Tramcar Bay no more

The last tram has left town.

Richard Calder says the roof will be used at his new gallery, although he is not quite sure how at this stage.

A piece of local history disappeared last month when the last tram in Tramcar Bay, between Whangateau and Leigh, was demolished.

The structure, a relic from the days when trams operated in Auckland, was one of three barged to the bay around the late 1950s, where they were used as holiday baches.

The destruction of the last tram caught many locals by surprise. Some thought it was protected, while others wondered why it had not been offered to a museum. Warkworth Museum manager Victoria Joule says the museum was asked about the tram earlier this year.

“We requested photos so we could get an idea of the size and condition, but no one got back in touch and we didn’t hear any more,” she says.

While the owner did not wish to comment, it is understood from other sources that he did try to sell or give away the tramcar. However, the dilapidated state of the tramcar made removal unfeasible.

In another development, the roof of the tram is destined for a new life in an art gallery due to open in Leigh later this month.

The gallery is being set up by Richard Calder, Hillary Austin and Awa Gillgren.

Richard said it was a shame to see the tram go, as it was a reminder of a bygone era.

“At least with the roof in the gallery, something of it will remain,” he said. “The roof is made of heart rimu and is a fine piece of engineering.”

Trams first operated in Auckland in 1902 and were removed from the city streets in 1956, along with 72km of tracks.

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