The Great Tram RobberyAfter midnight on the morning of 18 August 1901 the Hawthorn horse tram was held up by four masked men as it was proceeding east along Riversdale Road just after leaving Power Street. One of the men leapt on board and held a revolver to the cheek of the driver, Thomas Taylor, demanding that the tram be stopped.
Taylor complied, but pleaded with his assailant that he be allowed to apply the handbrake to prevent the car from rolling backwards and dragging the horses with it. He was allowed to do so, but was then thrown into the saloon to join the seven male passengers inside, together with a solicitor (Leslie Park) who was smoking on the end platform.
The urban bushrangers, all wearing slouch hats and tweed coats, demanded that the passengers and Taylor hand over their valuables. After assaulting one of the passengers (Charles H. Jones), they stole £2.10.0 in fares from Taylor and £21.19.0 in cash from the eight passengers, as well as a number of watches and watch chains.
They then disappeared into the night, leaving Taylor to drive the horse tram to the terminus at Auburn Road, where he reported the crime to Hawthorn police. The horse tram bandits were never captured. It was hypothesized in newspapers of the day that they were after a certain individual who regularly travelled on the line, and who was in the habit of carrying large amounts of cash.
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⊜ Riversdale Road Hawthorn | Map
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