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The horse-powered trams of 19th century Melbourne

08 October 2020

Did you know Victoria's first trams were powered by horses?

In our latest From the Vault video, we bring you some amazing, rarely-seen photos of our earliest public transport, dating back to 1884 when the first horse tramway was built in Fairfield.

Two horses pulled a carriage containing about 20 passengers along rails, providing considerably more comfort than the original 'horse bus' which offered a bumpy ride on Melbourne's early roads!

Soon, private companies operated tramways all around Melbourne, with one in Sandringham using large double decker cars which could seat 40 people or more and needed three horses to pull.

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About From the Vault

From the Vault is a video series that delves into the surprising, poignant and sometimes funny stories behind the unique archival images held in the State Library Victoria collection.

Find out more and view all episodes.