TAMWORTH has celebrated its place in history as the City of Light with activities marking 125 years of electricity in the city.
Hosted, fittingly, at the Powerstation Museum, a ceremony marked the anniversary of the first municipal electric street lighting in Australia – in Tamworth on November 9, 1888 – on Saturday morning, and the refurbished obelisk at the Quality Hotel Powerhouse was lit on Saturday night.
Tamworth Regional Council general manager Paul Bennett was the host for the morning’s events, with nearly 100 people visiting the museum to mark the occasion, where a free science fair was held.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray spoke about how electricity came to Tamworth and who was involved. He acknowledged the descendents of those people were at the ceremony and spoke about mayoress Elizabeth Piper, who turned on the lights in 1888.
“This anniversary is a significant milestone for Tamworth as the first location in Australia to have electric street lighting – a momentous decision by our forefathers which showed great vision and confidence in the town’s future,” Cr Murray said.
Essential Energy chief operating officer Gary Humphreys spoke about how significant the generation of electricity in Tamworth was to the start of spread of electricity across the nation.
He also showed his appreciation to Tamworth with two gifts to the museum.
Historian Warren Newman spoke about the role V Guy Kable played in getting electric street lighting to Tamworth.
Mr Newman outlined Mr Kable’s family history, from convict origins to V Guy Kable coming to Tamworth and becoming the town clerk at 21, the youngest ever, and his involvement in the spread of electricity in Tamworth and beyond throughout his career.
Mr Kable also played an important role in the war effort in Melbourne after his time in Tamworth and died in 1947.
A plaque dedicated to V Guy Kable was unveiled on a wall of the Powerstation Museum at the conclusion of the morning’s ceremony.
“It all went over very well,” Mr Newman said.
“This is all very significant to Tamworth.”
At sunset the refurbished obelisk at the Quality Hotel Powerhouse was lit for the first time.
Workers started refurbishing the monument at the hotel last month.
The monument was built in 1938 to mark 50 years of electric lighting in the city, at the spot where the first powerhouse stood.
The previous lightweight panelling has been removed to reveal the original concrete structure, which was cleaned and had electrical wiring replaced and new lighting systems installed.
Contrasting granite tiles were also fixed to the obelisk as part of the refurbishment.