Rozelle Tram Depot

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The tram depot ruins as viewed from the entrance

The former Rozelle tram depot, located in Glebe, New South Wales, is the largest remaining tram depot in Sydney and is one of five remaining tram depots in the state of New South Wales.[1] It was the second largest tram depot to service the Sydney network running at peak capacity of approximately 200 trams from 1918, until its closure in 1958.[2] It was amongst the largest and most sophisticated public tramway systems in the world [3] and was a major place of employment during its time of operation, employing up to 650 staff. The depot was one of few workplaces of significant size in the Glebe area during its period.[4]


Glebe tram depot2.jpg
Rozelle tram depot gardens, 1919
Rozelle Tram Depot Gardens

Opening on 17 April 1904 the Rozelle depot worked in conjunction with Newtown and Ultimo depots operating trams on the western, south western and Ryde tram routes. The depot was originally accessed by a reserved track from Glebe which ran along what is now known as Minogue Crescent.[5] Access to the depot was controlled by a signal box situated near the staff waiting room which also served as a changeover point for drivers.[6]

Constructed in stages from 1904 the depot was a 25 road car shed accommodating 96 carriages, this was gradually increased to 125 by 1907. Construction of the second half of the depot in that same year saw the depot cater for an additional 70 trams.[7] From 1918 depot capacity was increased to 200 tram cars.

In 1926 and 1928 the Rozelle Depot gardens won the Garden Competition which was held annually between tram depots.".[8]

A Returned Soldiers branch was established by Tramways employees and a Soldiers Memorial was erected on-site at the front of the Traffic Offices. This was to commemorate the various depot staff who served in both World War I and World War II. Eleven hundred and fifty-seven Tramway men were enlisted during World War I, 139 were either killed or went missing.[9][10]

Upon closure of the Ultimo depot on 27 June 1953 the Rozelle depot received additional trams to run the Darling St Wharf to Canterbury Route.

The depot ceased operations on 22 November 1958 upon closure of the Glebe line. On the following day the depot was cleared of all cars and the lines connecting the system were removed. [11]

Soon after its closure the depot was leased out to several different companies such as the Sydney City Council and the City Tram Association, whose primary use of the facility was for storage.[5] This use continued until the 1980s. The trams presently stored in the building relate to these two occupants.[12]

Summary phases of Former Rozelle Tram Depot site:

  • 1827-1904 Estuarine land, part of Toxteth Estate
  • 1904-1909 Tram Depot Establishment
  • 1904-1958 Tram Depot in Operation
  • 1959-1980s Storage, Depot and Workshop
  • 1980s-2004 General Store
  • 2004-2012 Vacant Building
  • Present Site under development by Mirvac

Current status[edit]

The depot contains some of the last trams to have operated on Sydney's original tram network

The depot at one stage contained six historic trams, some of which date back to the 1930s, as well as an old coach that has been heavily vandalised. The trams that were in near mint condition prior to 2000 have now been vandalised, stripped and painted with graffiti.[13] Five of the trams belonging to the Sydney Tramway Society were originally acquired and stored in the shed as part of a now defunct plan by the City of Sydney council to introduce a new heritage tramway throughout the Rocks. One of the trams currently stored in the depot is tram: No. R1 1995, the last tram to operate on Sydney's original tram network, entering Randwick workshops in February 1961 on the last day of operations.[14][15][16]

A development proposal submitted in 2005 that included multi-storey apartments, underground car parking and commercial offices ran into opposition from residents.[17][18] The site has been considered for a variety of uses, including a market, artists' studios, performance spaces .[13]

On 10 December 2010 it was announced the entire site had peen purchased by Mirvac to be redeveloped for medium density housing.



  • One section 6 Pence (5c) - Colloquially called a "Zac"
  • Two sections 9 Pence (7.5c=8c)cents)- Colloquially called a "Zac and a Treybit"
  • Three sections 1 shilling = 1/- Pence (10c)- Colloquially called a "Bob"
  • Four sections 1/3 Pence (12.5c=13c) (In words - 1 shilling and 3 pence - Colloquially called "one and thripence"}
  • Five sections 1/3 Pence (12.5c=13c)
  • Six sections 1/6 Pence (15c)- Colloquially "one and six"
  • Seven sections 1/6 Pence (15c)
  • Eight sections 1/9 Pence (17.5c=18c)- Colloquially "one and nine"
  • Nine sections 1/9 Pence (17.5c=18c)
  • Ten sections 1/9 Pence (17.5c=18c)

NOTE: There were 12 pennies to 1 shilling (10c)


  1. ^ page 88, Godden Mackay Logan "Former Rozelle Tram Depot Conservation Management Plan, Sept 2004.
  2. ^ Page 12 , Godden Mackay Logan "Former Rozelle Tram Depot - Conservation Management Plan", September 2004
  3. ^ Page 79, Godden Mackay Logan "Former Rozelle Tram Depot - Conservation Management Plan", September 2004
  4. ^ Pages 83-84, Godden Mackay Logan "Former Rozelle Tram Depot - Conservation Management Plan" Sept 2004
  5. ^ a b DR Keenan , The Western Lines of the Sydney Tramway System, 1993
  6. ^ Tram Ride
  7. ^ page 9, Godden Mackay Logan "Former Rozelle Tram Depot - Conservation Management Plan", September 2004
  8. ^ Page 11, Godden Mackay Logan "Former Rozelle Tram Depot - Conservation Management Plan", September 2004
  9. ^ Page 12 , Godden Mackay Logan "Former Rozelle Tram Depot - Conservation Management Plan, September 2004
  10. ^ Newspaper Article
  11. ^ Page 12, Godden Mackay Logan, "Former Rozelle Tram Depot - Conservation Management Plan" September 2004
  12. ^ Heritage Branch Website - Online Database
  13. ^ a b Sydney Architecture Images- Rozelle Tram Depot
  14. ^ Unpimp my tram: buffs want vandalised relics restored to former glory
  15. ^ Tramway heritage: Will it be Clover Moore or David Campbell who rises to the challenge? | The Southern Thunderer
  16. ^ Clover Moore: Restoring the Historic Harold Park Trams
  17. ^ Bondi tram
  18. ^
  19. ^ Sydney 1958

Coordinates: 33°52′35″S 151°10′41″E / 33.87644°S 151.17819°E / -33.87644; 151.17819