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Lord Mayor Robert Doyle reins-in Melbourne CBDs horse-drawn carriages

Genevieve Alison, Ryan Tennison, May 25, 2017 6:00PM Herald Sun

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MELBOURNE’S iconic CBD horse-drawn carriages are set to be reined in, with the City of Melbourne announcing it will stop issuing permits for parking on the busy Swanston St thoroughfare*.

The horses and their operators are normally based opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, near the busy corner of Swanston and Flinders streets, where they pick up tourists and show them around the city.

But Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said many carriage operators and drivers were taking dangerous and avoidable risks and he would prefer that they stopped.

“We had reports of them doing U-turns in front of trams, we’ve had a couple of incidents where one horse bolted*,” he said.

“There are some great operators, but there are also some cowboys and that’s the problem with the industry.”

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. Picture: Jason Edwards media_cameraLord Mayor Robert Doyle. Picture: Jason Edwards

The changes will come into affect from June 30, but Mr Doyle said he had “no power to stop” the carriages from travelling along the city’s busiest streets, as the road rules were governed by VicRoads.

The only power Mr Doyle has is to stop carriage operators from parking in Swanston St and picking up customers. There is a separate horse-drawn carriage parking area on St Kilda Rd, where operators will still be able to park their carriages.

City of Melbourne’s move has angered carriage drivers who said their business relied on the foot traffic of Swanston Street and that the St Kilda Rd area was too isolated.

“There’s no business out there (near the gardens) and it’s unsafe for the horses … because of the buses,” said carriage business owner Alex MacDonald.

“We’re basically unemployed now.”

Existing permits will be allowed to continue until they expire on June 30. Currently, there are five operators permitted to operate up to 14 carriages.

The iconic Melbourne combination of Flinders St Station and a carriage. Picture: David Caird. media_cameraThe iconic Melbourne combination of Flinders St Station and a carriage. Picture: David Caird.

The permits allow carriage operators to sell their services at a public place within the City of Melbourne.

The City of Melbourne confirmed there were another three operators conducting business without a permit.

“I can’t stop them from going on the streets, they are a vehicle and are defined in the road act and that’s a matter for VicRoads,” he said.

VicRoads road user and vehicle access director Robyn Seymour said VicRoads would not change the rules for animal-drawn vehicles.

Protesters in Melbourne, fighting for the Melbourne horses. Picture: Jake Nowakowski media_cameraProtesters in Melbourne, fighting for the Melbourne horses. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

“As carriages are not motor vehicles they are not required to be registered or licensed but like cyclists, operators must obey the road rules or face penalties from Victoria Police,” Ms Seymour said.

Animal welfare organisation PETA is pleased with the move.

“Horse-drawn carriages are not only cruel to the horses who are forced to work long hours, often in extreme weather conditions, while walking on hard pavement and inhaling exhaust fumes, but are dangerous to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians,” PETA’s campaigns associate director Ashley Fruno said.


thoroughfare: path between places

bolted: ran away



Activity 1: Cause and Effect

In one sentence explain the main idea of this article.

Draw up a two column chart. Label the columns CAUSES and EFFECTS

Under CAUSES write down what has led to this decision being made.

Under EFFECTS list the effects this decision will have on carriage operators, tourists and the general public.

Carriage operators are still able to conduct tours of Melbourne.

Where can they collect tourists?

Why aren’t they banned from travelling through the CBD?


Do you think other carriage operators would be happy with this decision? Why/Why not?

What factors do you think were considered when coming up with this decision?

Can you come up with another way to solve the problem without effecting the carriage operators who were operating safely and within the road rules?

Why do you think the City of Melbourne didn’t take this approach and decided to stop all permits for the CBD?

Do you think stopping the permits will help solve the problems they have been having?

Time: allow about 30 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Capability

Activity 2: Banned!

Unfortunately a few people doing the wrong thing often spoil it for everyone.

Can you think of something that has been banned at your school because a few people were not behaving correctly? Eg swapping collector cards, fidget spinners, four square?

In a few sentences explain what was banned and the reason that the decision was made.

We all have a responsibility to behave appropriately so things will not be banned and can be enjoyed safely and fairly.

Come up with some expected behaviours for the object or activity that was banned so that the same problems wont be repeated.

How can you convince all students to follow these behaviours?


Write a letter to your class teacher, school principal or other decision making body at school requesting the banned object or activity be allowed to be reintroduced.

Give reasons for why you would like it reintroduced and how you will help ensure you will not have the same problems as before. Use some of the ideas from your list above.

Time: allow at least 30 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Capability


(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Journalist for a day!

For this task, you need to write an article for tomorrow’s Kids News.
You can use the headline below or create your own.


Put yourself in the perspective of a journalist.
Imagine you witnessed the chaos that ensued from an out of control horse carriage in Melbourne’s CBD. (Don’t worry, we made this story up!)

Alternatively, you could pretend to be someone who was a passenger in the carriage.

Look at some Kids News articles for some ideas on how to structure your article, as well as some of the features like dialogue.

Time: allow approximately 45 minutes

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP








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