Brisbane electrical cables donated to Smithsonian

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk meeting with Smithsonian electricity collections curator Hal Wallace

The Queensland Government has offered 134-year-old electrical cables uncovered in Brisbane to the Smithsonian Institution.

Lengths of Brisbane’s rare Edison Tubes – the southern hemisphere’s first ever power cable – were laid in 1884 and recently unearthed after the demolition of the Executive Building in Brisbane.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is in Washington DC this week, where she signed a three-year agreement to continue a Queensland-United States research and education program.

The premier also announced the Queensland Government offered the Smithsonian Institution several of the rare electrical cables which formed the earliest electrical grid to power the city.

“Queensland is Australia’s energy state,” she said.

“Queensland was an early adopter of electricity, indeed Thargomindah – a town of a population of 200 – was among the first places in the world power its own electric street lighting and the Queensland Parliament was the first to have electric lighting.

“Queensland continues to lead on electricity.

“Through continued public ownership, we have the most stable and secure electricity system in mainland Australia and we are diversifying our electricity mix – to boast 50 per cent renewables by 2030, expand biofuels along with developing LNG and a continued role for coal-fired power generation.”

The premier said the Edison Tubes were evidence of Queensland’s pioneering approach to electricity and the partnership with the United States, and it would be fitting to celebrate this at the Smithsonian.

“The only other cities in the world to have similar installations at that time were New York and London, so the equipment has historic significance,” she said.

Queensland is the only regional government outside North America and the only government in Australia to have a fellowship agreement with the Smithsonian Institution.