Kingston Powerhouse Oral History

In recognition of the superb historic value of the Kingston Power Station, Engineering Heritage Canberra resolved in 1998 to conduct a series of interviews with those who actually worked at the "Powerhouse" and experienced the ups and downs of providing reliable power to the nation´s capital. These workers´ oral histories from the 1940s and 1950s, describe their own experiences in working there and the challenges they faced in providing Canberra with reliable electrical power during a time of great expansion of the city and its electricity network.

Matthew Higgins, a local Canberra researcher, was commissioned for the work. Matthew has worked as a professional historian for more than 25 years, written a number of books including "Rugged Beyond Imagination", a history of the Canberra region´s high country. Matthew is currently senior curator at the National Museum of Australia. He conducted the interviews between 24 November and 17 December 1998. [Photo from]

Engineering Heritage Canberra has selected about sixty of the most interesting and salient parts of these interviews, and excerpted them here, in MP3 format for download. We hope you find these first hand accounts both interesting and educational.

WARNING: These segments may contain the voices of deceased persons, or accounts of fatal industrial accidents, animal deaths, or occasional coarse language.

The heritage-listed buildings of the old Kingston Power Station are now occupied by the Canberra Glassworks. The Glassworks provides opportunities for visitors to interact with and learn about glass making and the heritage of Canberra's Kingston Powerhouse. Visitors can meet artists, see glassmaking as it happens, view exhibitions, take tours and have a hands-on experience working with glass. See for further information.

Alternative content