Lake Macquarie History

History of Lake Macquarie Power Station (Wangi)

photo: premier j.j. cahill, lake macquarie power station opening, wangi, 7 november 1958

On Friday 7 November 1958, the Lake Macquarie Power Station at Wangi was officially opened by The Hon. J.J. Cahill, M.L.A. Premier of NSW.

The cost of the station was printed as 30 million pounds, loosely translating to an equivalent outlay today of about three quarters of a billion dollars.

Building commenced in 1950 and as many as 1,000 construction workers are believed to have camped at Wangi during the peak building phase.

Some three million bricks and 90,000 cubic meters of concrete went into the construction of the main building which measures approximately 291 x 52 metres. The three chimney stacks stand at over 76 meters high with an internal diameter of about 6.7 meters.

According to the significance assessment linked to the site’s heritage listing, by the time the power station was operating at full capacity, it was the largest in New South Wales, producing as much as one fifth of the state’s power supply.

It was expected that by 1960 the station’s six generators would be capable of producing a 330,000 kilowatt output.

The facility was also reportedly the last ‘railways designed station’ before ELCOM (the Electricity Commission) assumed responsibility.

Early in its operation, approximately 2000 tons of thermal coal was transported daily from nearby Awaba State Mine to power the station’s turbines.

The lake itself also contributed; thirsty steam condensers piped as much as 400,000 litres per minute from Myuna Bay, returning the water via a purpose built outlet emptying into Wangi Bay.

The Electricity Commission’s associated public relations launch booklet contains an anecdote about workers using their lunch hour to angle for fish attracted to the warm water discharged from the station’s outlet.

The station was decommissioned in 1986 and the majority of generating equipment removed by the early 1990s.

Reference

Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Planning Department 1974, Wangi Wangi planning district : report of the Shire Planner to the meeting of the Planning Committee, Lake Macquarie Shire Council, Boolaroo, N.S.W

Lee, Nola & Burgess, Myra & Pearson, Lorna & Southlakes Christian Women's Group 1987, Wangi Wangi and its people : a local history, Southlakes Christian Women's Group, Wangi Wangi, N.S.W