Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board
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The Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board or MMTB (officially M&MTB) was an authority that was responsible for the tram network in Melbourne, Australia between 1919 and 1983. It was formed by the merger of a number of smaller tramway trusts and companies from throughout the city.
The M&MTB's main maintenance facility was Preston Workshops, with depots at Brunswick, Camberwell, Coburg, East Preston, Essendon, Footscray, Glenhuntly, Hawthorn, Kew, Malvern, North Fitzroy, South Melbourne (Hanna Street), and Thornbury.
In 1885 the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company was granted a 30-year monopoly franchise for the entire cable tram network in Melbourne, with no competing lines being permitted. The franchise ended in 1916, after which the operation of the entire cable network was handed over to the State government. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) was formed in 1918, and took over the cable tram network and the tramway trusts by 1920.
The MMTB was established under the provisions of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Act 1918 (No.2995). By an order of the Governor-in-Council dated 22 July 1919, the seven members of the Board, including a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman were appointed. The inaugural chairman was Alexander Cameron who had been chairman of the Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust.
The MMTB was given responsibility for the operation of all tramways within a sixteen kilometre radius of the Melbourne GPO, the only exceptions were the lines operated by the Victorian Railways. The MMTB was an independent statutory body which reported to the Minister of Public Works until 1952 and subsequently to the Minister of Transport.
Five people held the role of MMTB chairman from 1919 when the MMTB was established to 1983 when it was absorbed by the MTA.
- Alexander Cameron – 1919 to 1935.
- Hector Hercules Bell – 1936 to 1949.
- Robert Risson – 1949 to 1970.
- Francis Kirby – 1970 to 1976.
- Dudley Snell – 1976 to 1983.
The MMTB succeeded the Cable Tramway Board and the Royal Park Horse Tramway. The cable tramways were taken over by the Board on 1 November 1919, with the exception of the Northcote Cable Tramway, which was taken over on 20 February 1920.
The majority of the suburban electric tramway trusts were transferred to the Board on 2 February 1920:
- Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust
- Hawthorn Tramways Trust
- Melbourne, Brunswick and Coburg Tramways Trust
- Fitzroy, Northcote and Preston Tramways Trust
- Footscray Tramway Trust
- Northcote Municipality Cable Tramways
The Footscray and the Fitzroy, Northcote and Preston Tramways were only in the process of construction at the time the MMTB was established. The construction of the Fitzroy, Northcote and Preston Tramways was completed on 1 April 1920 and the Footscray Tramways on 6 September 1921.
In 1906, the North Melbourne Electric Tramway and Lighting Company operated an electric tram line from the terminus of the cable tram to Essendon. The MMTB did not take over the Company until 21 December 1922, when the State Government eventually bought the Company's interest in both the lighting and tramways undertakings.
Conversion of cable system
The cable tram lines were progressively converted by the MMTB to electric trams from the 1920s, with the last Melbourne cable tram operating on October 26, 1940.
Following the proclamation of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Act 1923, the Board was empowered to operate omnibuses. The Motor Omnibuses Acts of 1924 and 1925 removed competition on tramway routes. The power conferred on the Board to operate buses was intended only to be subsidiary to its main function of tramway operations.
Parks and Gardens
The MMTB acquired Wattle Park from the Hawthorn Tramways Trust, and developed the park as a place of recreation.
Responsibility for the functions of the MMTB passed to the Metropolitan Transit Authority with the passing of the new Transport Act 1983 which came into operation on 1 July 1983.
- Hoadley, David (1995). "Melbourne's cable trams". Trams of Australia.
- Jones, Russell (2009). "Alex Cameron: father of Melbourne’s electric trams". Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "PERSONAL: Alexander Cameron obituary". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 24 February 1940. p. 16. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Jones, Russell (2004). "Fares please! An economic history of the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board: Assessment of leadership". Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Jones, Russell (2008). "Hector Hercules Bell – ringing in the new". Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- Turnbull, Graeme (2001). "The Sir Robert Risson era: an enduring legacy". Friends of Hawthorn Tram Depot. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
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