Welcome To Dunedin Trams


   A website dedicated to Don McAra's book,
   "Hold Very Tight Please"

   Dunedin Trams

   Restoring & Reinstating a Dunedin Tram.

HomePaintingsHistorySupport
Don's book "Hold On Tight Please" was published in August 2007 by 2007 by Grantham House, Wellington. It has been beautifully designed by the publisher and photographer, Graham Stewart, who has produced many transport and art books over the years. Graham made his black and white cable car photographs available to Don who based many of his illustrations on them, adapting them in various ways.
The book’s ISBN is 978 1 86934 102 2.

A THIRD OF ALL PROCEEDS FROM PAINTING SALES, PRINT AND GREETINGS CARDS which have subsequently been printed from some of the paintings Don is donating to cable car restoration. To date (August 2008) over $10,000 has been raised. As stated on the Home Page, the remaining books are available in or through a range of bookshops. Most of the original paintings done for the book are now sold, but a few including some new ones are still available through Gallery de Novo, lower Stuart St, Dunedin.
  
Below are the first paragraphs of  a number of chapters..
The Roslyn Line

It's the afternoon in 1949.  I've just come into the Exchange from Macandrew Intermediate School on a Sydney double bogey electric tram. Today I haven't abused my school pass by taking a joy ride on the High Street cable car, with side trips on the Maryhill Extension. I've made a dash for my favourite possie on the leading left hand corner of my home line Roslyn car No. 95, which is standing tilting downwards a few paces into Rattrary Street at the Government Tourist Office corner with Princes Street.
 
The Mornington Lines

The Second world War was raging in Europe. My father had been killed in Crete, and his officer's tin trunk came back, was emptied of his few effects and lay under my bedroom window as a toy storage box. Another constant reminder  of the war was the brown paper strips stuck all around the edges of the window to prevent light leaking out when the blinds were down. The lighting on transport had to be kept to a minimum, and street lamps were turned off most of the night to reduce the likelihood of the city being attacked.
 
The Maryhill Extension line

At the trams sheds on that day in the 1950s my friends and I ignored a couple of waiting buses which were providing further transport to Elgin Road  and to the Belleknowes area respectively. Instead with several other passengers, we crossed the road to where one of the tram shed doors displayed a small notice declaring, together with a small pointing hand, 'This way to Maryhill Extension'.
 
The Elgin Road Extension Line 

This was the last of the Mornington lines to be constructed and the last new street cable car anywhere in the world.  Its short history is fully recorded in Straphangers and Grippers by Bill Campbell and Professor Ray Hargreaves and because it ceased running in 1910 nobody I knew ever rode on it. One little story has become known to me, however, of the status cable cars held in the first few years of the twentieth century.
 
The Kaikorai Line (Otherwise known as the Stuart Street Line)

Pompey was dead. This was a more terrible blow to little Kathleen Fountain than what was happening in faraway Europe that day in 1914. in 2005, aged 99, she remembered it vividly. She and her grieving family carried Pompey's body to it last resting place and held a prolonged funeral service for him. (Pompey was killed by a new fangled motor car in spite of safely riding cable cars…
)
 
Wellingtons Original Kelburn Cable Car

When Wellington's only public cable car in its original form was closed for upgrading in 1978 and redesigned by security conscious Swiss engineers, an anonymous poet wrote:
The Kelburn Car's about to go
A fact that fills me full of woe
One day we will wish we kept it there
New cars won't make you stop and stare
Like dinky cars all red and gold
With slidy seats exposed to cold
And rain and sun, and sights so pretty
Of our still incomparably beautiful city.


Please contact Don McAra, 17 Dyers Pass Road, Cashmere, Christchurch, New Zealand 
One third of all proceeds from sales go towards the restoration of Dunedin cable cars