Man on the Bondi tram

The man on the Bondi tram is a fictional legal character used in civil law in New South Wales, Australia, representing an ordinary person.[1] Jurors, for example, have been directed to consider what the man on the Bondi tram would think of whether a statement is defamatory. The phrase borrows from the English formulation of the 'man on the Clapham omnibus',[2] who personifies an average, reasonable person. It is comparable to the phrase 'the man in the street'.

Government trams were discontinued in Sydney in the 1960s, to be replaced by buses.[3] The present-day equivalent of a Bondi tram is a '380 bus', also somewhat notorious for overcrowding in its own right.[4] Hence, the saying 'the man on the Bondi tram' has been out of date since the 1950s. Several limited light rail services have been reinstated in the CBD of Sydney, Inner West and South East,[5] but most original tram tracks have been overlaid with tarmac road surfaces. Historically, the names of the beach suburbs 'Maroubra Junction' and 'Bondi Junction' derive from tram junctions, when all of the eastern Sydney beaches were served with tram lines.


  1. ^ Nomikos Papatonakis v Australian Telecommunications Commission [1985] HCA 3, (1985) 156 CLR 7 at p 36 (Deane J), High Court (Australia).
  2. ^ Asprey, Michèle M. (2010) [2003]. Plain Language for Lawyers. Federation Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-1-86287-775-7.
  3. ^ "Sydney is rebuilding tram systems ripped out in the 1960s". ABC News. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Bondi Road Corridor - Waverley Council". Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  5. ^ Transport for NSW, Customer Experience Division. "Light rail". Retrieved 23 February 2020.