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Research Guides

Government Records about the Australian Capital Territory

Electricity supply

The Territory's early electricity supply was provided by the Power House built on Interlake Avenue, Eastlake (now Wentworth Avenue, Kingston). The building was designed by John Smith Murdoch, and was built between 1913 and 1915, commencing operation in August 1915.

In 1926, the Federal Capital Commission began negotiations with the NSW Government by which the Territory's electricity supply would be sourced from the Burrinjuck Dam hydro-electric scheme. With the conclusion of negotiations, the NSW Parliament passed the Burrinjuck Hydro-electric (Canberra Agreement) Act 1929 in April of that year, and electricity flowed to the Territory from September.

The Power House was shut down soon after. It was later used, on occasion, when repairs were being carried out on Burrinjuck Dam and again after World War II, when accelerated development meant that there were shortages within the NSW power grid. It closed permanently in 1957 and the plant was dispersed to other locations or sold for scrap. The Power House is now the Canberra Glassworks, which opened in May 2007. Today, Canberra's electricity continues to be supplied from the NSW power grid, apart from a small amount of hydro- electricity generated in the Territory.

Plans and drawings for the Federal Capital power generating station, 1911–71 A7712
Old Canberra Power House log books, 1916–66 A7881
National Archives
Photograph of Canberra Power House and Mount Ainslie, 1913 M1483, 17/2
Federal Capital power-generating station, general arrangement of pipe line, Canberra pumping installation, 1913 A2445, M91
Detail survey, Power House, Red Hill reservoir, and branch line Canberra Station to power house, 1914 A657, DS1914/3573
Power House, Canberra, overhaul of plant, 1919–21 A192, FCL1921/29
Power House, Canberra, 1919–22 A192, FCL1922/136
Agreement regarding supply of electric current from Power House, Canberra, 1921 AA1973/26, 6468
Detail survey of Power House, Canberra, 1921 A364, DSS1921/124
Department of Works and Railways, Canberra power plant records, 1922 A2445, M2063B
Power House, Canberra, 1920–23 A199, FC1923/902
Contours, Power House, near Wentworth Avenue, 1938 A6664, L128
Drawing of electrical substation, Acton, 1940 A2617, section 13/13329
Canberra electricity supply, Acton offices substation, 1940–44 A292, C19792
Canberra Power House, new boiler house stack, 1946–54 A292, C23353
Standby electricity supply for Canberra, 1960 A4940, C3131
Canberra, emergency power plant, 1927–33 MP33/1, NSW1933/139


Chapter 9
Sewerage system