Electricity in Burra

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18 October 1878

Holders of gas shares in England are in a panic over the invention in the USA of electric lighting.

3 Jan. 1900

Burra Slag Extraction Co. has installed electric light which was seen for the first time in Burra also at the Smelting Works last week.

10 Jan. 1900

Young (& old) couples are complaining that the electric light is illuminating all those little spots a quarter of a mile away. [The lights were powerful arc lights.]

7 Nov. 1906

The management carry complete electric plant and the pictures are shown by powerful electric light. [People were disappointed when the company failed to visit Burra after all.]

18 Aug. 1909

Advt.
Breuer’s Pictures at Burra Institute Monday 23 August.
Don’t fail to see the Great Sensational Dramatic Picture Convict 99.
First picture at 8 o’clock. Electric Light of 50,000 Candle Power.

Burra's Royal Exchange Hotel

Burra's Royal Exchange Hotel

18 Dec. 1912

Advt. E. Slattery has taken over the Royal Exchange Hotel and it is being thoroughly renovated and refurnished. It will be fitted throughout with electric light and fans and a large hall erected for the convenience of customers and visitors.

23 Apr. 1913

Burra Town Council, Monday.
Cr Wicklein introduced the idea of lighting the town with electricity. Surely, he said, if smaller places like Crystal Brook and Jamestown could make it pay, Burra could too. The initial cost would probably be c. £5,000, maybe less. At Gawler it was £4,000, but the plant had to be doubled due to demand. He moved the clerk obtain all necessary information. The Mayor was aware of the great satisfaction expressed in Gawler.

30 Apr. 1913

2nd Leader on Lighting the Town
When Cr Wicklein brought up the question of electric lighting we were inly surprised it had not been raised earlier. Dozens of smaller towns in Australia manage it with good results. The initial cost will probably be c. £4,000 and maintenance, depreciation sinking fund and interest will all total c. £600 p.a. With over 300 houses in Kooringa alone and taking them all in would average c. £2 p.a. and though not every house would be connected, the hotels, shops and public buildings would compensate. The present lighting costs of c. £90 p.a. represent an assured revenue. In some towns the water supply is worked electrically and this could also be investigated. Electricity is undeniably more economical and superior for lighting. A generous lighting bill for electricity for a six-roomed villa in Adelaide is c. 7/- a month which compares well with kerosene at 5/- a tin. Generally electricity could be supplied cheaper than that if the Council did not have to make a profit. In addition to lighting electricity could provide for electric fans, electric irons and electric radiators.

21 May 1913

Burra Town Council, ordinary monthly meeting last Monday.
Council is to get an estimate of the cost of electric lighting for the town.

28 May 1913

Electric Lighting.
The firm advising on the cost of lighting the town with electricity has promises totalling 450 lights in Kooringa, which it is believed would pay 8% depreciation, 6% interest and sinking fund and still return Council a profit of at least £20. To extend the scheme to North Ward would require some 300 lights and this number has not been forthcoming. A ratepayers’ meeting will be called when the report is presented.

2 July 1913

Electric Light. Ratepayers’ Meeting on 24 June at the Institute.
The Mayor said Burra was in a good position to install electricity with no competing gas supplies and no town debt. Gawler and Kadina, both with debt, had successfully installed it. Jamestown had borrowed £3,000 to install electricity and Angaston was to be lit as well. In Kooringa canvassers had promises for 450 lights without banks, public buildings or offices, where directors had to give consent. Council was for going ahead borrowing at 5%. He would not support paying more. A scheme for Kooringa could be got for £2,300 with another £700 to include Aberdeen, which would need another 300 lights to make it pay – or £12 a month.
The firm, Messrs Turner, Robertson & Co. would undertake to run the plant, guarantee to pay the interest, 8% depreciation and a certain profit – depreciation being on £1,300 and not on the wires and posts. He was in favour, but the Council needed sanction of ratepayers for the scheme to raise a loan. Mr Crewes said he was a novice and was present to learn the pros and cons, but was for electricity: acetylene gas was dirty and expensive.
Mr Turner said each light with lamp would cost 22/- and a 50 candlepower light would burn 2 hours for 1d and 16 candlepower 4 hours for 1d. The present estimate allowed for 60% extension, which was believed adequate. There would be a saving on street lighting of nearly £30 in Kooringa. In the unlikely event of the scheme not paying there would be a charge on the rates. Council would carry the wires 60’ from the main free and the charge would then be 1/- per yard to the consumer. Mr Crewes thought a margin of 60% for growth was insufficient. Burra was going to grow and might have another copper mine. He also wanted North Ward included. He moved the meeting approve the installation of electric light. Mr H. Thomas 2nd. He believed the powerhouse should be in the centre instead of at the depot down in Cemetery Flat. Mr Turner said any large plant was out of the question and uneconomic. In canvassing Aberdeen he could get a promise of 21 lights. [Though he says he was there for 1½ hours of which 1 hour was wasted with hotel keepers.] If the powerhouse were not at the depot it would require land rental and another building and so cost another £1,000 and would not pay.
Mr Crewes thought if it wouldn’t stand another £60 p.a. costs then ‘it must be pretty near the rocks’.
Mr Turner said a large engine would mean a loss of at least £10 a month. It was cheaper to duplicate when needed. Mr Dane thought the canvassing was inadequate: he hadn’t been asked and he lived next door to a Councillor and was dying for electric light.
The Mayor said the limit for the town was to borrow £4,000. More enquiries would be made and another meeting held after a thorough canvass of the town.
The motion was carried almost unanimously.

