David Wright of Bendigo Heritage Attractions and Historian James Lerk with the original dollar bill used to purchase Bendigo’s trams from the SEC. Photo Brendan McCarthy


THE original dollar note The Bendigo Trust used to buy Bendigo’s tram fleet from the State Electricity Commission of Victoria was donated back to the organisation on Tuesday.

Local historian James Lerk said the handover of the $1 note on June 21, 1977 by SECV’s JK Griffin to chairman Ken Hesse resulted in the trust taking ownership of 23 trams, many of which have been used to deliver Bendigo’s iconic Vintage Talking Tram Tour ever since.

Mr Lerk was one of the team of people who fought to save the trams from being dispersed in 1972 and has had a long association with the trust ever since, having served on the organisation’s board for many years.

“Following the official ceremony, I approached JK Griffin who was the SECV representative on the day and asked if he would mind swapping the dollar note used in the ceremony for another one that I had in my pocket and he was happy to oblige,” Mr Lerk said.

“Having had the $1 note in my possession for nearly 42 years, I have decided to donate it to the trust to use as a reminder of an important milestone in the history of the Bendigo Tramways.”