Melbourne's tram network began in the 1880s, and the legislation that allowed it was crafted with the assumption that Melbourne would be the only city in Victoria that would have trams. Shortly after Melbourne's tramways opened, the citizens of Ballarat started a push for the tramways to come to their growing township. In 1883 regional councils were given the power to build tramways if they took on all the risk, and in 1885 were given the power to grant concessions to private operators who wanted to build tramways, which was the preferred model at the time. With these legislative barriers removed, construction was able to go ahead in Ballarat, with Geelong and Bendigo following soon after.
|Tram in Sturt Street, circa 1910 (Source)|
|Tramways of Ballarat, 1893|
|Tramways of Ballarat East, proposed in 1890 but never built|
|Tramways of Ballarat, 1971|
|Tram entering Bridge St at the junction of the Mt Pleasant and Victoria St lines (Source)|
|Sebastopol tram turning right off Lydiard St onto Sturt St (Source)|
|Ballarat Tramway Museum (Source)|
 This 400m figure is based on a fairly standard planning tool, but is rather on the low end. Today, the rule of thumb is that people will walk about 1000m to a train, 400m to a bus, and somewhere in between for a tram (usually 600-800m). However, the general rule at play is nothing to do with the actual mode, it's that people are willing to walk further for a faster service - so 400m may have been a reasonable figure for the clunky, slow trams of the time.
Although bits and pieces have been accumulated from elsewhere over the years, much of the information in this post was found (or corroborated) in William F Scott's impressive book Last Tram at 11