Nestled amongst the trees up on the hill in the new Regional Playspace in Diamond Creek is the Diamond Creek Rotary Tram Café. Open since 31 October 2020, the tram has become a popular destination for local families visiting the playground, walkers and runners along the Diamond Creek Trail and those who have ventured from further afield looking for a different experience.
The Tram Café is run by the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek and it is the largest ongoing project that the club has ever run.
So how did this project come to fruition?
In May 2018, the Victorian State Government announced they would be giving Victorians the opportunity to acquire one of 134 Retired W Class Trams. Schools, community groups, not for profit organisations and other public institutions were invited to submit an Expression of Interest in order to acquire one.
The Rotary Club of Diamond Creek was approached by the Diamond Creek CFA and the Diamond Creek Men’s Shed to put in a joint submission to acquire one for Diamond Creek. A small group of members from each organisation worked closely with the Nillumbik Shire Council to do this.
In September 2018, the successful applicants were announced and we were proud to be deemed as the best successful application from the 1500 which were submitted.
Whilst still supportive of the project, the Diamond Creek CFA and the Diamond Creek Men’s Shed stepped back from the project and it became owned solely by the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek.
On 13 June 2019, the project really came to life with Tram 812 being delivered to Diamond Creek after being in storage at the Newport depot for approximately twenty years. With much work and extremely generous donations from local businesses and the community, the tram was restored and refurbished to its former glory, and is now surrounded by a huge deck and pergola.
Since opening, it has been going strong. Most of the Diamond Creek Rotary members have now completed their Food Handling Certificates and are volunteering at the Tram Café. Two baristas are employed by the café but the remainder of the work is all done by the volunteers. One of the regular volunteers, Georgia Vincent, granddaughter of PP Arthur Lewin, has commented that volunteering at the Tram has given her much needed confidence and skills that she did not have previously.
Araluen, a disability support service in Diamond Creek, run the café three days a week. This is a wonderful training opportunity for their clients to gain hospitality and customer service skills.
Local community groups and other Rotary Clubs are invited to participate in running the café on weekends for an opportunity to share in the profits. To date, all groups that have volunteered have earned a minimum of $500 for their day’s work – a nice bonus to their fundraising coffers. If your Rotary Club would be interested in participating, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Diamond Creek Rotary and we will point you in the right direction. You can look forward to a fun and lucrative day!