No. 24 & the Bucks Head

"On 8 May 1954 tramcar No. 24, which
had been left unattended, rolled down the hill on the north side of Sturt St, derailed and
smashed into an empty office at the Buck's Head (and not into a crowded hotel bar, as
folklore would have it). No. 24 was badly damaged, never ran again, and was later
scrapped. The hotel only lasted another six years and was demolished in 1960."

The tram driver, known as a
"Motorman" was at fault, for not ensuring the points for the junction at the
Sturt and Lydiard St. North were set for the curve into Lydiard St. North. Also he did not
put the brakes on correctly. Had he set the points, the tramcar would have rolled around
the curve. He did not, and the tramcar rolled down the Sturt Street hill, derailed at the
curve to enter into Bridge Street and rolled across the road into the hotel. The driver
was later dismissed despite the intervention of the Union. Fortunately in 1954, Sturt
Street was a quiet street with few cars compared to today.

BTM 24 VS HOTEL.GIF (16827 bytes)No.
24 attempting to get a drink in the Buck’s Head Hotel.
The Courier Ballarat Photo – duplicate of a photo held in the Ballarat
Historical Society colllection.




BTM GRENVILLE ST.GIF (19415 bytes)This
image shows the Buck’s Head Hotel at the corner of Grenville St. and Bridge St, with
the S.E.Dickens grocery store in the background. Ballarat Courier photo of
17/2/1960 at the time of the announcement of the sale of the two buildings for
redevelopment. The tram crashed into the building at about the point of the canvas awning
on the right.



BTM STURT ST.GIF (13574 bytes)The
Sturt St. hill – the tram rolled away from the top of the hill, just on the right
hand edge of the photo.

Photo from Alan Bradley of the BTM



The map below shows the route of the
runaway tram (the red line) from the corner of Lydiard St. North and Sturt St. to the
corner of Grenville and Bridge Streets. Map from a portion of the "Greater Ballarat
Association" map of July 1968 with some additions.

BTM BUCKSHEADJ.GIF (44174 bytes)

Tramcar No.24 was one of group of
ex-Melbourne tramcars bought in 1930 by the Electric Supply Company (ESCo)
to replace the 1905 tramcars. It began its life in 1916 as Hawthorn Tramways Trust No. 2,
later renumbered to 108 by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board and known as a
"M" class tramcar. The Museum has three tramcars of the same origin in its
fleet, number 26, 27 and 28.