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Abandoned tram gets second life thanks to Facebook and a waste not, want not attitude

Scott Carbines, June 19, 2017 6:00PM Herald Sun

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reading level green

Reading level: green

MOST would think these old trams and buses have reached their last stop, now covered in rust and far from their shiny best when they transported Melburnians around the city.

But these public transport relics* are being put back into motion and saved from destruction via a social media sales page.

The tram, two buses and other weird and wonderful wares are being sold through a growing community of Facebook traders with a knack* for turning trash into treasure.

Melbourne Used Goods administrator and entrepreneur* Chris Sly pioneered his page about a year ago and said he had met some of “the best people in Australia” through his unconventional job.

Tram and Busses for Sale media_cameraDrivers seat in the tram looks in need of some TLC. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

“Farmers are what gets me — they can make something that looks like an absolute piece of rubbish into something that’s worth 10 or 20 grand,” he said.

Operating from the Hume Resource Recovery Centre in Campbellfield and private sites, Mr Sly said he had stumbled upon shipping trawlers, antique swords and a 20-tonne 1914 railway bridge in his time.

The public transport fleet of yesteryear* turned up in Whittlesea, and is up for grabs for between $3500 to $5000 a piece, according to Mr Sly.

“A bloke bought the property and it’s been left there, he doesn’t want it, we don’t know how it got there — it’s all a bit of a mystery,” he said.

Tram and Busses for Sale media_cameraRusted and ready to be reimagined. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

The innovative* businessman takes a percentage cut to sell unwanted goods from where they lie and said it was a win-win situation for all involved.

“No one loses, ever,” Mr Sly said.

Also for sale on the Melbourne Used Goods page is everything from a stack of vinyl records to tanks and firewood to warm on those cold winter nights.

Tram and Busses for Sale media_cameraChris Sly the old tram. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

A “fully sick lime green spoiler” is also waiting to be snapped up.

Mr Sly said he doesn’t always work alone, his best mate owned the “largest tip shop in Victoria” and another close friend had the tools to do the heavy lifting.


relics: things from the past
entrepreneur: businessperson
yesteryear: the past
innovative: clever and creative



Activity 1. Who wins?

In the article we are told that the sale of the unwanted goods through the Melbourne Used Goods Facebook page is a win-win situation for all involved.

Consider the benefits and write one sentence explaining the benefits to each of the following:

• The seller

• The Buyer

• Mr Sly

• The environment

Are there any other benefits you can think of?

Are there any problems you can think of with the exchange of second hand goods?


If you want to buy or sell something second hand over the internet, it is important to consider how to make the transaction safely.

Write down three tips for keeping yourself safe that you can think of.

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability

Activity 2: Advertising your second hand item

Some people try to make the advertisements for their second hand items stand out by making them funny or creative.

Choose one of the items mentioned in the article, or an item you own but don’t need anymore, and write a funny or creative advertisement to sell it.
Your ad should describe the item, explain what is good and unique about it and suggest some imaginative alternative uses.
You want your ad to be entertaining enough to get potential buyers to read all of your ad and to convince them that they need your item!


Draw a crazy picture of one of the imaginative alternative uses for your item.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Visual Art


(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation)

Interview questions

Mr Sly sounds like he has a very interesting job and must find a lot of cool stuff in his travels.

Come up with five questions you could ask Mr Sly about his job and what he has discovered along the way.

You are not allowed to use the same question stem/ question beginning more than once.

Time: allow at least 15 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum Links: English, Big Write and VCOP







Extra Reading in reading level green