23 July 1913

The Town Clerk expected to complete the canvassing of the town re electric lighting by Saturday.

30 July 1913

Electric Light Survey by E.J. Davey, Town Clerk, last week found 700 lights promised in East & West Wards, but only 175 in North Ward, where 300 would be needed to make the scheme pay.

6 Aug. 1913

Council discussed the possibility of raising a loan for electricity supply, considering sources, rates of interest and whether it could be a scheme applied to only two wards etc. One unknown was consumption. Many of the lights in Kooringa would be in shops and be used much less than the lights in houses in Aberdeen. Cr Lowe argued for the North Ward to be included as in the long run usage would increase and he moved accordingly. Cr Walker 2nd.
Cr Lane moved the scheme be confined to East and West Wards, as they would have to bear most of the cost if North Ward produced a loss, even though he paid rates there himself. Cr Parks 2nd.
Cr Harris regretted Cr Lowe and Cr Walker’s stand. Cr Lane’s amendment was carried 4 to 2.
[The actual report in column 3 is somewhat confused and sometimes says the reverse of what the context demands. A correction was published in XX, 1055, 13 August.]

20 Aug. 1913

‘Interested’ writes asking why there is such a delay in making a decision on electric light.

3 Sep. 1913

Ratepayers’ Meeting re Electric Light. Burra Institute.
The Mayor said that after the last meeting it had been promised there would be a complete canvass of the town and another meeting before a poll on the subject. The canvass resulted in 477 lights promised for East & West Wards and 174 in North Ward. The East & West Ward figures did not include public buildings or places where directors’ or a committee’s approval was needed. The expert advice was that it would not pay to extend the scheme to North Ward. Though commercially they could make the scheme work for just East & West Wards, they would have to pledge the general rate of the whole town to secure the loan. If the poll supported the scheme they would have to submit a statement of cost and then raise a loan.
Mr Fuss drew attention to the alteration in the proposed wording of the ballot paper allowing the Corporation to install the lighting in any part of the town it saw fit – giving it power to omit Aberdeen.
Mr Tietz asked if it were fair to ask North Ward to come into the guarantee and yet reap no benefit.
The East & West Ward Councillors were in favour of extending the scheme ‘when it is found to be a possible paying proposition’. The expert advice was that it required 300 lights to be economically viable in North Ward
. The Mayor said the present idea was to take the power as far as St Mary’s.
Mr Fuss, ‘It is only a right thing in a town like Burra that party feeling should be done away with and one part of the town assist another if necessary. Before long he had no doubt, the North Ward would be able to hold its own, and even now he felt sure that the scheme as a whole would pay.’
Cr Wicklein said, ‘There was no town in South Australia situated like Burra; it was so scattered, and consequently difficult to manage.’
Mr Thomas thought there should be a lighting rate and if Aberdeen were short of £50 equalise it. The strong should help the weak.
Cr Wicklein would strongly object to a rate.
Cr Walker was opposed to leaving North Ward out – he said 430 lights in East & West Wards were said to justify spending £2,500, but an extra £750 needed 300 lights to justify it and even West Ward extended to Opie’s Hotel. The Mayor said various places in East & West Wards would be uneconomic – like Cemetery Flat.
Mr Crewes thought the scheme should be extended to the whole town. Sacrifices would be needed to avoid cliqueism and party feeling. At present 33% of general rate expenditure went on streetlights and he doubted their moral or legal right to so use it. The health rate is in good condition so why not reduce it from 10d to 5d and have a 5d lighting rate? Mr Winnall then effectively summed up the situation.
The Mayor picked up Mr Crewes’ point and said it was quite legal to pay for lighting using the general rate.

Electric Light Poll. Saturday 30 August.
For               141
Against        100
Informal      18

3 Sep. 1913

G.A. Ridgway writes re the electricity scheme. He was disappointed that the Council seemed to approach the whole question from a point of view of lighting Kooringa Streets. What was needed was a scheme to meet a policy of supplying the whole town. W.H. Hardy’s proposal at the meeting to adjourn until a definite scheme was before them had more merit than at first appeared. There is a need to think about Burra instead of Kooringa.

