Power station heritage bound

POWER PLANT: Robyn Gray with Ray Musgrave, the power station's last Superintendent, and Richard Crichton who was the power station 'caretaker' when the doors closed in 1988.
POWER PLANT: Robyn Gray with Ray Musgrave, the power station's last Superintendent, and Richard Crichton who was the power station 'caretaker' when the doors closed in 1988. Contributed

IT was once slated for demolition, but now the old Mullumbimby Hydro Electric Power Station has been placed on the NSW Heritage Register.

Construction of the station at Laverty's Gap on Wilsons Creek Rd started in 1924.

It was designed engineer William Corin, who had also reported on the Snowy River hydro-electric scheme, and was an initiative of Mullumbimby Municipal Council.

According to historical notes on the NSW Environment and Heritage website, the tunnel through Laverty's Gap was completed on December 1, 1925.

Later that month the scheme was turned on for the first time, lighting the Mullumbimby village.

There were numerous additions to the power station over the years, but the Mullumbimby Hydro-electric Power Station was decommissioned in 1990.

In 2008 approval was given to demolish the building.

However Country Energy decided against it after concerns were raised by members of the community.

Restoration work was undertaken, and this week Ballina MP Don Page announced that the NSW Heritage Council had put the old power station on the Heritage Register.

He said this type of infrastructure should be preserved as a link with our early engineering history.

"When the power station was turned on it lit up Mullumbimby, which was a significant achievement, and it's fitting this piece of engineering and local history is now to be preserved as a reminder of our past," he said.

"In 1939 additional infrastructure was built at the Laverty's Gap weir which provided a reliable, clean water supply for Mullumbimby.

"The Heritage Council of NSW found the Mullumbimby Power Station was a fine example of a hydro-electric development and technical innovation in a beautiful natural setting.

"In fact, two of the turbines are among only a handful surviving in their original context in the world."

Topics:  heritage register

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