On the 9 May 2018, Research Engineers, Brian Becconsall and Stuart Wallace from Engineering Heritage Queensland (EHQ), gave a talk on the early history of Electric Lighting In Brisbane.
In 1880’s, following on from experience in London and New York, underground electricity mains invented by Thomas Edison were laid in William Street in Brisbane. In February this year, large sections of these mains were recovered and samples will be sent to museums around Australia and the world. These tubes were invented in 1891 by Thomas Edison in the USA, and used in Brisbane to connect the Government Printery power station to new electric incandescent lighting in Parliament House in 1896. Superseded and abandoned in 1906, they were rediscovered in 1992, and in Feb. this year, large sections were removed for the Queens Wharf project. Samples were organised for the Parliament house, national and overseas museums including the Commissariat Store Museum. The RHSQ Collection received two 1.6 m long samples.
Brian Becconsall is a retired electrical engineer, a Fellow of Engineers Australia and a long-time member of Engineering Heritage Qld. He spent 48 years in the Queensland Electricity Industry, starting as a cadet with the SEAQ in 1956, graduating UQ in 1961, worked overseas in Canada and USA for 2 years, and in Queensland with QEGB, QEC and Powerlink Qld in High Voltage Transmission before retiring in 2004. He was involved in the first 1992 dig for the Edison Tubes in William St. by Energex and Qld Museum with researchers Don McKenzie (QM) and Emeritus Professor Syd Prentice (UQ), and the 2018 recovery of Edison Street Tubes.
Stuart Wallace is a retired electrical engineer, a Fellow of Engineers Australia and an active member of Engineering Heritage Australia (Queensland). A graduate of both QUT (then QIT) and UQ, his career of over 40 years was mostly spent in consulting in the fields of power generation and transportation across the globe. His keen interest in electrical engineering history is both professional and personal as he is a fourth generation engineer and third generation electrical engineer.
Brian Becconsall and Stuart Wallace has donated a display of prepared two-core and three-core tubes to the RHSQ Collection, that will be exhibited alongside with the Edison tubes.