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New heritage sign to be unveiled to mark centenary of city’s first power pole

By February 24, 2023Heritage, News

One hundred years after Orange’s first power pole was first erected, a ceremony this week will see the unveiling of a new heritage sign to mark the occasion.

After more than forty years of gas-powered street lighting that began in 1877, the local Council began the switch to locally-generated electricity in the 1920s. The first light pole was erected in January 1923 and turned on in September that year.

Orange Deputy Mayor Cr Gerald Power believes the coming of electricity is an important milestone in the city’s history.

“We’ve come a long way since the days of the late 1800s when Orange’s city streets were illuminated by eighty gas-powered street lights,” Cr Power said.

“In the early days lamplighters would travel around 29 kms on horseback every evening to ignite the lamps, returning at midnight to extinguish them.”

“It’s always important to remember our history and the milestones that brought us to where we are today, and Council is pleased to be working with Essential Energy to mark this occasion and celebrate the LED street light technology that keeps us safe at night today.”

CEO of Essential Energy, John Cleland said Essential Energy is grateful to Orange City Council for their collaborative efforts in helping commemorate this valuable piece of local history.

“We’re proud to be working with the Orange City Council and Historical Society to celebrate this wonderful piece of local history. The standing of this pole 100 years ago represented an evolution of electricity innovation, which continues today, with Essential Energy investing in new technologies to create a smarter grid to ensure safe and reliable power for customers in Orange and across NSW.“

At 10 am Friday 24 February Deputy Mayor Cr Gerald Power and the CEO of Essential Energy, John Cleland unveiled a new heritage sign at the site of the first pole. The pole is in Byng Street alongside the former Town Hall at the Byng & Anson Street corner.

The new heritage sign includes a photograph of Mayor Arthur Colvin helping to erect the first power pole in 1923.

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