Rokeby Road tramline being built

Subiaco trams of old: running from the city through Subiaco to the Nedlands baths

At the turn of 1900, trams were introduced to Subiaco. Travelling along Hay Street and turning left onto Rokeby Road where the Subiaco Hotel is, the trams transported the city slickers into the industrial area that was Subiaco.

Credit: State Library of Western Australia <136055PD>

Following on through the high street, the tram would come to a final stop at the Saw Avenue entrance to Kings Park.

By 1908, the neighbouring suburb of Nedlands was in the works, and the developers were keen to have the tram extend its route to what was then called the Nedlands Baths, a closed off swimming area in the Swan River. This route was particularly popular for students of Subiaco and Rosalie Primary School, as they used the baths for swimming lessons. The site is now a mini marina and jetty leading to JoJo’s restaurant on the Nedlands foreshore.

Credit: State Library of Western Australia <136059PD1>

Going halves in the cost, both Claremont and Subiaco municipalities financed the building of the roads for the tram route, including parts of Thomas Street, Aberdare Road and another road straight through where Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital now is, before finally connecting back to Hampden Road and Broadway. These streets and the tramline in turn served as a boundary lines between the suburbs of Subiaco, Nedlands and Claremont.

Sadly, these tram services ceased in 1958. However, the hop-on hop-off Subiaco ‘tram’ service follows some of the original route, such as down Hay Street and Rokeby Road.

Sources: Identity Prized: A History of Subiaco (1985), Ken Spillman
Talk about Subi newsletter (2003), City of Subiaco


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