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What do I need to know?

Below you will be able to search locations or subjects of research interest relating to trams and buses, and optionally, apply approximate date ranges for what you are researching.

Note that there are separate searches specifically for:

How do I search?

Enter a keyword and / or a date range into the search below, for example: restoration, or Coburg. Leaving date range blank will provide more results.

For a more exact search use inverted commas on multi-word search terms, for example, "painted tram", or "W Class".

On the search results page, use the filter toggle arrows to the left of the page to narrow the results either by date, series or government department that created the records.

About these records

Various Victorian government departments and agencies have been responsible for operating trams and buses. The records they created as a result of this work documents a rich variety of details about Victoria's built environment, not only tram and buses but the employees and passenger vehicles used, scheduling and routes, matters of safety and the occurrence of accidents.

Who created these records?

Most of the records that you will find with this search were created by government agencies associated with trams and buses.

The main agencies that have been associated with trams and buses are listed below. Click on the VA number to read more about a particular agency and see a complete list of series that the agency created:

  • Public Works Department, 1855-1987 (VA 669)
  • Department of Railways and Roads, 1871-1877 (VA 2875)
  • Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company Limited, 1877-1919 (VA 2976)
  • Melbourne Tramways Trust, 1884-1916 (VA 2692)
  • Ballarat Tramways, 1887-1934 (VA 747)
  • North Melbourne Electric Tramways and Lighting Company Limited, 1904-1922 (VA 2974)
  • Prahran and Malvern Tramways Trust, 1907-1920 (VA 2977)
  • Royal Commission on Tramway Fares Revision, 1911-1911 (VA 5173)
  • Royal Commission into the Railways and Tramways Systems of Melbourne and Suburbs, 1911-1912 (VA 5164)
  • Hawthorn Tramways Trust, 1914-1920 (VA 2978)
  • Melbourne, Brunswick and Coburg Tramways Trust , 1914-1920 (VA 2971)
  • Fitzroy, Northcote and Preston Tramways Trust, 1915-1920 (VA 2972)
  • Footscray Tramways Trust, 1916-1920 (VA 2973)
  • Tramway Board, 1916-1919 (VA 2693)
  • Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board , 1919-1983 (VA 2984)
  • Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951 to 1992), 1951-1996 (VA 673)
  • State Transport Authority, 1983-1989 (VA 1038)
  • Metropolitan Transit Authority, 1883-1989 (VA 1044)
  • Public Transport Corporation, 1989-2003 (VA 2984)
  • Department of Infrastructure, 1996-2008 (VA 3971)
  • Department of Transport II, 2008-2013 (VA 4853)
  • Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, 2013-2014 (VA 5003)

Next Steps

Order the records of interest and view in our Reading Room. Some records are born digital records and can be accessed directly online. 

What are in these records?

Because this search covers a number of agencies relating to trams and buses in Victoria, the records you will be exploring are of diverse types and purposes. You can expect to find records that are:

  • correspondence relating to trams and buses
  • images (negatives, slides and photographs)
  • reports
  • plans and drawings
  • committee records
  • employee records relating to trams and buses
  • contract and financial records
  • survey and journal records


There may be some digitised images relating to trams and buses in your results, to see these at the top of your search results select the Digital option in the View Record filter toggle arrows on the left of the screen. You can also use these to explore only results from particular series or created by particular agencies.

Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples