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The Brisbane Powerhouse (New Farm, Queensland)

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posted by Buddy Patrick alias Buddy Patrick on Sunday 11th of March 2018 02:31:23 PM

The New Farm Powerhouse was built in 1928 to provide power for Brisbane’s expanding tram network and power and lighting for the suburbs of Toowong, Ithaca and Yeerongpilly. The Powerhouse was designed by Roy Rusden Ogg, the architect for the Brisbane City Council’s Tramways Department. He was also responsible for the design of eight Tramways substations. In 1929 the first section of the stores building was constructed. The Powerhouse was constructed in two stages in response to increasing demand for power supply. The first stage comprised the turbine room and boiler house. In 1934 the turbine room was extended and the switch house, the portion facing the River was built. The stores building was also extended in this year. An additional bay to the boiler house was added in 1936 along with a staff accommodation wing. A major and final extension to the boiler house was completed in 1940. During the post-War years the Powerhouse operated at peak capacity. In 1963, operations of the Powerhouse were passed over to the Southern Electric Authority, later to become the South East Queensland Electricity Board (SEQEB). The powerhouse was decommissioned in 1971 when it was superseded by the Swanbank Power Station. SEQEB continued to occupy the site as a works depot. Generating plant and ancillary structures were removed in the late 1970s. Fears about the security and stability of the boiler house section led to its partial demolition in 1984. In 1989 most of the Powerhouse site was transferred to the Brisbane City Council. In the years after it was made redundant the structure was subject to neglect and vandalism. In the years prior to its conversion it was occasionally the venue for dramatic theatre and rave events. In 1991 the Urban Renewal Task Force recommended a review of the structural and financial feasibility of retaining the New Farm powerhouse for public or residential purposes. Subsequently the Brisbane City Council initiated the proposed development of the powerhouse into a cultural and performing arts venue. The Powerhouse arts complex brief was developed through extensive public consultation and with direction form the Urban Renewal Task Force. A collaborative team of Architects with specific experience – City Design (theatres), Cox Rayner (urban design) and Allom Lovell (conservation) developed the design. Construction commenced early in 1999 and the complex was completed in 2000. Source: Brisbane City Council Heritage Register.

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