10 Sep. 1913

Cr Lane moved that the Mayor and the solicitor (Mr Winnall) with the consulting engineer (From Turner & Robertson) form a deputation to lay the electric light scheme before the Minister. Carried.

17 Sep. 1913

The minister of Crown Lands asks for the electric supply proposal to be in writing rather than as a deputation.

17 Sep. 1913

Mr Winnall, who was present by request, said if he was to fill up the application to the minister for permission to raise a loan he needed to know if they intended to extend the electricity scheme beyond Kooringa. Cr Wicklein said no. Mr Winnall said in that case £2,200 should be sufficient. He also considered the estimated burning time of two hours per lamp was too long. If the estimate was correct he did not see how the scheme could pay as it only allowed £70 for wages.
Cr Wicklein said the driver would only be an improver and the plant would only be working three days a week. [This would suggest some type of battery storage system was contemplated.]
He moved a loan of £2,300 be procured. 2nd Cr Lane and carried.
Cr Parks gave notice of a motion that the resolution confining the lights to East and West Wards be rescinded.

26 Nov. 1913

Electric lighting has progressed as far as permission being given for its establishment and power to raise money for it. The next step is the consent of the Commissioner of crown Lands, who has been applied to, but no reply has yet been received. If the answer is yes, then I suggest we hasten slowly, drawing on the experience of others.

26 Nov. 1913

The big question now was the electric light. He had doubts about the so-called expert advice they had received. Imagine placing the running of the machinery in the hands of an apprentice at £72 p.a.! At Kadina the engineer got £275 p.a. This alone made him question the expert’s figures. The size of the plant was also questionable. Kadina was already seeking one three times the size of the one it had. If it could not extend to three wards it should be turned down altogether.

10 Dec. 1913

Burra Town Council Elections.
There was an election in each ward and for the Mayoralty. The Mayoralty was certainly decided on the question of the electric light. Mr McLaren was for a scheme for East & West Wards only, extending to North Ward when it could be proved economical. Mr Crewes was for no scheme unless it included all wards from the start. The voting reflected these differences clearly.

CrewesMcLaren
North Ward 99 29
West Ward2961
East Ward6192
189 182
East WardLane 109
Moore 44
West WardWicklein58
Hardy 33
North Ward Radford88
Richards41
21 Jan. 1914

The Australian Metal Co. will be pleased to submit specifications for an electric light plant for Burra – the cost of same being £25.
Cr Lane read from the Burra correspondent in the Kapunda Herald that Council had turned down the first electric light scheme in favour of a larger one ‘which was not to be a toy’. Such was not the case and he thought it unfair.
The mayor said ‘Certainly the scheme has not been turned down.’
Cr Walker thought that by now the Minister of Crown Lands should have said yes or no. It was resolved to ask the Minister. At present they will tell the Australian Metal Co. they are taking no steps in the matter.

11 Feb. 1914

A letter will be sent to the Commissioner of Crown Lands re his reply to the electric light scheme.

18 Feb. 1914

The Commissioner of Crown Lands has authorised the installation of electric light in Burra.

4 Mar. 1914

Letter from Gerald B. Lincoln & J. Kenneth McDougal, consulting electrical engineers of Melbourne, offering to give detailed costs re electric lighting for a fee of 30 guineas — half refundable if the scheme went ahead.
Turner Robertson & Co. were paid £10 for preparing an electric light scheme. [There was no commitment to them beyond their use as consulting engineers.]
The Commissioner of Crown Lands has postponed gazetting the original lighting scheme at Council request. The mayor thought that it was time for a decision on it.
Cr Wicklein said the scheme at Jamestown had failed due to an insufficiently powerful engine.
The Mayor didn’t know if that was Turner & Robertson’s fault or not, but only a portion of the town was being lighted. Kadina had similar problems.
Cr Radford thought the proposal for Burra was inadequate and moved it be rejected. Cr Walker 2nd.
Cr Lane moved deferral for six months and Cr Parks 2nd. Amendment carried with Radford and Walker opposed.

18 Nov. 1914

Cr Radford moved the electric lighting scheme submitted by Messrs Turner, Robertson & Co. last year be not accepted. Carried.

2 Dec. 1914

Mayor’s Report 1914 Electric Lighting
This has been much discussed and information from other centres gathered. In several places the schemes are too recent to allow useful evaluation. Under prevailing conditions of drought, tight money market and war, it was decided not to proceed and the scheme proposed by the previous Council was turned down.

2 Dec. 1914

Mr Crewes said he would gladly retire in favour of another candidate, but as none had come forward he was willing to continue. He referred to his report for the year. He was glad to have upset the unsatisfactory electric light scheme proposed for £2,500, but would work towards an efficient scheme which would probably cost £5,000, but would light the whole town.

1 Dec. 1915

Annual Meeting of Ratepayers, Monday 29 Nov. at the Institute.
[The Mayor]He felt the town was spending too much on lighting. He intended to make further enquiries about electric lighting, but it would cost £5,000 to £6,000 which would be hard to raise at a reasonable rate of interest.

