Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hillgrove hydro electricity

The mining town of Hillgrove near Armidale was the first town in Australia to be lit by hydro power (early 1895), beating Launceston in Tasmania by ten months. Gordon Smith's  Threlfall Track: Looking down has a nice photograph of the country through which the flume ran to the power plant, along with a link to an article setting out the history of the plant.

One thing not covered in the article is the fact that the Hillgrove operators tried to persuade Armidale Council to use their power. They failed, in part because the Council had a heavy investment in gas lighting. Had Armidale Council agreed, it would have changed the economics of the hydro operation. Perhaps it would still have been in existence today. In the event, Armidale was not to get electric power until 1922.

The history of electric power in Armidale can be found here.

No comments: