Tramways Building, Bourke Street, 1891

Repost 2018:

The splendid 1891 #MelbourneTramwaysandOmnibusCo at the west end of #BourkeStreet – just repaired by current occupants, the charity #DonkeyWheelHouse. They recreated the lost tiles in the parapet that spell out MTOC in intertwined gothic letters, lovely. It’s an interesting bit of #gothicrevival by #TwentymanandAskew (who normally did classical like The Block Arcade), and it was from here that Melbourne’s new and extensive and privately run #cabletram system was run, and then the electric trams too right into the 90s (when I had a look, what a place to work !). Disappointing that they didn’t quite get the parapet stone right, no upper lip, and my goodness the shopfronts could be better ! Looks like a verandah removed but actually it didn’t have one originally.

Repost 2018: The fabbo lobby of the #MelbourneTranwaysandOmnibusCo building in #BourkeStreet, now #DonkeywheelHouse. A lot of the interior is original to 1891, just as #TwentymanandAskew designed it. The Tudor style lift enclosure is a very rare surviving 19thC one (probably it was an #hydrauliclift originally), replaced in the 1920s, and that lift interior still there, also very rare ! Then there’s the great gothic entry, #signboard and even an #aestheticmovement #stainedglasswindow. I know that there’s also an atmospheric basement, great panelled front offices, and big open space on top with cast iron roof supports.

11 October 2022

Seems like not long ago that charity Donkey Wheel House bought this great building, but it was 2009! They’ve since restored and repaired it, and now they’re selling, maybe for $25mill. Guess current charity tenants like Big Issue will have to move on. Here’s what I said in 2018: The #TramwaysandOmnibusCo headquarters was built at the end of Bourke Street in 1891, designed by #TwentymanandAskew, and it was from here that Melbourne’s tram system was run for many decades. Bought by the charity #DonkeyWheelHouse in 2009, the facade has just been cleaned and repaired and the original tiles in the parapet that spell out M&TOCo recreated. Inside, there’s original gothic decoration, tessellated tiles, bluestone stairs, a 1920s lift car in the original enclosure, an early signboard and stained glass windows. And there’s also great elaborate timber panelling in some of the rooms, which was not painted when I saw them in the 1990s. Photos mine, except office interiors are from Colliers real estate.

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