Cloncurry Powerhouse

The Cloncurry Shire Council took responsibility for the electricity supply in 1936. The population in the supply area was 1,700 and there were 240 consumers in 1939/40.

The Engineer-Manager of the Cloncurry Powerhouse in 1939 was Mr. W. J. Schwabe. In 1939 the Cloncurry Powerhouse Plant comprised: 
One 150-h.p. Ackroyd wood gas producer;
One 107-h.p. National three-cylinder suction gas engine, direct coupled to a 70-kva Brush alternator;
One 40-h.p. Crossley single-cylinder suction gas engine, belt-driving a 31-kva Brush alternator.

The distribution system: Primary, 2,200 volts; secondary, 415/240 volts; 50 cycle, three-phase a.c. The tariff: domestic supply was one shilling and sixpence to four-pence per unit depending on units consumed. When using an electric range for cooking, the units cost one shilling and sixpence each to threepence each, depending on use. Lighting was one shillings and sixpence to nine-pence per unit and power, eight-pence to four-pence per unit.

 (Source: Tait’s Electrical Directory, 1939-1940, p.180. QEM Archive)

By 1956, the increase in demand for power led the State Electricity Commission of Queensland (SECQ) to consider the installation of additional plant as soon as possible. (Source: SECQ Nineteenth Report (1956) p.20. QEM Archive)

The Cloncurry Shire Council purchased a second-hand 432-kW oil engine from Northern New South Wales. However, it was believed that another 300-kW engine would also be needed to fulfil the growing demand for power. 
(Source: SECQ Twentieth Report (1957) p.20. QEM Archive)

In 1959, the Annual Report of the SECQ stated that an agreement had been reached with Mount Isa Mines Ltd. for the Company ‘to make bulk transmitted supply available from the Company’s new outdoor type power station at Mica Creek to supply Cloncurry and intervening consumers’. The Cloncurry Shire Council was in agreement with the construction of a 66,000 volt transmission line to accomplish the task. Tenders were called for the design, supply of materials and construction of the line.  The Cloncurry Powerhouse would continue to operate until the new supply was available.

(Source: SECQ Twenty-Second Annual Report (1959) p.13 and the SECQ Twenty-Third Annual Report (1960) p.15. QEM Archive)