Duck Reach Power Station
was the first publicly owned hydro-electric
plant in the Southern Hemisphere
, and provided the Tasmanian
city of Launceston
with hydro-electric power from its construction in 1895 to its closure in 1955.
The site was picked by a surveyor and engineer named C.St John David in 1892.
The penstock ran diagonally down the hill into the center of the rear of the power station where it channeled in to successively smaller pipes and finally to eight Siemens turbines.
Drilling the Tunnel
The tunnel was drilled to a length of 850-metres at a 1 to 110 grade. The tunnel was cut through the hill side instead of being piped around and it took 16 months to complete using pneumatic drills. Dolerite
is so hard it took one week of eighteen 8-hour shifts cutting from both ends of the tunnel to cut just 2.5 metres however the average speed of the drilling was about 5 metres a week.Two men were killed in accidents.
The following is paraphrased from the display plaques now within the power station:
Originally the installation had a capacity of 75 kW DC, provided by five 15 kW dynamos, and 360 kW AC, provided by three 120 kW alternators. The turbines were manufactured by Gilbert Gilkes and Co., whilst the dynamos and alternators were built by Siemens and Co.. All alternating-current (AC) supply was single-phase. By 1906 demand had risen and it became necessary to upgrade the... Read More