1980’s ELECTRIC MEMORIES
Closure of Longreach Powerhouse: 1985
Eventually, Longreach Powerhouse ceased to generate in September 1985 when electric power was delivered to the region from the state grid via a transmission line, which originated at Gladstone Power Station.
Closure of Barcaldine Powerhouse: 1985
The old Barcaldine Powerhouse plant was eventually shut down for the last time in 1985.
The amalgamation of the State Electricity Commission of Queensland and the Queensland Electricity Generating Board brought into being a new body, the Queensland Electricity Commission (QEC) in 1985.
In 1986, short lengths of two-conductor street tubes and a three-conductor joint box were discovered by Queensland Museum at the old powerhouse site adjacent to the Government Printing Office in Brisbane. All pieces were damaged. However, on examination of the items, in conjunction with documentary evidence it was concluded that these were the actual nineteenth-century Edison Street Tubes and joint box. More short lengths were found protruding through the basement wall of Queensland Parliament House. The street tubes supplied power for the lighting system at Parliament House in the late nineteenth century.
Roma Powerhouse closes: 1986
Roma’s Powerhouse eventually closed on 8 May, 1986 and power to the area was switched to the state-wide transmission network via a 132 kV line from Tarong Power Station.
More powerhouse closures: 1987-1988
As the state-wide grid was extended, it eventually reached Charleville and on 10 April, 1987 Charleville’s Powerhouse was closed down. The Powerhouse closures at St. George and Quilpie followed in the same year and Cunnamulla’s Powerhouse closed on 19 April, 1988
Cabinet approval was sought in August, 1987 to erect a 22kV line from Cunnammulla west to Thargomindah at a cost of $2 million and in 1988, the diesel Powerhouse inThagomindah ceased to generate electricty for the town. The closure of the Powerhouse marked the end of 37 years of diesel power and many more years of generation of electricity by water power. An official ceremony for the occasion of transmitted power to Tharomindah was celebrated on 27 November, 1988 by officials including the Electricity Commissioner, Mr. Neil Galwey. The Thargomindah Powerhouse was to be the last to close in the area of SWQEB’s responsibility. The line to Thargomindah was energised at 22kV.
1988: A Significant event for Thargomindah
An event on 27 November, 1988, which celebrated the first arrival of the 22kV powerline from Cunnamulla to Thargomindah was one of the most significant in the energy history of Queensland, as Thomis pointed out.
(It was) an occurance of great symbolic importance in that it would connect to the statewide network the very first publically controlled electricity undertaking that had in some respects outstripped even Brisbane in the nineteenth century.
(Quote taken from Thomis, M, (1990) A History of the Electricity Supply Industry in Queensland, Vol 2, 1938-1988, p.188-189)