Mount Perry on track for special delivery from Melbourne
EXCITEMENT is building in Mount Perry for a delivery from Melbourne, expected to arrive in September: an SW5-class tram.
Last year, the Victorian Government put out the word that it was looking to give away old trams under their Retired Trams Strategy to schools, community groups, not-for-profit organisations and other public institutions which were interested.
The Mt Perry Men's Shed lodged an expression of interest and was one of 134 successful applicants.
Shed president Nigel French said the connection between Mount Perry and Melbourne was a golden one: the gold for the 2018 Melbourne Cup was mined at Evolution Mining's Mt Rawdon Operation, and made a compelling case for the town.
Mr French said the tram could become a "major tourism hub” for Mount Perry.
Primary use of the tram after it is refurbished will be to provide a virtual tour of the mine and will showcase the mine's activities without the need for an actual mine tour, which is currently only run once or twice per year, Mr French said.
Mine owners Evolution Mining are sponsoring the first stage of the initiative under what's called a "shared value project”, which means the company has identified the project as one that will leave "a positive legacy that supports the sustainability of the local community,” according to Mt Rawdon general manager Jamie Coad.
"We are excited about the project's potential to increase local tourism and promote local economic development,” Mr Coad said.
The other half could house a small coffee shop and information which "celebrates other aspects of the town's history”, such as the renowned Mount Perry axemen and sawyers, or famous former resident Florence Broadhurst, who was known for her iconic wallpaper designs.
The tram will initially be located beside the Men's Shed on Flora St, and Evolution Mining has financially contributed to a specially engineered cement block it will be located on, as well as the awning required to cover the tram.
Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd also helped secure funding for the cement block, and Mr French praised the "brilliant” assistance of the North Burnett Regional Council.
Eventually, a new home for the tram will be found in Mount Perry.
Possible locations include at the top of Flora St, overlooking the town, and on Heusman St.
"This is about securing the future for Mount Perry for when the mine finishes up,” Mr French said.