1 Dec. 1915

The Mayor’s Report for 1915.
Electric light continued to be discussed by Council, but at this time it was thought inopportune and the Council decided to wait for an easier money market after the war.

22 Dec. 1915

Bridgers Ltd are to be written to asking on what terms they could supply electric light in Burra.

9 Feb. 1916

Bridgers Ltd. has outlined a scheme for electric light.

8 Mar. 1916

Bridgers Ltd said they could not raise capital to construct an electric light scheme during the war, but would happily negotiate on the matter after the war.

29 Nov. 1916

Electric Lighting
There have been several approaches about electric lighting, but while the war continues and money markets are difficult we decided to defer any decision. At present there are 20 acetylene lamps in town and the cost of maintaining them amounts to £5-5-0 per lamp and the rates do not allow more lamps without increasing the rate.

14 Mar. 1917

Notice. Tenders are called for a New Generator with the usual fixings for 30-40 lights for the Hospital. [Presumably an electric system. The hospital had a Delco electric generator before the Burra Electric Supply Co.’s arrival in 1924, but I don’t know when they changed from gas, which had been installed in 1904.]

19 Dec. 1917

Electric Lighting Scheme Revived.
At Burra Town Council on Monday Messrs Christie & Gardiner, consultant engineers of Melbourne, offered to draw up a report and give an estimate of the cost of lighting Burra with electricity. The report is to be gratis. The cost of the plant would be £5,000 to £5,400. The engineers had inspected the town at the Mayor’s invitation. They considered a scheme would pay and suggest a powerhouse site between Kooringa and Aberdeen. The railways would be a customer. They showed balance sheets from various plants they had installed with the cost to consumers, and each was very payable. The mayor though something needed to be done at once if at all since several residents were on the point of installing private schemes. Mr Lord had already done so. Mr Crewes had just had time to cancel an order for his firm and Mr Clark was holding off on a Council decision. Cr Radford moved the offer be accepted.
‘The present lighting scheme would be a disgrace to a wayside pub.’
The Mayor said £5,000 at 6% would cost £300 and at present they paid £150 per year for 20 miserable lights, which often would not burn.

6 Feb. 1918

Christie & Gardiner forwarded plans for electric lighting at an estimated cost of £4,800. They considered it would be profitable at 8d per unit for lighting and 4d for power.

20 Feb. 1918

Advice from the Hon. Foster is that the permission of the Federal Treasurer is needed to get a loan for an electricity scheme. This is unlikely unless it can be raised locally. The Municipal Assoc. gave contrary advice.
Peterborough advised that the cost of their scheme was £10,000 and charge 10d a unit for light and 6d a unit for power.
Strathalbyn’s plant cost £5,500 including batteries. Light is charged at 8d a unit and powers at 6d. There are 102 consumers. Both schemes are said to be satisfactory.

20 Feb. 1918

The Electric Light Scheme:
The Mayor said the scheme suggested had no accumulators. The firm alleged the batteries would cost £1,400 and last only 7 years.
Cr McBride said the estimates were absurd. Fuel was estimated at £60 p.a. – the engine at the Burra Mine cost 30/- a day to run. Salaries at £180 p.a. were also much too low as was the cost of the dynamo at £150.
Cr Radford said they had allowed for only a few hours running in the evening.
It was resolved to write to the firm for an explanation of their fuel price (given that wood in £1 a ton) and of the wages and oil costs. They would also say that the Council would not entertain a scheme that did not include a battery.
Cr McBride will get an engineer’s evaluation.

10 Apr. 1918

Enquiries re possible electric light schemes also continue. Mr Christie of Messrs Christie & Gardner was present re their electric light proposal.
The main question was whether it was better to have a large and small generator or a large generator and storage battery. Mr Christie said in theory a small town should be better off with a battery because it enabled continuous service without having to run an engine continuously, BUT a battery cost c. £1,000 and because it was impossible to get engineers who understood them well its average life was not over 5 years. Their firm would therefore recommend one engine of 100 h.p. for the heavy evening load until about 11.30 p.m. and a small automatic 15 h.p. engine to carry the load from 11.30 p.m. to daylight. This could run for six hours without needing attention. When told that Jamestown would not be without its battery he said their experience was only of 12 months and a battery would be good for a year or two. The best one he knew was at Numurkah in Victoria, which with extraordinary care had lasted 6½ years and might go another six months. With a battery a 70 h.p. engine would do. If they went for the automatic set option they would need to have a boy on the premises when it operated. He would send them an estimate of the relative costs of the alternatives over 5 years.
The Hydraulic Engineer will be asked about the possibility of using electricity to pump the town’s water and the railways will also be approached about their usage.

