Tramway Women

Until the Second World War, women were employed only in administrative roles on Melbourne tramways. Manpower shortages during the war gave rise to the first women conductors, who in an Australian first for female workers, were paid the same rates as men. However it was not until 1975 that the first women drivers were appointed.
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The first group of eight conductresses was employed by the Melbourne &…

The first group of eight conductresses was employed by the Melbourne &…

Three Victorian Railways tram conductresses at Elwood Depot, circa 1944.

Three Victorian Railways tram conductresses at Elwood Depot, circa 1944.

Melbourne conductress changing the tram route number in the city during World…

Melbourne conductress changing the tram route number in the city during World…

Shunting the Power Street shuttle, circa 1943. Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria.

Shunting the Power Street shuttle, circa 1943. Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria.

Conductress changing the destination sign on VR tram, St Kilda to Brighton route (1943). Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria.

Conductress changing the destination sign on VR tram, St Kilda to Brighton route (1943). Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria.

When women were first employed as Melbourne tram conductors in 1941 (due to manpower shortages during World War II), they were paid the same wages as men - a first for female workers in Australia. Read the story of women in the tramways at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/women.htm. Advertisement from The Age, 7 October 1944.

When women were first employed as Melbourne tram conductors in 1941 (due to manpower shortages during World War II), they were paid the same wages as men - a first for female workers in Australia. Read the story of women in the tramways at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/women.htm. Advertisement from The Age, 7 October 1944.

Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board Tailoring Section workroom at Hawthorn Depot in 1965. Over four decades from 1940  the Tailoring Section made all M&MTB uniforms - read its story at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/clothingfactory.htm. Official M&MTB photograph.

Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board Tailoring Section workroom at Hawthorn Depot in 1965. Over four decades from 1940 the Tailoring Section made all M&MTB uniforms - read its story at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/clothingfactory.htm. Official M&MTB photograph.

Driver Alan Dacey, Conductress Dot Rango and Depot Starter Ben Opie at Preston Depot in 1964. Official M&MTB photograph.

Driver Alan Dacey, Conductress Dot Rango and Depot Starter Ben Opie at Preston Depot in 1964. Official M&MTB photograph.

Tram conductress tallying up at the end of the route, circa 1943. Photograph Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library Victoria.

Tram conductress tallying up at the end of the route, circa 1943. Photograph Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library Victoria.

No 3707 Conductress E Chaplin, one of the first eight women employed by the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board. She began service in September 1941. Photograph courtesy Australian War Memorial.

No 3707 Conductress E Chaplin, one of the first eight women employed by the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board. She began service in September 1941. Photograph courtesy Australian War Memorial.


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Conductress Miss T. Thompson issuing a ticket on a Victorian Railways tram circa 1943. Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria.

Conductress Miss T. Thompson issuing a ticket on a Victorian Railways tram circa 1943. Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria.

Ladies on staff at the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company, June 1912. Discover more about the role of women in Melbourne tramways at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/women.htm. Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria / J.G. Roberts.

Ladies on staff at the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company, June 1912. Discover more about the role of women in Melbourne tramways at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/women.htm. Photograph courtesy State Library Victoria / J.G. Roberts.

Joyce Barry (1922-2006) became Melbourne's first female tram driver in 1975. Discover more about this pioneer at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/barry.htm. Photograph courtesy The Age.

Joyce Barry (1922-2006) became Melbourne's first female tram driver in 1975. Discover more about this pioneer at http://www.hawthorntramdepot.org.au/papers/barry.htm. Photograph courtesy The Age.

Mrs Ruby Bale, of the Malvern Tram Depot, who is the leader in the Popular Conductress competition in aid of the Prisoners-of-War Fund (4 August 1944).

Mrs Ruby Bale, of the Malvern Tram Depot, who is the leader in the Popular Conductress competition in aid of the Prisoners-of-War Fund (4 August 1944).

M&MTB tram crew checking the run sheet, circa 1953. Photograph from the FOHTD collection.

M&MTB tram crew checking the run sheet, circa 1953. Photograph from the FOHTD collection.

Tram Conductress changing tram number

Tram Conductress changing tram number

Shows tram conductress Miss T. Thompson at work on the St. Kilda-Brighton line, Melbourne, Victoria. by State Library of Victoria Collections, via Flickr

Shows tram conductress Miss T. Thompson at work on the St. Kilda-Brighton line, Melbourne, Victoria. by State Library of Victoria Collections, via Flickr

Vintage  Australia - The Causeway CBD Melbourne Victoria 1976

Vintage Australia - The Causeway CBD Melbourne Victoria 1976

Trams and Streetscapes : Melbourne Photos - Melbourne, Victorian & Australian Architecture Topics 1960's

Trams and Streetscapes : Melbourne Photos - Melbourne, Victorian & Australian Architecture Topics 1960's

Mark Strizic, 1950s, from the ('Old') Melbourne GPO steps; still a popular meeting place and mass observation point.  Corner Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne Australia.

Mark Strizic, 1950s, from the ('Old') Melbourne GPO steps; still a popular meeting place and mass observation point. Corner Bourke and Elizabeth Streets, Melbourne Australia.

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