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Edward Barton: father of the electricity industry in Qld

December 11 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Edward Gustavus Campbell Barton- 1858 -1942 – The father of the Electricity Supply Industry in Queensland

The presentation will cover the contribution that Edward Barton made as a pioneering Electrical Engineer and who laid the foundations for the start of the electricity supply industry in Queensland, Born in Melbourne in 1858, his early training in Germany , Scotland and England prepared him for his role in Brisbane, commissioning and operating the first Government Printery power station in 1886. He then started Barton &White & Co., Queensland’s first company to supply electricity to the public in Brisbane from his Edison Lane Power station in 1888. His successor companies Brisbane Electric Supply Company and City Electric Light Co. developed the supply system from the central city to the expanding suburbs in the 1920’s.

He was the founding president of the Queensland Electrical Association, later Queensland Institute of Engineers, and set up electrical education at the Brisbane Technical College and University of Queensland. An eloquent speaker and widely travelled, he was a member of the Royal Geographic Society both in Qld and London, the Decimal Association and the Royal Historical Society of Queensland.

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. He has presented talks and displays  on the Edison Tubes in 2018 and 2019

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. He has been active as a research engineer with EHQ in the recovery of the Edison Tunes in 2018, and given presentations on their history

Wednesday talks are free, lunch afterwards $5.


The Royal Historical Society of Queensland


Commissariat Store Museum
115 William St
Brisbane, 4000 Australia
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