17 Apr. 1918

Christie & Gardner advise that an auxiliary electric plant would cost £131 p.a. A battery would cost (assuming a life of six years) £400 p.a. including interest and depreciation. Henry Roach & Sons said they couldn’t say if they would use electricity until they knew its cost. Drew & Crewes would use electric light.
The mayor said they had not yet sufficient information to lay before ratepayers to justify calling a meeting about electric light. Cr Radford thought that the cost would be 30% more than in normal times and therefore it would be silly to call a meeting. The Mayor wondered if people were prepared to wait seven years or so until things got back to normal – even if the war ended tomorrow it would take years to return to normal. He favoured going to the ratepayers.
Plans and specifications would cost £150 and before spending that it was necessary to know that ratepayers would not turn it down. One problem about the scheme’s viability was the number of private plants that would be installed if delay went on. Cr Dane moved that the Town Clerk write to Christie & Gardner saying that if they were prepared to run the scheme at their own risk for two years as stated by Mr Christie whilst in Burra, the Burra Council would do its best to carry out the scheme. Carried with Cr Killicoat opposed. He favoured getting other opinions. He believed the proposed scheme was unreasonable. He thought the costings for labour were absurd.
B. Bourman has been appointed lamplighter.

15 May 1918

Christie & Gardner have agreed to stand by their scheme and guarantee the Council against loss for two years as long as they are appointed consultant engineers. They would appoint the engineers in charge of the plant and the Council would follow their directions concerning the working of the plant.
The Railway Commissioner needs more details before agreeing to use electricity.
The Hydraulic Engineer would need to be convinced that electricity was cheaper before going over to its use. Further advice was given by Clutterbuck Bros. against small cheap plants, which they said had always failed. After discussion the Mayor said something had to be done: either adoption of the scheme or it had to be turned down. Cr Radford was against paying wartime inflated prices.

22 May 1918

Advt.
Ratepayers’ Meeting 27 May to lay before the ratepayers a proposed electric light scheme.

29 May 1918

The Electricity Scheme.
There was a poor attendance at the ratepayers’ meeting on Monday. The Mayor was disappointed at the turnout. Some years ago a £2,300 scheme had been turned down and just as well it was. Over recent years we have raised £2,000 in a day; surely we should be able to raise £5,000 to £6,000 for a paying proposition. The mayor read the scheme of Christie & Gardner – estimating 130 consumers for light the capital cost would be c. £4,800 with a charge of 8d per unit for light and 4d per unit for power. Revenue was anticipated to be £916 in the first year, £1,066 in the second and £1,283 in the third including street lighting. Working costs for the three years were estimated at £270, £465 & £485. There would be no battery, but an auxiliary plant. They would guarantee the Council against loss for two years. The street lights at present, miserable as they were, cost £170 p.a.
Mr Winnall asked if all Councillors were in favour. Cr Radford was not. Cr McWaters was undecided; Cr McBride was for electricity, but against this scheme. Cr Dane would vote for it as a ratepayer, but as a Councillor he wanted more information. Mr Turner had offered plans and specifications free. Christie & Gardner wanted £150. They had plants in 30 towns in Victoria which spoke for their bona fides.
Cr McBride said Jamestown’s experience was cautionary. With 247 consumers they had outgoings of £1,779 and an income of £900 and electricity only from 6 p.m. to 11.30 p.m.
Kadina had an income of £1,176, a fuel bill of £750 a year plus interest and a sinking fund on about £10,000. Mr Winnall moved that there was insufficient information to grant approval. He said the figures made it impossible to see how a profit could be made in light of evidence from other towns.
Cr Radford 2nd saying the costs seemed greatly underestimated. Carried & meeting adjourned.

19 June 1918

Christie & Gardner were offering to supply further figures re the electric light scheme. They are to be informed that Council is seeking information from others for comparison.

9 Oct. 1918

A.E. Maher provided plans for an electric light system costing £6,180 with the first year’s revenue estimated at £815.

4 Dec. 1918

Lighting Account
The year began with a debit of £8-10-11 and ends with a debit of £30-9-4. The high cost of carbide was a major problem and had we not reduced lighting times the debt would have been worse. Costs rose from £7-10-0 to £9-10-0 per lamp. Various offers to install electricity have been made, but high costs of machinery etc. due to the war made Council defer a decision. In the meantime arrangements have been made with some private firms to provide a few electric lights.

15 Jan. 1919

Burra Institute
Improvements: electric lighting has been installed at a cost of £270-6-11, a move made necessary by the high cost of carbide. Parson and Robertson installed a Delco lighting plant, which has worked very well. An engine-house at the back of the building cost £16-7-0.

5 Feb. 1919

The RSL was given permission to take electric wires across the road to their premises.
Electric street lights have been fixed at the National Bank Corner and in the Rotunda as arranged with Messrs Lord Bros. and Humphris

19 Feb. 1919

The installation of two electric streetlights by Glenister & Sams was reported.

