Lake Macquarie History

Speers Point trams

Tthe tramway from Brush Creek, Young Wallsend to Speers point was officially opened on the 27th of January 1912. The Minister for Mines, Mr A Edden cut the ribbon in front of Speers point Hotel. The 'golden decade' of the Speers Point tramway was from 1912 to 1921. The steam tram transported thousands of picnickers, holiday makers and travellers to and from Speers Point on the picturesque shore of Lake Macquarie. Before the introduction of trams there were ferries and horse-drawn buses, however, due to the costmany people opted to walk from Cockle Creek Station to the lakes. The trip from Brush Creek to Speers Point usually took about 18 minutes and the tram consisted of two passenger cars and a motor. If there was a large picnic party booked more cars could be added. Early in 1922 private bus services began to compete with the trams. It was realised the trams were not paying their way, due to poor patronage and competition from bus services so the closure of the Speers Point Service was announced. However, the Tramway Trust approved the operation of a shuttle service between Cockle Creek Station and Speers Point over holiday periods for a few years. The tram rails were removed in 1935.

photo: steam tram at speers point hotel

Newcastle and Lake Macquarie once hosted the 2nd largest tramway system in Australia. Steam trams began operating in the Eastern precinct of Newcastle in July1887 and progressed to the outer suburbs and Lake Macquarie. The first electric tram began operating in October 1923. Nearly all lines became fully electric by the end of 1926 with the exception of the West Wallsend and Speers Point branch lines, which remained steam operated until they were closed. The early lines consisted of a run between the city terminus and Honeysuckle fire station and soon after services to Plattsburg were added.

West Wallsend Line

The expansion of coal mining further out into suburban areas also lead to outer population growth in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas. So in 1910 a small depot was constructed at Wallsend to assist with the addition of a branch line to West Wallsend. The first service commenced on the 19th of September 1910. This line ran adjacent to Lake Road, Glendale before heading west along main road Edgeworth. It proceeded through the localities of Young Wallsend, Estville, and Holmesville then terminating at West Wallsend for the return trip. As the line was struggling to maintain financial viability, it was never electrified. The line saw several unsavoury moments, which resulted in at least three deaths in separate incidents. This line was closed on the 1st of November 1930.

Speers Point Line

Due to the success of the West Wallsend line, the Speers Point branch line soon received the go ahead for construction. Not only would it improve transport throughout the greater area but was thought that it would help to improve the financial viability of both lines. Works commenced on the 1st of February 1911and continued until January 1912. The location of this line started just east of the present day crossroads at Glendale with. Operations began on January 15th 1912 to help cater for the Speers Point Regatta being held January 26. This service proceeded through the localities of Argenton, Cockle Creek, Boolaroo then terminating at Speers Point.