White Bay Power Station, New South Wales

White Bay Power Station, New South Wales

The White Bay Power Station is a heritage listed former coal-fired power station on a 38,000 square metre site in White Bay, in the suburb of Rozelle, 3 kilometres from Sydney in New South Wales, Australia.

The remains of the plant can be clearly seen at the western end of the ANZAC Bridge on the junction of Victoria Road and Roberts Street. The station has been inactive for a number of years and the site is now inaccessible to the general public.

The station is often wrongly referred to as the Balmain Power Station, a plant originally located in Iron Cove, which has since been demolished.


To satisfy the power requirements for the expansion of the Sydney tram and rail network, the NSW Department of Railways began the first phase of work on The White Bay Power Station in 1912.

The plant, constructed in the Federation Anglo-Dutch architectural style, was fully operational from 1917 but two further phases of development, 1923-1928 and 1945-1948, saw the station expand even further. It remained under the control of the department until 1953 when the newly created Electricity Commission of NSW took over. Ownership moved to Pacific Power when NSW electricity was deregulated during 1995.

White Bay was the longest serving of Sydney's metropolitan power stations and ceased production on Christmas Day in 1983. During the 1990s, the site was decontaminated, asbestos was removed and the majority of the remaining machinery taken away. In 2000, the plant was sold to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) for around A$4m.

The SHFA has produced a conservation management plan for the White Bay area and this was endorsed by the NSW Heritage Council in 2004. The future of the site, the now derelict buildings and the remaining contents remains uncertain.

Recent uses

The site was a popular venue for photographers and film and television productions. Productions at the power station include "The Matrix Reloaded", "Red Planet" and a number of Australian television series and advertisements. A metal staircase constructed during the making of The Matrix Reloaded remains in the boiler house.

Occasional licensed guided tours of the plant have been arranged by organisations such as the Historic Houses Trust and Australia ICOMOS. Urban exploration groups such as Cave Clan are also known to frequent the site on an unlicensed (presumably illegal) basis.

One of each piece of power plant machinery remains on the site to demonstrate the process of generating power from coal should public tours or redevelopment ever take place in the future.

ee also

*Electricity generation
*Energy development


* State Records NSW, Electricity Commission of New South Wales, [http://investigator.records.nsw.gov.au/Details/Agency_Detail.asp?Id=500 Agency Detail]
* "Leichhardt: On the margins of the city", Allen & Unwin, 1997, ISBN 1-86448-408-X.
* New South Wales Government Heritage Register; "White Bay Power Station"; Accessed October 2006; [http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/07_subnav_02_2.cfm?itemid=5001335]
* O'Brien, G; "The power has flickered, but the spark of the future is lit"; Sydney Morning Herald; 26/11/03; [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/11/25/1069522607817.html?from=storyrhs]

External links

* [http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au/dyncontent.cfm?MenuID=218 Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority]
* [http://www.sydneyports.com.au/Mediaroom/pdf/PartA.pdf Sydney Ports - Glebe Island and White Bay Master Plan]
* [http://photosau.com/Leichhardt/scripts/home.asp Local Images at InnerWest ImageBank]
* [http://www.lmc.nsw.gov.au/libraries/07 Local History Collection, Leichhardt Council]
* [http://www.sydneyarchitecture.com/LEI/LEI10.htm Sydney Architecture Images]

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