Raising the Rattler Pole
Not the result of an accident, hurricane, or aliens, this is an eye-popping tribute to the Melbourne tram.
Just outside the hotel at the corner of Flinders Street and Spencer Street is a 6-ton, 26-foot tram that appears to be flipped on its side, its rear sticking straight up toward the sky. No accident occurred here, however. Rather, this sculpture is an ode to Melbourne’s last W-class “rattler” tram.
The installation, by artist David Bell, is titled “Raising the Rattler Pole—The Last of the Connie’s.” It is painted black, rather than the familiar yellow and white trams you’ll see today, though the windows seem to eerily light up at night.
Melbourne has a long association with trams and railways. The city’s Flinders Street Station was the first in all Australia, built in 1910, and the city is home to the only teams that play trugo, a bizarre backwards mallet-and-ring game invented by railway workers in the 1920s.
Know Before You Go
Melbourne has an extensive tram network, and the vintage red No. 35s that circle the CBD are free to ride.
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