Description of the Sunshine Harvester Works Power House.
Year established: By 1909
The Sunshine Harvester Works power house supplied electricity to the whole plant from the early 1900s. In 1911, the company began to supply electricity to the suburb of Sunshine from its plant. Power was sourced from the Victoria Railways Albion sub-station and, later,the State Electrical Commission.
Electricians in the power house installed and maintained electrical equipment throughout the factory – a mammoth task considering there were 1,250 electric motors in the plant in the early 1950s. Machinery serviced by power house staff included welding machines, furnaces, pyrometers, cranes and hoists. Furthermore, electricians repaired other electrical appliances located throughout the factory site including blowers, fans, bells, fire alarms, refrigerators and lights. There were over 2,000 lights installed in the factory and offices.
Former employees recall that electricians' duties were extremely stressful, particularly during periods of peak production when machinery broke down. Work was also dangerous at times. Former employees recall the deaths of two maintenance workers in the 1950s. Cyril Steadman was crushed by an overhead crane, while a press overturned on Scotty MacDonald.
Electricians in charge of the power house included Harry Shilston and Vernon Bult. Other foremen included Bert Leheny who was followed by Wally Ham. Bill Edwards was a sub-foreman, while Jack Raymond was the leading hand in the 1940s and 1950s.
The power house was eventually phased out following World War II and became part of the electrical maintenance department.
- Sunshine Review 1951, 'Sparks', no. 13, pp.6-7.
- Ray Browne, Glenn Bult and George Hales (former Sunshine Harvester Works employees), personal recollections held at Museum Victoria, 2000-2007.
- H.V McKay, Site Plan, 1909. Held in H.V McKay Sunshine Collection, Museum Victoria, registration no. HT 9463.
- Ford, O 2001, Harvester Town: The Making of Sunshine, 1890-1925. Sunshine Historical Society Inc, Sunshine.