Constructed in 1901, at the time it was considered to be one of the first industrial complexes in Queensland, Australia to use electricity on a large scale. The 2-phase 60 cycle system provided electricity to the 200 electric motors on site at least 15 years before electricity came to the town itself. Trains would come through loaded with coal and emptied into the underground bunkers where workmen would then hand shovel it to the required areas.
The Power House retains abundant evidence of coal fuel bunkers, ash removal system, electrical equipment, and the giant accumulator which supplied water under pressure to the riveters and flanging presses of the Boiler House. It also contains historic machinery and equipment, such as the 1901 overhead travelling gantry cranes, the hydraulic accumulator, and a steam driven hydraulic pump. The building itself is a fine example of the Federation Romanesque style of architecture with bold use of brickwork in projecting plinths, pilasters, corbels, dentil courses and string courses.
The Energy Brix Power Station was a brown coal–fired thermal power station in Australia. The power station was used to supply electricity for the retail market, as well as the production of briquettes in the adjacent Energy Brix briquette works. It was shut down in August 2014 and is currently the earliest surviving large-scale power station designed to provide electricity to the state electricity network. Work on the power station and briquette works commenced in 1949 when field works on an open cut mine commenced, and briquette production equipment was ordered from Germany.
Production at the plant started in 1956, with the briquettes produced used for domestic and industrial use, as well as town gas production for Melbourne at an adjacent gasworks by the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria. The Energy Brix power station has five steam turbines with a combined generation capacity of 170 megawatts (230,000 hp), one 20MW, three 30MW and one 60MW Metropolitan Vickers turbo generators. The power station sourced raw brown coal for briquette production via train from the Yallourn and Loy Yang open cut mines, and it’s steaming coal for power generation from the Morwell open cut mine. On Boxing Day 2003 a fire destroyed the coal cross-over conveyor that fed B, C & D briquette plants. Following the fire, only A plant continued in operation, effectively operating at 1/8th of intended capacity until closure.
The Briquette Factory was taken off for the last time in August 2014. The last boiler and turbine in the power station was taken off on September 8, 2014. Around 75 people lost their jobs not including many more employees that were not directly employed by the Briquette Factory and Power Station. In its heyday the Briquette and Power as it was then known employed around 1000 people and the power station was designed to be what’s known as an “Island Station”, which meant it could be used to supply power needed to run start up plant at other power stations in the area if for some reason they all were temporarily shut down.
The flywheel of a briquette press. The machine drove a cam which pressed dried coal dust into two different types of briquettes, ‘L’ briquettes for industrial and ‘H’ briquettes of household use. The briquette factory was a separate operation to the power station that wasn’t involved in the production of electricity.