Brisbane Tramways by A.J. Parkes:
In 1878 a Royal Commision into the linking of the Southern and Western railways in Queensland was told that railway in Brisbane would cost 14,000 pounds per miles whereas road tramways would cost 3400 to 8000 pounds per mile. The next year a ‘Brisbane Railway and Tramway Company and also a “Brisbane Steam Tramway Company” were being proposed. However, due to legal concerns about the saftey and ammenity of steam engines and/or raised rails upon roads, the issue was delayed. Some felt the government, not private concerns, should build such a service. It took until 1882 before legislation was passed allowing the construction of a tramways, and then until December 1883 before the ‘Brisbane Tramway Company’ was registered. Even then, it remained a contentious issue and it was not until May 1884 that construction commenced. Official serviced commenced on the 10th August 1885 by horse drawn tram owned by the ‘Brisbane Metropolitan Tramway and Investment Co.’ Unfortunately, only 6 weeks later the first fatality occurred when an employee was run over.
The first item of uniform provided to tramwaysmen was a cap. It took some years for matching tunics and trousers to be supplied. The first mention of tramways uniforms in the newspapers was in 1899.
Electric trams ran from June 1897 although horse-drawn trans were in use until 1899. With competition from buses and private cars the service became uneconomical by 1948 and was wound down; the last services running on 13th April 1969.
State Library of Queensland