikin the grocers and Edward and Lamb Drapery Store, c.1897. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-031-0001-0001

Brisbane Customs House 1898. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 65241

Imperial Hotel, George Street, Brisbane ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 13062

Open sided tram loaded with people destined for Toowong area, Brisbane ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 44042

Tram No. 81 Paddington to Bulimba Ferry route, Brisbane ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 137370

Christmas postcard featuring a coloured view of Queen Street, Brisbane, ca.1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 193118

Tram halted at the Albion Corner, March 1909. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APO-034-0001-0026

Tramway employees, Brisbane ca. 1910. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 203603

Special constables aboard a tram in Queen Street during the General Strike in Brisbane 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 10113-0001-0017

Trams at the Light Street Tram Depot in Newstead, Brisbane ca. 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 137409

Throngs of people turn out in the streets of Brisbane to farewell the Queensland military contingent 1914. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image APE-039-01-0008

Boogie saloon tram ca. 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 18793

Queen Street, Brisbane looking south ca. 1928. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204350

Tram trundles down Kingsford Smith Drive, Hamilton, Brisbane ca. 1928. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 10009

Tram at Waterworks Road terminus, Ashgrove, Brisbane 1929. Neg 7683

Official opening of the tram service at Rainworth, Brisbane 1930. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 133642

Brisbane tram featuring an advertisement for Fortitude Valley shopping ca. 1933. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 10341

Motorist squashed between two early electric trams, Brisbane 1935. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 62053

Strap hangers on a crowded Brisbane tram 1937. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 102795

Brisbane tram 1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 104198

Tram at Alderley, Brisbane. ca.1938. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 20336

Electric trams travelling along Queen Street from the Victoria Bridge, Brisbane 1939. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 33360

Trams held up on Victoria Bridge after a derailment at North Quay, Brisbane 1940. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 109643

Ian Gall cartoon captioned Lady with a punch recruiting female tram conductors during World War II in Brisbane, Queensland. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 109854

Peace celebrations Queen Street, Brisbane 1945. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 79096

Official opening of the Chermside tram extension 1947. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 6311

Collision between a bus and tram, Brisbane 1949. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 185423

Crowd observing the first tram in Mount Gravatt 1951. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 9988-0001-0016

Sheltering from rain at the Centenary Place tramstop in Brisbane, winter 1960. (Image in copyright). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 196991

Trams lined up in Queen Street Brisbane ca. 1965. (Image in copyright). John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image lbp00109

Myles Sinnamon - Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

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Trams were probably the most efficient form of public transport, Brisbane ever had. Good access in the street and frequent service. Terrible loss when the system was closed in 1969.

Fantastic images. Thank you.With reference to image 35 (Trams lined up in Queen Street Brisbane ca. 1965. ), on the left is a VE Valiant station wagon which was released in late 1967, and on the right is a yellow HK Monaro which was first released in early 1968. Hoping this might be helpful.Thank you again for the great images.RegardsJohn

Photo 67155 (Bus 103) 1886 Edward St Ferry, Gardens, Normal School is a side seated horse bus built by John Chalk. See files on John Chalk in your library.