In years gone by, the dead were frequent patrons of Newcastle’s public transport system. As a matter of fact, the city’s tramways offered a unique service, taking deceased folk from the homes of their loved ones in specially made hearse trailers to connect with trains to cemetery.
Ideally, the body would – after having been farewelled in the family home – be carried to a tram stop where, by arrangement, the hearse trailer would be waiting. Next stop was the railway station, then the cemetery station, then the grave and the final goodbye.
The hearse trailers were built in Sydney and apparently operated in Newcastle from 1896 until about 1948. One of them has been restored and is part of the collection of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney.