Electricity in the City
The Council was responsible for lighting the inner City with electricity.
The first discussions of the use of electricity took place in 1891 at a special committee set up to investigate the best means of lighting the City by electricity. A committee met from 24 February 1891 to 19 January 1892 (AS-0009, volume 3, A-00432611).
Council established an Electric Lighting Committee in 1898 to consider the best means of lighting the City of Sydney by electricity. However, while this committee met on an as required basis, it was not a standing committee of Council.
The Municipal Council of Sydney Electric Lighting Act 1896 was passed in October 1896 and empowered the Council to generate electricity, establish lighting in streets and public and private places, and supply electricity to private customers.
The permanent Electric Lighting Committee was formed on 13 December 1900 to supervise the construction of a system of public and private supply of electric light and power for the City of Sydney.
The Pyrmont Power Station (now the site of Star City Casino) began generating in July 1904. Initially 343 lamps were lit, and households could apply to be connected.
Despite Council opposition, the Gas and Electricity Act, which transferred ownership and control of the Electricity Undertaking from the Council to a County Council to be constituted, was passed on 11 April 1935.
On 1 January 1936 the City Council's Electricity Department passed to the ownership of the Sydney County Council. However, a joint committee of the Sydney Municipal Council and the Sydney County Council was provided for under the provisions of the Act, so the Electricity Committee continued to report to Council until 1942 when it was finally abolished.
This collection includes some of the early discussions about electricity and electric lighting of the City and the Town Hall in the Letters Received series. It also includes early plans and photographs showing power poles, powerhouses and use of electricity, including electric trams (not a Council responsibility - managed by the Tramways Deparment) and early electric cars used by Council staff.
Letter: Allgemeine Elektricitats-Gesellschaft, Berlin promoting their electric lighting system, 1893
Letter - Forwarding of a bill to facilitate and regulate the supply of electricity to the City of Sydney, 1888
Letter - Invitation to witness a 'monster explosion' by electricity of 80,000 tons of stone, Sydney, 1878