Tamworth powers on

TAMWORTH was once again the City of Light on Friday, as the Powerstation Museum lit up the night with an artwork inspired by the city’s original street lighting plan.

EYE OPENING: Ken Russell takes Elizabeth Farrelly and Margaret Brady on a guided tour. Photos: Geoff O’Neill 220416GOD05

EYE OPENING: Ken Russell takes Elizabeth Farrelly and Margaret Brady on a guided tour. Photos: Geoff O’Neill 220416GOD05

As part of the Heritage Week celebrations, more than 350 people flocked to the museum as it threw its doors open for its first evening event.

Powerstation Museum director Bridget Guthrie said the museum had a pop-up bar, live music and guided tours.

“We also had a music playlist with songs that all had the word ‘electric’ in the title,” Ms Guthrie said.

“It was fabulous to see a really diverse crowd. We had children, families, young people, older people and our volunteers, many of whom are in their 80s.”

Ms Guthrie said the museum celebrated Tamworth’s “very big” place in history, as the first city in the southern hemisphere to have electric street lights.

“It’s import to get that story out there. The progressive nature of the city at the time is just phenomenal,” she said. 

“It’s part of our heritage and part of who we are.”

The public artwork was designed by home-grown audiovisual engineer Josh Chaffey, who based it on the 1888 Tamworth street lighting plan.

“It’s almost like an aerial view of what Tamworth would have looked like back then,” Ms Guthrie said.

She said one of the most “captivating” parts of the night were the original John Fowler steam engines used to power the streetlights, which the museum had up and running.

“Normally when we have them running it’s during Country Music Festival or for the anniversary in November, so it’s very hot,” she said.

“But on Friday, it got rather chilly and the steam was really coming out – it just added to the whole atmosphere.”

The museum is considering doing another evening event for next year’s Heritage Week.