What is significant?
The Tramway Signal Cabin, Waiting Shelter and Conveniences were built in 1928 to the design of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board architect Alan G Monsbourgh. . It was built soon after the electrification of the Swanston Street and St Kilda Road cable tramways and controlled the shunting and dispatch of the increasing volume of electric trams arriving from the southern suburbs. The complex originally comprised female public toilets at the north end, a roofed passenger waiting area, a small store and toilet for staff at the south end, and a first storey enclosed signal cabin with balconies, reached by rung ladder. Construction is of concrete, rendered brick and a hipped roof of terra cotta tiles. The side awning roofs and the steel staircase are later additions. The interlocking signal system was supplied by the General Railway Signal Company of Rochester, New York. The signal cabin became redundant in 1991.
How is it significant?
The Tramway Signal Cabin, Waiting Shelter and Conveniences complex is of historical significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Tramway Signal Cabin, Waiting Shelter and Conveniences complex is historically significant as the only surviving elevated signal cabin associated with an operating tramway system in Australia. It is significant for its ability to demonstrate the development of Melbourne's electric tramway system.
TRAMWAY SIGNAL CABIN, WAITING SHELTER AND CONVENIENCES - History
History of Place:
The tramway track outside the City Baths was first used by the South Carlton horse trams operated by the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company, c.1888. Tne Swanston Street line was intended for cable trams, but an uncompleted section was opened for horse trams in order to transport people to the 1888 Centennial Exhibition. The line was later converted to cable trams, then in May 1926 to electric trams. The company operating the trams was called the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board. In February 1929 the electric tramway was opened in Victoria Street west of Swanston Street, to create a link to the north west suburbs and to the M&MTB's central tramway workshops at Preston.
The M&MTB decided to erect a signal cabin and shelter at the junction. Tenders closed in July 1928. The successful tender was for 1.274 pounds by B F Vorwerg. Vorwerg was the builder of extensions to tram sheds at Coburg, Kew and Preston.(from notes on file, no author or date given)
TRAMWAY SIGNAL CABIN, WAITING SHELTER AND CONVENIENCES - Plaque Citation
This complex was built in 1928, soon after the electrification of existing cable tram lines in Swanston Street. The signal cabin controlled the shunting and dispatch of increasing volumes of trams arriving from the southern suburbs.