Sunday History Photo / WA

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 06:34
ThreadID: 110150 Views:4457 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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The East Perth Power Station is a disused power station located in East Perth, Western Australia.The site consists of a complex of industrial buildings occupying more than 8.5 hectares, bounded by East Parade, Summers Street, the Swan River and the Graham Farmer Freeway.

The Power Station was constructed between 1913 and 1916 by the Western Australian State Government, which announced that the facility would generate all the electricity needed in the Perth Metropolitan area. The site of East Perth was chosen because coal could easily be delivered there by rail and because the enormous quantities of cooling water required by the condensing plant could easily be drawn from the Swan River. Construction was completed at a total cost of £538,000.
In the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s new power generators were added to the facility to meet the city's growing demand for power. By 1948 the station had an array of power generating sources.

In 1968 the station converted from coal to oil, but six years later returned to coal firing. The station was decommissioned and closed in December 1981, as more advanced and cheaper methods of electricity generation made the facility redundant.
The East Perth Power Station is considered to be one of the State's most significant industrial heritage buildings. It includes a range of remnant machinery and equipment that is believed to be unique in the world because it contains the five different stages of power generation technology that occurred in the 20th century.

I tried to copy & paste this text below but the spellings went all haywire so I partitioned it into sections and drag / dropped into a blank.

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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 07:49

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 07:49
Thanks Doug

AnswerID: 541710

Reply By: 322 - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 11:48

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 11:48
I love stuff like this. Thanks for the effort mate.
AnswerID: 541732

Reply By: Erad - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:15

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:15
Excellent work, Doug. I love the bit where they said it wasn't lack of maintenance etc, but simply 'old age'. From my reading, the governor failed to catch the machine when it suddenly went off load and the thing simply accelerated, until some components failed. Very lucky that no-one was hurt - either inside the station or in the surrounding areas. They have fairly sophisticated overspeed devices to shut the machines down in such an event. Maybe these devices had not been maintained?
AnswerID: 541736

Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:30

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:30
Good article, Doug. Here's some additional info.

Politicalisation: The East Perth power station was abandoned and left to decay and to be vandalised for over 20 years.
Then the W.A. Labor Govt of the early 2000's decided it was too important an industrial heritage item to be allowed to go to ruin - so a plan was devised to restore it and develop it into a museum and art centre. The project cost was expected to be $500M.
A substantial sum of money was spent on refurbishing and cleaning up the buildings and the site.

At the W.A. State Election of 6th Sept 2008, the Liberal Govt of Colin Barnett was elected. Barnett immediately canned any further work (Feb 2009) and the entire project was placed on hold, because Barnett had different priorities.
The power station site and project has languished, unloved and unwanted by Barnett and his Govt since that date.

Recently, Barnett has decided to sell the entire site to the private sector in the Liberal Govts asset-selling programme designed to substantially reduce W.A.'s sizeable Govt debt (this debt was $3B under the previous Labor Govt, it is reported that the W.A. State debt level will reach $28B by 2016.)

Interested parties in the purchase of the power station range from a Jordanian businessman who wants to turn it into a world trade centre, to Kerry Stokes, who wants it for his private art collection.

East Perth Power Station buyers emerge

2. The power station originally produced power at 250 volts and 40 cycles (40Hz). The station and all of W.A. was converted to Australia-wide standardised 50 cycle power, in a major programme in the late 1940's.
There are possibly still a few 40 cycle electric motors left in use.

I acquired a V8 Cadillac-powered standby genset from the Metro Theatre that was demolished in 1970.
The genset was installed in 1939 and it produced 250V, 40 cycle power.

In the 1980's, the power supply for W.A. was reduced from 250V to the Australia-wide standardised 240V.
The actual definition of the supplied voltage is 240V, plus or minus 6%, measured and averaged over 5 mins.

3. There is a large plume of contaminated sandy soil deep under the power station, that stretches out under the Swan River.
This plume of contamination contains heavy oil hydrocarbons from the numerous decades of the power stations operations.
It is impossible to remediate this contaminated soil. However it is believed the contamination is stable, and it poses no immediate threat to health.

4. The East Perth power station sold distilled water for many decades, as a by-product of power generation.

5. The power station had it's own locomotive and coal trucks, to transport coal from the main WAGR line, and around the depot.

6. The generator explosion of June 1947 was sheeted home to inadequate maintenance due to a shortage of labour and spare parts during WW2.
It was the only accident of note in the entire history of the power station, which was unusual in an era where industrial accidents were common.

Here is an excellent website on the power station, its history, and the stories of the people who worked there.

East Perth Power Station history

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 541737

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 13:56

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 13:56
Here's some hints on using the above power station website.
Click on the time period in the top line, then click on each heading in the menu below the time period headings.
With each click on the headings under the time period headings, text appears below the image, describing the situation under the heading for that time period.
FollowupID: 827911

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 14:11

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 14:11
As you view the East Perth power station history site, you will see a heading "sub-categories" on the left of the images.

Under the "sub-categories" heading, there are a list of sub-headings.
Clicking on the sub-headings reveals a list of "key words".
As you hold your mouse cursor over those words, individual words and short phrases are highlighted.

Clicking on the highlighted words and phrases produces a new image with more information, which information includes text, stories, and audio files.
There are arrows to the right of each new image that produce a new image, a new story, or an audio file each time you click on the arrow.

The amount of information in the entire website is actually very comprehensive, and it will keep you fully entertained if you have a half an hour or more to spare.
FollowupID: 827914

Follow Up By: Zippo - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 15:21

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 15:21
Ron, apologies but a minor nit-pick re your comment "In the 1980's, the power supply for W.A. was reduced from 250V to the Australia-wide standardised 240V."

Unlike elsewhere, the W.A. Electricity Act did NOT define a single phase voltage, but only a balanced three-phase figure which - pre-harmonisation - was 440V (plus/- of course). From that, a single-phase CALCULATED voltage was 254V.

Note to site operators: it is a PITA that a PLUS sign, no matter whether naked or within quotes, is not processed in your system.
FollowupID: 827920

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 19:53

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 19:53
Zippo, thanks for that info. The 254V figure sure rings a bell now.

Did you see where such was the equipment and skills of the blokes in the East Perth power station workshop, that one machinist actually remachined a steam turbine for a U.S. Destroyer during WW2?!

I had the pleasure of being shown through the Hoffmann Engineering workshop in Bassendean during the early 1990's, by John Hoffman.
They were reconditioning a turbine from the Muja power station at that time, and the size of it was mind-boggling! - as was the amount of work required to recondition it.
The machining and balancing had to be so precise because of the speed it spun at.
I can recall John telling me the reconditioning was costing $300,000 - but a new replacement turbine was $2,000,000!

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 827939

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