28 May 1919

An electric streetlight is to be placed at the corner of Young and Morehead Streets, connected with Mr Reed’s. Arrangements will be the same as in Kooringa.

17 Sep. 1919

Burra Hospital Board has called for fresh tenders for the installation of electric light.

3 Dec. 1919

Mayor’s Report 1919.
The lighting account began in debit £31-12-6 and ends in debit £33-6-4. More money is needed to maintain even the present poor level of lighting. Arrangements to get electric light from various private providers are proving very satisfactory.

3 Mar. 1920

Cr Radford said the negotiations with Mr James Reed about supplying an electric light for the Exchange Corner and one for the telephone box were proceeding. The amount for the installation would be £25 and the Council would have to supply the poles. The cost seemed heavy, but in the long run electricity would be cheaper than carbide.

20 Oct. 1920

J. Allen granted permission to string electricity wires across the street to Messrs Wilkinson & Co.

1 Dec. 1920

The Mayor elect, Mr Crewes, thought the town’s bridges needed paint and he hoped Burra would soon have a comprehensive corporation scheme for electric lights.

1 Dec. 1920

Mayor’s Report 1920. (S.M. Lane)
At present there are seven electric street lights and the acetylene lamps are also operating more satisfactorily.

29 June 1921

The Mayor raised the town lighting question.
The Town Clerk said lighting cost £102 for six months, for which the Mayor said they got the worst lighting of any town in the north. A satisfactory electric lighting system would cost upwards from £7,000 or £8,000 because the town was so scattered. Delco had just produced a system that would run 600 lights. They would need two plants; one for each end of the town. The Company would put in a plant on trial for six months and remove it free of cost id unsatisfactory. The two plants would cost £1,400.
All possible particulars are to be obtained.

13 July 1921

Electric Street Lights
On 4 July Mr Parsons for Delco Light put a scheme before Council. He could give an estimate of the cost for lighting Kooringa. The Aberdeen end of town would cost less. He assumed the plant would be on a Council block at the rear of Drew & Crewes and would supply one 400 candlepower, two 200 candlepower, two 100 candlepower and twenty-one 50 candlepower lights. The cost with everything found, but the building would be £1,582. He thought the latter would be about £120. The plant was to be automatic and would consume one gallon of kerosene in 1½ hours on full load. He assumed an average of 3½ hours a night. At Victor Harbor the attendant got £37-10-0 p.a. for filling and starting the machine and seeing that the timer was working. The battery would last three years and replacement plates currently cost £160. The engine should last at least 20 years. The scheme could be going in 7 weeks. About £3,000 would cover both ends of the town.
The Council will now consider the matter thoroughly.

16 Nov. 1921

Burra Railway Yard has been equipped with an up-to-date electric signalling plant, which comes into operation this morning. Points will be able to be set from the office with a lever.

8 Feb. 1922

Electric Light.
Another representative of a firm has visited and is preparing a plan to light the whole town for c. £5,000. The Mayor intends to form a public company to run a scheme. Burra at present is one of the worst lit towns in the state and one of the problems according to Cr Collins is ‘the jealousy between the two ends of the town’. The Mayor did not accept that and said it had been a matter of cost.

8 Mar. 1922

The Mayor produced a report on the proposed electric light scheme. The cost was estimated at £8,712 and expenditure in the first year of £7,000 was suggested. ‘It estimated the net profits for the first and second year at 10½% interest on £900’. [?] The Mayor said the consent of ratepayers to borrow the money would be needed. After discussion the correspondence was to lie on the table until next meeting.

29 Mar. 1922

Resolved not to act on the electricity offer to cover lighting of main streets only for £5,000 until such an offer is made officially. [Rather than in a letter to the Mayor.]

12 Apr. 1922

Angas E. Marr wrote enclosing a detailed estimate of the cost of installing an electric light scheme in Burra. Information will be sought from other towns.

17 May 1922

Council will hold a special meeting concerning the electric lighting scheme on 20 May.

31 May 1922

Burra Town Council: Special Electric Light Meeting, Monday.
The Mayor had talked to Mr Weedon, manager of the Adelaide Electric Supply Co., who said they aimed to build a line to Broken Hill – but that would be many years before it was done due to the pressure of work in Adelaide. They would certainly take over a local scheme at that time if it was properly constructed.
Two schemes are before the Council: Mr A.E. Marr offers to light every street for £8,700 while the other offer is to light the more closely settled parts from the Railway Station to the Hospital for £5,816 (or perhaps for £5,000, as material costs were falling). This latter scheme could be extended later.
Cr Collins thought a scheme properly managed could be payable.
Cr Kellaway warned that Moonta’s estimate was £4,000 and it ended up costing £6,000.
Cr Bartholomaeus said that the ratepayers would oppose it.
Cr Kellaway said the estimate for wages was too low.
The Mayor said the present cost of lighting would buy interest on a £5,000 proposal.
It was resolved to submit plans to the Adelaide Electric Supply Co. before anything else was done.

