Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tennyson Power Station

In a wonderfully generous gesture, one of my readers sent me a collection of photographs taken by her father during the 1960s. Mary wrote that her father, who passed away in the 1990s, was a keen photographer who often took pictures on his way home from work at the Tennyson Power Station. Here is one of his photos of the power station.(Photo: © H Finn, M Phillips; date unknown)

Tennyson Power Station was built after the Brisbane City Council acquired the site on the Brisbane River, which was around 1947. The site was perfect for the purpose, because coal could be brought in by barge down the river from Ipswich, yet the powerhouse would only be a few kilometres from the CBD. The first stage of the utility was opened in 1953. The plant was assembled by BCC employees at a cost of around £1 million. It supplied electricity until its closure in 1986. Here is an aerial view of it in operation.(Photo: williampitt via http://www.walkingmelbourne.com)
And the electrical control room; again from Mary's Dad:

(Photo: © H Finn, M Phillips; date unknown)

After the station was decommissioned, it stood idle for a couple of decades while its future was being debated. The large quantities of asbestos contained within the structure were also an impediment to renovation. Finally, in 2005, it was announced that developer Mirvac would commence a project that would provide Queensland with a brand new tennis centre, together with up-market apartment blocks and community amenities in this desirable area of the city. The power station, by then in an advanced state of disrepair, was then demolished in 2006; a loss felt keenly by those who had made it a clandestine venue of sorts during the time it was vacant. Here is the completed tennis centre hosting its annual tournament, this sunset photo from 2009 - it has mainly been grey skies and rain this year :-(
(Photo: tripletrouble via wikipedia)

Edit: This is the house that used to stand in this location - the beautiful Hayslope. It was demolished when the Brisbane City Council acquired the land. (Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #47508)

Click here for a Google Map.


Next: Rock climbers


  1. Keep up the good work, it's much appreciated.

  2. thanks for keeping the blog going, i have been very slack responding to your posts from last year. i really love your blog.

  3. wonderful blog...I'll send you some of my photos of this powerstation derelict...I broke in one day and took some snaps...late 1990s...

  4. My father worked there between 1969, up until the 'B' Station closed in 1987. I remember going there as a 9 year old, when my dad would go in on his holidays to pick up his pay. Back then it was cash, and there was no such thing as your wages going into your bank account. I remember walking through the noisy Turbine hall to go across to the control room, so he could pick up his pay. Walking between no.4, and no.5 machines to go to the 'B' station control room. I remember putting my hands over my ears. Driving in was amazing too, as dad would drive the car under the coal and ash belts to go to the car park. I remember pieces of coal would drop off the belts and on to the bonnet, windscreen, and roof of the old HT Kingswood wagon, which was our family car. I was in awe of my dad and Tennyson Powerhouse, and wanted to follow in his footsteps. I'm now working at a power station myself, and am really enjoying it.

  5. I'm still using the fisheye lens that dad used to take that photo of the control room. It's over 50 years old and still works like a charm.


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