Remembering Tram Conductors

113 years of service

Tram conductors served Melbourne’s tram-loving community from the days of the cable trams through to the modern era for 113 years. On the 23rd of May 2008 we celebrated and remembered the human service they provided. That year marked the 10th anniversary of the last Melbourne tram conductor.

These tram-uniformed humans were affectionately called connies. We connies moved through the trams calling ‘fares please’. Tram conductors checked and sold tickets, helped people to board trams, directed people to hospitals, sporting stadiums, the beach, shopping precincts, restaurants, etc.

We carried maps in our information-filled leather bags and helped people catch the right tram, train or bus. Trams were safe, dirty feet were kept off seats and there was no graffiti. Country Victorians, interstate and overseas visitors had the correct ticket and got off at the right stop.

The talking tram

Many tram conductors loved having a chat with locals and visitors. We cross-pollinated people and could bring people who didn’t know each other together in conversation.

Some connies, like the famous Frenchie from Malvern Depot did magic tricks. Domenic from Brunswick Depot sang songs, while Malcolm from South Depot recited tram poetry. We travelled with you in the morning and took you home at night.

Cheap and reliable

When tram conductors ran the ticketing system we supplied a cheap, reliable and information rich way of ticketing for the many folk who ride our trams.

In 1989 fare evasion was at a low 3% per annum (Public Transport Corporation figures - Met Ticket Taskforce, 1990).

Video - Channel 7 news report of the effectiveness and unbeatable cost of returning tram conductors to Melbourne's trams

Connies are an effective and unbeatably cheap service provider for trams

Bring Em Back video

Trailer to the Bring 'Em Back documetary

Video - 10th Anniversary tribute to the tram conductors of melbourne

A tribute to the connies of Melbourne

The famous Frenchie