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State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) Collection

Photograph - State Electricity Commission, Turbine Room, Power Station, Yallourn, Victoria, circa 1950s

Image: Photograph - State Electricity Commission, Turbine Room, Power Station, Yallourn, Victoria, circa 1950s

Source: Museum Victoria

The State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) Collection contains glass plate and film negatives, photographic prints and photo albums, relating to the development of the electric power supply industry in Victoria, dating from the late 1880s to 1993. It includes images taken by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria and its various predecessors, both private and municipal power supply enterprises.

The State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) was established in 1921 to supply electricity to Victoria. This role continued until 1993 when it was disaggregated into generation, transmission and distribution companies, which were further split and privatised in the late 1990s.

Prior to the establishment of SECV, electricity was generated and distributed by a number of private and municipal generator and distribution companies. These companies generally relied on a fuel supply provided by the black coal industry of New South Wales, which was strike-prone and unreliable. The images in the SECV collection range from the 1880s to 1993 and include construction works, staff, interiors and exteriors of power stations in Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Geelong and Melbourne, the illumination and electrification of Victoria, and electrical products.

Key projects such as the development of the Yallourn Power Station, one of the first capital works to be carried out by the SECV, the Snowy Mountains Scheme, and the Rubicon Hydroelectric Scheme, are documented in this collection. The SECV also built and managed the company town of Yallourn for workers of the accompanying power station, and operated several railways and three provincial electric tramways, images of which are also included in the collection.

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