I write for Weekend Notes and I take photographs, usually sunsets and sunrises. Occasionally I include my photos in my articles. I like to promote Geelong, and activities around Geelong.
Published June 1st 2015
A Graffiti Art Gallery at the Powerhouse Geelong
The old Powerstation B Geelong or the Powerhouse, as it has been renamed, was an old derelict building, with most of its windows smashed, standing alone on a vacant block of land. It is still standing, and it has been renewed as a graffiti canvas for graffiti artists and also for anybody who wants to put their work up on display, on the walls of the Powerhouse. At the bottom of this article you can read about the history of the Powerhouse.
Inside the walls of this abandoned Powerhouse, and even on the walls outside the huge Powerhouse, dozens of artists have left their mark. The Powerhouse can be found in North Geelong, on Mackey Street, (behind Pilkington Glass) with the facade overlooking Corio Bay. This graffiti artists paradise, once an old metal and concrete Power Station, is now a legal street art precinct, where dozens of artists have left their mark. The beauty of this legal graffiti canvas is that people can come and paint, express themselves and leave their work up for a while. Most of the work will eventually be painted over so that more artists can come and display their work.
It is a real unique experience to walk around the PowerHouse, inside and out, to view the awesome paintwork on display, to take photos of some masterpieces, and to watch in awe as a giant red dragon appears on the side of the building.
When I went to visit the Powerhouse for the first time, after hearing so much about it from other Geelong residents, I was amazed at the diverse images painted inside and outside the Powerhouse, on the walls, columns, and canvas boards. Ian Ballis was up on a scissor lift painting the red dragon in my photo above. Ian was not the artist, however he was filling in or painting parts of the dragon, while the artist stood below, watching his dragon come to life.
In March 2015, Powerhouse Geelong held a Spray off Shoot Out Competition. There was $5,000 worth of prizes on offer, with 10 categories. Artists were able to rock up at 8.00 am on Saturday March 14th, register and paint until 3.30pm. Artists had old doors, bonnets, panels and an old retro caravan available as their canvas.
So not only can graffiti artists express themselves on the walls of the old power station, they can also enter competitions to win prize money. Keep your eyes peeled to the facebook Powerhouse site and also check out the Powerhouse website.
I called this image (above) Woman in Water. The artist may have a different name for her. You can see more of his artwork on his Facebook page - CLAP - Meataxe Design.
History of the Power House - in the 1950s to 1960s
The Geelong B Power Station - with a capacity of 30,000 kilowatt (30 MW) was located in North Geelong, overlooking Corio Bay. This Power Station was the largest power station in Victoria outside the Latrobe Valley.
On the 8th October 1954, the Geelong B Power Station was officially opened by the Honourable J.W. Galbally MLC, Minister in Charge of Electrical Undertakings.
Geelong B Powerhouse, in Mackey St, North Geelong was a "packaged" station. It was built from packaged components imported from the United States of America. It was erected under contract for the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. The contract included supply and erection of buildings, boilers, generators, switch gear and coal handling. The contract also included putting the power station into service.
The boiler house was built outside the main building, with the three boilers connected to a generator with a capacity of 10,000 kW. Cooling water was drawn from Corio Bay. Most of the power generated was used by local industry.
I'm no physicist and I find chemistry challenging, so I am not about to try to educate anybody about how a power station works. The boilers produced 110,000 pounds of steam per hour, and I am not going to bore you more with the details of "psi" or "Mg/h" or "MPa".
What I understand is that the boilers produced steam. Fuel for the boilers was moved by belt bucket and scraper conveyors to the fuel bunkers, then it was delivered to the boilers by mechanical spreader stokers.
The fuel used was brown coal purchased by the SECV from Wensley Brae open cut mine at Winchelsea. In 1960 coal was purchased from the mine at Anglesea, a better quality coal. A further change saw the boilers being converted to use briquettes which came by rail from Yallourn to Geelong.
In the 1960s the Geelong B Power Station was only used to meet peak loads because of the high operating costs. The Anglesea Power Station opened in 1969. The Geelong B Power Station was closed in 1970. Newer power stations were opened in the Latrobe Valley which inevitable forced the closure of the Geelong B Power Station in 1970.
The Power Station or Power House as it is now called, is still standing, although it has been vandalised inside and outside the building. Most of the windows are smashed. One benefit of such a large, imposing building, left standing, intact, is that it became a place for graffiti artists to express themselves. A huge canvas to paint and to leave their mark.
Please leave a comment if you liked this article. Also if you've been to the Powerhouse and have a great photo that you're proud of, please add it to my article with your comment. Thank you.