14 June 1922

Adelaide electric Supply Co. advised they were unlikely to extend power to Burra in less than 7-10 years and that the proposed scheme seemed quite acceptable, but probably at a cost nearer to £12,000 than the £8,000 cited.

26 July 1922

Burra Town Council, 17 July
A.E. Marr advised that an electric scheme similar to that proposed for Burra had been installed at Crystal Brook for £4,500 with four miles of mains. On this basis the Burra Scheme as first proposed would cost £7,500 and main streets only £5,800. He advised calling tenders. When Crystal Brook’s scheme was operational Burra and Mt Gambier would be the only large towns in SA without a scheme.
A move by Cr Collins to have tenders called failed through want of a seconder.
Cr Kellaway moved that the Council not entertain any scheme as a Council proposition. Carried.
Mr Marr is to be notified that Council will not entertain the scheme.

9 Aug. 1922

Mr Marr is to be informed that the Council is prepared to allow a private company to bring electric lighting to the town.

6 Sep. 1922

Angus E. Marr wrote saying it is proposed to form a public company with capital of £8,500 in £1 shares to supply a lighting scheme for Burra – to cover Kooringa, Aberdeen and Redruth and power would be available 24 hours a day for lighting, heating and motor services at 1/3 per unit for light and 6d for power. The cost for street lamps would be £5 p.a. for 50 candlepower, £7-7-6 for 100 candlepower, £8-15-0 for 200 candlepower and £14-16-0 for 400 candlepower – for a minimum of 25 lamps including erection and maintenance. The company was seeking a twenty year agreement and Council to have the right after that time to take over at valuation or to renew.
The Mayor said they would have to estimate the number and power of lamps required. Three powerful lights had been suggested for the Farmers’ Union Corner, Market Square and Commercial Street. They would also have to consider the length of the lease. The last motion passed said Council was prepared to consider the advisability of granting a company such a monopoly.
Cr Sams thought Council had already passed a motion that it would not do so.
Cr Collins moved that the Council grant a lease to the Burra Electric Supply Co. Seconded by Cr Harris and carried.

20 Sep. 1922

Notice. Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd
Intending electricity consumers are requested to intimate their intention to Mr E.W. Crewes with an approximate indication of their requirements.

20 Sep. 1922

Prospectus of the Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd is printed:
Provisional directors are:
James H. Gallagher James Reid JP Maurice Collins
E.W. Crewes JP W.H. Sandland
Secretary pro tem: G.E. Dane
Assistant Secretary pro tem: A.E. Marr of Barnard St North Adelaide (who is also consulting engineer)
Shares 8,000 £1 and 500 fully paid £1 shares allotted to the vendors who bear all the underwriting expenses. Object of the company is to provide electricity for Aberdeen, Kooringa and Redruth for 15 years. The minimum contract with the Council being for 20 lamps of 50 candlepower and 5 lamps of 100 candlepower.
Proposed rates 1/3 per unit for light and 6d for heating and small motors with a minimum charge of 5/- a month plus meter rent. Installation work in the consumer’s premises to be at consumer’s expense.
Capital expenditure is listed and totals £6,770
First year’s revenue is estimated at £1,948*
First year’s working expenses estimated at £1,130
*Based on the minimum number of street lights.
This shows a return of 10% on capital.

11 Oct. 1922

Burra Town Council has agreed to let the Burra Electric Supply Co. to light the town for 15 years. The company will supply 25 street lamps and more if needed at a fixed price. The total cost will be less than is now taken trying to light the streets. The plant is to be installed within six months. All shares have been underwritten (a prominent townsman being prepared to take the lot), but are being offered to the public.

18 Apr. 1923

Advt.
Tenders called for the erection of a Power House for the Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd.

Burra electric Supply Co. Building, Market Street, Burra
During construction 1923, Opened 27th March 1924

9 May 1923

Burra Electric Supply Co.
The contract for the erection of the Power Station has been let to local builders. The building will comprise offices and the company’s plant with space for two large generating sets in addition to the two currently on order. Street poles will be ironbark from NSW. Erection is expected to start shortly. Work has already begun wiring consumers’ premises. Costs for various numbers of lights etc. are printed.

16 May 1923

Burra Electric Supply Company asks for the Mine Bridge light to be moved 15 ft in either direction and for a temporary road to the proposed power house. The present position was right in the middle of the proposed road. To be moved to the north side of the Bridge at the company’s expense.
The company also asks for an extension of time of six months for the installation of lighting.
There was then a discussion on the charges for electricity, which Cr Hammond thought were excessive.

11 July 1923

Messrs T. Woollacott and J.E. Pearce were granted permission to erect the power house for the Burra Electric Supply Co. Water will be laid on from the town supply to the water trough in Market Square, as the pump is hard to work.

18 July 1923

Notice.
Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd. Tenders are called for the preparation of light poles for erection.

