Although not heard as much these days the saying, shoot through like a Bondi tram, was very common in the early 1900s.

There was a time when Sydney was one of the world’s great tram cities and Bondi Trams shot through Paddington like, well, a Bondi Tram.

In its heyday, Sydney’s tram network was the largest in Australia and the second largest in the Commonwealth (after London) and one of the largest in the world, with about 1,600 cars in active service during the 1930s.

The expression “Shoot through like a Bondi tram” is still heard at times, even though Bondi trams stopped in 1960.  It means to depart in haste and refers to express trams that ran through Paddington from 1887.  Given that trams cannot pass each other, trams were scheduled to leave the city in pairs with an express tram travelling first.  At Darlinghurst the front tram would “shoot through” to Bondi Junction, where it would catch up with an earlier tram.

This process of closing tram lines was a long one, starting in 1939 with the Manly system.  By 1961, 100 years after the first tram had run, the last line closed.  Today many bus routes in Sydney’s inner suburbs still follow the original tram routes quite closely.

Remnants of the trams are everywhere if you know where to look.  The site of the Opera House used to be a tram depot and what is now the Powerhouse Museum once supplied power for city trams.

AT LAST! Our regular monthly talks are able to resume. If you would like to learn more about Sydney’s tramway system, Peter Kahn from the Sydney Tramway Museum, will be talking on the subject at our Museum (1 Bent Street, Concord) on Saturday, 5th June, 2021 at 2:30 pm SHARP. With Covid Safety restrictions in place you need to book a ticket by phoning the secretary on 9744-8528 or sending an email to These talks a FREE, but donations are always welcome. After the talk you can join us for light refreshments and a chance to chat with the speaker and our wonderful volunteers.

If you would like to be kept informed of the speaker and subject of each talk you can go to our website,, and add your details to the list.


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