1990’s Electric Memories



Another ceremony, the first being in 1988, took place in Thargomindah on 28 November, 1990 for the completion of the rural electrification of Bulloo Shire and was commemorated with a plaque in the main street.


Interested in finding more examples of the nineteenth century Edison Street Tubes, South East Queensland Electricity Board (SEQEB), now Energex, searched for the original mains in William Street, Brisbane using a  locating device, which detects underground metal pipes. In January 1992, a possible site was found and a ‘dig’ arranged, which was conducted by SEQEB and Queensland Museum. The ‘dig’ unearthed lengths of both types of street tubes, both types of joint boxes and elbow joints all virtually undamaged. Some parts had been underground for more than 100 years. It was an exciting discovery! Prentice stated that ‘These mains were the first and only such installations in Queensland and possibly the only installations of the two-core type in the Southern Hemisphere’.

(Quote from McKenzie, E.D. and Prentice, S.A., (1994) The First Underground Mains for Electricity Supply in Brisbane Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, p.181.

Parts of the two- and three-core street tubes can be viewed at Queensland Energy Museum’s site within Highfields Pioneer Village near Toowoomba. Sections are also stored at Queensland Museum.


On 30 July, 1993, there were great celebrations at Swanbank Power Station site. The occasion was the completion of the automation project, which gained approval in December 1989. It was a major event in the history of the power station. It was the first power station in Australia to become fully automated.

1995: Corporatisation

In 1995, changes brought about four new corporations instead of the former Queensland Electricity Commission. These were Queensland Transmission and Supply Corporation (QTSC), Queensland Electricity Transmission Corporation (Powerlink Queensland), Queensland Generation 

Corporation (Austa Electric) and Queensland Transitional Power Trading Corporation (QPTPC).

1997: more reorganisation

Austa Electric was reorganized into four corporations. These were Austa Energy, CS Energy, Stanwell and Tarong. 

The 7 electricity boards SEQEB, SWQEB, WBBEB, CEB, MEB, NQEB and FNQEB become corporations.

1998: Energex

The SEQEC takes on the trading name of Energex.

1999: more reorganization

Six electricity supply corporations, SWEC, WBBEC, CEC, MEC, NQEC and FNQEC become Ergon Energy.  QPTPC becomes Enertrade.