South Fremantle Power Station
Originally published on Perth 6000 Times Blogspot
All info and photos attributed to ND (20 December 2009)
Permission granted to republish on Streetkid Industries
Built 1946, abandoned 1985. 34 years of life for a power station seems kind of short. Call this part two, as most of this building has been featured before on 6000times. A trip back down to Fremantle really was worth it just to view the North West section of the structure, which I hadn't previously seen. Yes, Fremantle. Home of John Butler, Luc Longley, and about 24 thousand freaks. Far out man. I haven't seen that many freaks per-capita since my trip up to Two-Rocks, visiting abandoned-Atlantis.
Chatting yesterday with a particularly logical aquaintance of mine, I came to a decision. "From now on, every photo I ever take for the rest of my life will be in black and white". Analytically, he asked "why?", with an intense, Vulcanic raise of his eyebrows. Already doubting my considered decision, I would need to convey my reasoning in the most accurate and succinct way possible. "Because it looks better", I offered. "Yes, you are correct", my nerdy associate replied. Black and white photos, look better. Black and white film, even more so. Impeccable logic. Without pecc, the very best photos of all are black and white, film, and taken with a Leica.
I had planned to write an amusing rant about colour vs black and white, contemplated against the irony of a short-lived coal-fired 1940's Fremantle power station, and its relevance in a post-eco world. However, there are two reasons I won't. First, I've already had 6000times twittered, in a particularly feeble way, as "checked out 6000times, seems like a load of pretentious wank to me". Well, I'm not going to make apologies for those who don't realise the importance of, for example, Iwan Iwanoff's use of concrete block surface/facade articulation, in a raised, 3D relief/tectonic, a volumetric articulation/spatial definition AND ALSO as a screening effect. I mean, come on, I don't think many of the master architects even in Wright's era (well, Wrights pre-Columbian era) have done that! Not to mention Iwanoff's letter box articulation is a clever abstract interpretation of meso-American bass relief figureheads. Some people just don't get it. Secondly, I have just had a call, my mates are at the pub, and its sunny outside.
So, in summary, yada yada, got lost in the tunnels at the power station, a murder site, once again, my girlfriend wouldn't come inside the festering, dank, dark, tunnels, blah blah, plenty of graffiti, and when I called out "I'M FUCKING SERIOUS THIS TIME, I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA HOW TO GET THE FUCK BACK TO THE OUTSIDE FROM IN HERE", I heard something about, "I'll visit you on your birthday, hurry up, its 37 degrees out here you've been in there for hours".
Enjoy, South Fremantle Power Station in glorious colour. Now, beer.
More on the South Fremantle Power Station
In 2004, American Industrial metal band Fear Factory filmed their music video for the single Cyberwaste off their album Archetype at this location. Somewhere inside there's a huge Fear Factory logo.
Construction of the Power Station commenced in January, 1946. The South Fremantle site was chosen for its relatively close metropolitan population, its proximity to nearby railway facilities for the delivery of coal and the ease with which seawater could be utilised for the cooling system. The four boilers 1, 2, 3 & 4 of 'A' Station were fired up in January 1951; the first 25 MW turbo-alternator came on line in May 1951 prior to the official opening of the Power Station on 27 June 1951 by the Hon. David Brand, Minister for Electricity. In September 1951, the second 25 MW turbo alternator came on line. The No. 3 turbo alternator came on line in January 1954, and the No. 4 turbo alternator in December 1954. The power station was then complete with a total capacity of 100 MW.
Much of the plant was designed and manufactured in England, with skilled contractors were sent out from England to assemble the plant on site. The State Energy Commission encouraged the recruitment of staff by providing housing in the Hilton Park area, and the new suburb soon had many community amenities. A bus service from the Power Station to Hilton and Fremantle was provided for shift workers. Over 250 workers were employed at the power station during the 1950s.
In 1954, a major fire at South Fremantle in the coal conveyor from the crusher house caused structural damage and resulted in a switch to oil fuel for the boilers. In the mid 1970s the plant was converted back to coal, which fuelled the station until its closure in 1985. By the 1980s production of electricity at South Fremantle had become uneconomical. The interconnected grid then was supplying electricity from power stations with more up-to-date machinery and closer to the coal source at Collie, Bunbury, Kwinana and Muja.
In September 1985, the South Fremantle Power Station closed after 34 years service and its four chimney stacks were demolished.