History of the MTPA


The Haddon site prior to the construction of the any buildings on site, or the arrival of any trams. 
Photo – Anthony Smith collection.


W4 670 & W3 663 on arrival at the Museum in 1976, prior to construction of the Carbarn. 
Photo – Anthony Smith collection.


The early days at Haddon, with a saloon cable car trailer that was subsequently donated to the TMSV. 
Photo – Kym Smith Collection.


W3 656 forms the centre portion of the General Manager’s residence. 
Photo – Kym Smith


W4 670, W3 663 and VR 41 on site at Haddon before construction of the Carbarn, with W3 656 being converted into the residence. 
Photo – Anthony Smith Collection.


Construction of the front half of the Carbarn, 1979. 
Photo – Anthony Smith Collection.


The south-west curve during construction, prior to lifting and packing, with the overhead also under construction. 
Photo – Anthony Smith Collection.


The Melbourne Tramcar Preservation Association was originally formed by a group of individuals in late 1974 as the Haddon Tramway Workshops, a registered business under which it was proposed to preserve historic tramcars.

The site at Haddon was purchased and a start was made on the construction of what is now the Workshop building to house Ballarat 30, which was the first tram on site at Haddon.

During the 1970’s, the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board were withdrawing and disposing of large numbers of trams.  After careful inspection, W3 663 and W4 670 were chosen for preservation, W4 670 being the first to arrive on site on 23 April 1976, with W3 663 following on 31 May.  W3 656 was obtained as a source of spare parts on 19 July 1976, with the body of the tram used in the construction of an on-site residence. 

In 1977, W2 Class trams Nos. 357, 499, and 505 arrived on site.  499 and 505 were dismantled for spare parts.  1977 also saw the arrival of the body of Victorian Railways tram No. 41.  The body had been used as a shed at Brighton until obtained for preservation. 

A cable car trailer was also briefly part of the collection before being donated to the Tramway Museum Society of Victoria, and for a number of years the Association also owned a number of former MMTB half cab buses.

Construction of the Carbarn to house the trams was completed in mid 1979.  1979 also saw the separation of the initial group of individuals, which resulted in Ballarat 30 being part of the separation arrangements and removed from Haddon.

1981‑82 saw the arrival of W2 222 and 407 together with L 103 and 105.  W2 222 and L 105 were dismantled for parts, the parts from L 105 being put aside for the restoration of Victorian Railways tram No. 41, which previously had virtually identical equipment. 

An inaugural meeting to form the Melbourne Tramcar Preservation Association was held on 24 March 1984, with the Association incorporated on 26 May 1984.

Activities during the 1980’s centred around the construction of the infrastructure for the demonstration tramway.  Track, overhead and a substation to supply the DC power were constructed, together with other buildings and infrastructure including an electric and pneumatic test cell, a machine shop, and members facilities including kitchen and accommodation areas.

The first testing of the DC power supply occurred in May 1989 with a temporary connection allowing the compressor on W2 407 to be operated, however it was not until 29 July 1990 that W2 357 became the first tram to operate at Haddon.

Restoration of W4 670 was completed in April 1992, followed by W2 407 in December 1994.

The Association’s tramway was officially opened on 22 November 2000 during a visit by delegates attending the 25th Anniversary COTMA Conference in Ballarat.

In October 2001, Victorian Railways tram No. 41 was moved to Bendigo where it was jointly restored by MTPA members and Bendigo Tramways.  It was returned to service in Bendigo on 13 March 2005, and returned to Haddon on 1 April 2005.

Meanwhile L 103 was progressively being restored, having entered the Workshop on completion of W2 407.  Its trucks were modified and fitted with MV101 motors and it finally became operational on 24 November 2002.  Restoration of L 103 was completed in November 2007.

SW5 849 was added to the collection on 8 July 2008, replacing sister tram SW5 843 which had arrived previously at Haddon on 23 March 2007.  SW5 809, SW6 890, 901 and 947, and W7 1008 also arrived on site between 2007-8 for dismantling for parts, all being bodies that were accident damaged or in poor condition.

The latest acquisition to arrive is W5 792, purchased from the Sydney Tramway Museum.  It is intended that 792, which retains its three-doorway configuration, will be restored to its original 1937 condition.

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