Written by Mathew Sharp
Students at Deakin Burwood are set to get on a different kind of tram, with a unique study space arriving.
One of Melbourne’s iconic W-Class trams is being installed as an informal learning space outside the Deakin Corporate Centre, close to the existing Burwood tram stop.
Deakin spokesperson Glen Atwell said that the university is restoring most of the tram’s interior and providing additional seating.
‘It will try and keep the essence of the original tram while making it an accessible art piece for staff and students,’ Mr Atwell said.
It is understood the tram will not feature power sockets and is expected to be open to use around October 6th.
‘Some minor refurbishments are being completed inside the tram, and once ready, our Deakin Tram will be an incredible landmark,’ Mr Atwell said.
Tram 837 is the first ‘Art Tram’ gifted to the public, carrying artwork painted in 1992 by Terry Matassoni—a former Deakin lecturer, alumnus, and gallery exhibitor.
‘Deakin and Terry have had a close connection for many years. Currently, there are ten artworks by Terry in the University Art Collection.’
‘As part of their modern repurposing, the trams are now being gifted to an institution of the artist’s choosing,’ Mr Atwell said.
The ‘Transporting Art’ trams were commissioned between 1978 and 1992, with Deakin’s example featuring work for VicHealth and the Heart Foundation, as well as signage for the unsuccessful 1996 Melbourne Olympics bid.
The vehicle was acquired as part of the Retired Trams Strategy, a government initiative where 237 disused trams would be repurposed back in the community in various ways, such as classrooms or cafes.
The heritage-listed W-Class trams were built between 1923 and 1956 and are classified by the National Trust of Australia. Most were removed from service in 1993, with twelve remaining on Melbourne’s City Circle tram route.
The Student Council President was contacted for comment.