Monday, 14 May 2018

You won’t miss the brightly-coloured, 1930s-era Sydney tram, mounted proudly on iron tracks beside busy Pittwater Road in Narrabeen.

On 30 April, the restored tram as well as a new café situated alongside it, both part of the Community Centre, opened to the public.

Trams ran along Pittwater Road from Manly to Narrabeen from 1913 to 1939.The old Number 1753, R-class tram, formerly trundled between North Sydney and The Spit Bridge, transporting countless passengers from 1933 until it rattled to a halt finally in June 1958.

Number 1753 was then sold off in 1959 for the princely sum of £60 to an apple orchardist from Bilpin – to be used for sleeping accommodation.

Over time, Number 1753 became dilapidated before languishing eventually, covered with graffiti, in the former Rozelle Tram Depot before The Sydney Tramway Museum in Glebe took possession.

In 2014, the former Warringah Council came to Tram 1753’s rescue paying $3,000 for it.

A decision was made to resurrect the old tram and incorporate it into the Tramshed Arts & Community Centre, next to Berry Reserve in Narrabeen where it now sits.

Council’s trades staff teamed up with volunteer members of The Forest Community Men's Shed to restore Tram 1753 over a period of about 12 months to its former glory.

Neil Brough a Team Leader from The Forest Men’s Shed said the offer to help restore the tram presented itself and they took on the challenge.  

“The project was important to the group as a means of giving something back to the community and to raise the profile of the Forest Community Men's Shed with the community at large.

The most enjoyable aspect of the project was for some of us, it was a chance to re-use the skills and knowledge from our previous working lives and for the chance to learn some new skills, while all working together.

“The project gave us all the chance to show that we were still useful to the community, which is part of the Men's Shed ethos.

“Now it is complete there is pride and satisfaction in our accomplishment. We did it and we had great fun doing it! All in all, it was a great experience.” Mr. Brough said.

The old tram’s authentic two-tone green-and-cream exterior paintwork and its timber-panelled interior have been faithfully restored.

Tram 1753 is both a delightful reminder of a by-gone era and of the importance of public transport in meeting future transport needs.

The Community Centre is also undergoing a major refurbishment and will soon be open to the community for a wide range of arts, leisure, health and fitness activities.