In May 2018, the Victorian State Government announced they would be giving Victorians the opportunity to acquire one of 134 retired W Class trams.
The Rotary Club of Diamond Creek, Vic, was approached by the Diamond Creek Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Diamond Creek Men’s Shed to put in a joint submission to acquire a tram. A small group of members from each organisation worked closely with the Nillumbik Shire Council to secure this.
It was agreed that the tram would be sited in a significant place in Diamond Creek and, after restoration and refurbishment, would be turned into a pop-up coffee shop run on weekends by local community groups. These groups would be rostered in turn to run the café and would recoup the profits from it.
In September 2018, the successful applicants were announced, and club members were proud to be deemed as the best successful application from the 1500 submitted. A story appeared on Channel 9 News, with members of the group featured.
“The fully refurbished tram café, with a large deck and pergola, and the state-of-the-art playgrounds will become huge attractions, not just to local residents but for the wider community.”
In the meantime, the Nillumbik Shire Council had received $2.5 million to construct a new, state-of-the-art playground in Diamond Creek. As well as traditional playground equipment, the playground will include educational apps that support augmented reality discovery learning experiences. It was deemed that this playground would be the ideal site for the tram.
While still supportive of the project, the Diamond Creek CFA and the Diamond Creek Men’s Shed have stepped back from the project and it is now being solely run by the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek.
The quest for the tram has been ably led by Joshua Allen, a member of the CFA, and now a member of the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek.
On June 13, 2019, the project really came to life, with tram 812 delivered to Diamond Creek after 20 years in storage at the Newport depot.
And what a journey it has been since, renovating the tram into a coffee shop configuration, while trying to keep as many original components as possible.
Fast forward a year, and the tram is nestled up on a small hill between trees on the only parcel of council land above the flood zone in Diamond Creek. The construction phase has been completed and a Certificate of Occupancy has been received.
“The fully refurbished tram café, with a large deck and pergola, and the state-of-the-art playgrounds will become huge attractions, not just to local residents but for the wider community,” said Secretary of the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek, Kerry Jones.
“Most of our members have now completed their Food Handling Certificates and we are eagerly awaiting the lifting of restrictions so that the tram café can open.
“This project is up there with the biggest our club has ever undertaken. It has seen community support and business donations of an incredible nature. The generosity and support for this project has led to a facility that will serve the community for years to come.”
A crazy idea that many doubted would eventuate has been made
a reality by good people and hard work.