A New Transit Network is Inaugurated in Western Australia

October 30, 1905

In Australia, a newly built electric tram system first went into service in the town (present-day city) of Fremantle in the state of Western Australia. This system, which was owned and operated by the Fremantle Municipal Tramways, was the first-ever public transportation network in that town. In an even broader context, the Perth-based Daily News reported that the official debut of trams in Fremantle “was an event of special significance inasmuch as it marked the largest municipal undertaking of its kind in the Australian States.”

The Daily News also described the jubilant atmosphere in Fremantle during the Monday morning on which the tram system opened. The newspaper recounted, “The town was [in a festive mood] today, when shortly after 11 o’clock, three gaily decorated cars laden with representative citizens and distinguished visitors moved from the car barn, and traveled to the Fremantle Town Hall.” The Daily News then noted, “There a large concourse of interested spectators had assembled, the arrival of the cars being heralded with cheers.”

The “representative citizens” on hand for these festivities included Michael Samson, the mayor of Fremantle. Samson, according to the Daily News, said that he found it “extremely gratifying” to take part in such a celebration.

This tram system remained in operation for 47 years, extending its reach to other communities in that region of Western Australia. These trams attained their peak ridership during World War II. After the war, however, the system encountered major financial hardships due to the increasingly high costs of electrical power. This transit enterprise was shut down altogether in 1952, with the network’s final tram run taking place on November 8 of that year.

For more information on the tram system in Fremantle, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trams_in_Fremantle

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