MELBOURNE TRAMWAYS BAND

- a short history.

 

 

The Melbourne Tramways Band has been synonymous with Melbourne’s marvelous tramway network since the introduction of the cable trams back in the late 1880’s.

 

Originally known as the ‘Melbourne Tramways Employees Band’, the band was formed in 1888 by the Melbourne Tramway & Omnibus Company. The bandsmen were all serving employees and appear to have been paid for their services. Prior to World War 1, the band was very well known for its regular concerts at the South Melbourne beach. With the development of the individual tramway trusts, formed to implement the suburban electric tram networks, the band’s role was lost to the various bands formed by the new trusts.

 

Following the amalgamation of the MTOC and the various electric tramway trusts to form the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board, a core tramways band was once again established in the late 1930’s, involving serving employees from across the network. The band was called the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Band and became well known throughout the community for its public performances, particularly its monthly recitals at Wattle Park. In 1986 the band’s name was changed to the Melbourne Transit Band, to reflect the re-organization of Melbourne’s public transport infrastructure. In March 2001 however, the band gained approval to acknowledge its history and return to the name by which it is best recognized - the Melbourne Tramways Band.

 

It is not generally realized that although the band retains its strong links with Melbourne’s public transport services, the band has long been community based, comprising musicians who give freely of their time to ensure valued traditions are maintained and to promote the benefits of public transport.

 

The Tramways Band now presents two major ensembles: the original brass band and its stage band ‘Transition’. Due mainly to its regular concert commitments, the band’s emphasis is on entertaining rather than contesting and it is able to present a wide range of music from classical to swing and traditional marches.

 

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