Track 3: For Power or For Passage: Re-envisioning Historic Industrial and Transportation Infrastructure
2 - Keeping the Lights On - Issues and Challenges in the Conservation of Australia's Electrical Industrial Heritage
Tuesday, September 25
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
The establishment of electricity infrastructure was fundamentally transformative to people's lives in the later 19th and early 20th century. Now however, the availability of reliable electricity is taken for granted in many parts of the world, and is practically invisible to many people's day-to-day life - until it is not available. Changes in technology, reliability requirements and safety standards have begun to impact on the conservation of Australia's electrical heritage. After many decades of under-investment, there has been a major push in the last decade to substantially upgrade electrical installations across Australia, which has rendered many sites redundant, or has required major modifications to keep them in service. This paper examines the issues associated wit the conservation of electrical industrial heritage at a general level, considers them in further detail with respect to the situation over the last decade in New South Wales, Australia, and concludes with a detailed examination of the conservation works undertaken to the oldest operational electrical distribution substation in Australia, built in 1910, and how a balance was able to be struck between conservation, asset management and service delivery requirements, to allow the substation to stay in service.
- have a general understanding of the tensions which exist in the conservation of operational infrastructure.
- identify some of the issues which may arise when developing a conservation program for an item of infrastructure heritage, with specific reference to the electricity industry.
- understand the trade-offs which can be required between ongoing service delivery and historic preservation, for in-service infrastructure.
- understand the arguments used with clients and regulators to affect a compromise which preserves the key heritage values of an item of industrial or infrastructure heritage.