8 Aug. 1923

Advt. Burra Electric Supply Co. Tenders are called to erect light poles and mains and street lighting.

24 Oct. 1923

Burra Electric Supply Co.
The half-yearly meeting of shareholders was held in Pearce’s Building on Thursday. Matters were progressing well. Some trouble had been had in selecting the plant, but it would comprise two engines of 60 and 30 horsepower. A delay in erecting the powerhouse was caused because of a hitch in respect to the land and they had to move to another site involving an extra £150 in cost. So far 60 houses had been wired and 30-40 orders were on hand. About £1,000 worth of work had been done wiring houses. If the contractors kept to contract the engines would be in place in the last week of November and electricity should be switched on early in December. Provisional directors are: James Gallagher, M. Collins, W.H. Sandland & E.W. Crewes and they were re-elected for 12 months. A cable recently received advises that the power plants should reach Port Adelaide on 24 November.

5 Dec. 1923
Power House Burra 1925

Photo supplied by Robert Reed of Burra
Power House Burra 1925

Power House Burra 1925

Photo supplied by Robert Reed of Burra
Power House Burra 1925
2 gentlemen on left (G.E.Dane (dark suit) E.F.Marston (proprietor of the Burra RecordPower House Burra

Postcard
Power House Burra

Burra Electric Supply Co.
The plant arrived in Port Adelaide on 3 December.
12 March 1924

Advt. The opening of the Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd.
Directors: - J.H. Gallagher, E.W. Crewes, James Reed, Maurice Collins, and W.H. Sandland.
J.H. Gallagher will switch on the current at the powerhouse on Thursday 27 March.

2 April 1924

Opening of Burra Electric Supply Co.
It is 11 years since a lighting scheme was first mooted by Mr Crewes. He has since submitted one scheme after another to Council and all were turned down. He then got Council permission for a private company and to the surprise of many it has proved successful.
For many years acetylene gas lamps have been sparsely spread around town and their intermittent lights gave as much annoyance as they did help. The interest in the new plant was widespread and a continuous stream of people visited it when it was opened on Friday night. The company has the most up-to-date country plant in Australia. By 7.30 a huge crowd had collected outside to see Mr J.H. Gallagher perform the opening with Mr E.W. Crewes, Chairman of Directors and Messrs J. Reed, W.H. Sandland, directors, with the Mayor, Maurice Collins and the Mayoress and Mrs W.H. Sandland. Mr Crewes called it a red-letter day for Burra and visitors would no longer pass remarks on the poorly lighted town. Proceedings then adjourned to the Institute. Kooringa appeared a mass of twinkling lights and the Institute itself was ablaze of tiny red white and blue lights twinkling from all parts.
The specially lit hall was the scene for light refreshments catered for by J. Allen. A speech then followed from Mr Gallagher who introduced the Mayor, Mr Collins, who outlined how Mr Crewes had tried to benefit ratepayers and had five or six schemes rejected. He felt it a pity that the profits now would go to a few shareholders, rather than to the ratepayers.
Then followed a duet by Messrs Glenister and Dollman. [And further items were interspersed between the other speeches] Mr Woolcott of the Southern Electric Power Co., contractors for the plant, then spoke about the All-British-made plant. It was of 200 volts as in Adelaide and the population would be able to have the same sort of household helps as in the city, as well as electric light. Mr Murray, also for the contractors, spoke praising Mr Marr, the consulting engineer. They had a 60 and 30 horsepower engine which could be run together as 90 horsepower. Cheap European machinery, for half the price could have been obtained, but they had decided to stick with British manufacture. The engines worked on crude oil (from which kerosene had been extracted) - a very cheap product. The plant was far in excess of demand, but experience showed that consumption increased enormously over time. It was capable of generating 60,000 candlepower and was manufactures by Vickers-Peters at Ipswich - the largest manufacturers of crude oil engines. Similar engines were used at Crystal Brook and Snowtown. Dr Steele spoke in congratulating the Co. (though not as a shareholder). Considering the adverse financial reports of other schemes in SA the promoters were clearly actuated by a desire to benefit the town, rather than the hope for business profits.
Cr Riggs also spoke, saying how good it would be for the Council which had experienced difficulty in getting a lamplighter and thought the site chosen, midway between the two ends of town was a wise choice. Edgar Pearce spoke as contractor for the carpentering work - he had never believed that Council could run such a scheme as well as private enterprise.
Mr Crewes spoke in warm appreciation of Mr Gallagher’s input and great enthusiasm. He regretted the absence of Mr Dane, the secretary of the company, especially because of the cause of it. [Mr Dane’s broken leg as earlier reported.] When Mr McLaren was Mayor there had been a proposal that would have lit the south end of town only. He had opposed that and was glad as they would not now have this scheme had the earlier one gone ahead. When he proposed the present scheme as a municipal enterprise he was very disappointed that it was rejected practically without consideration or comment. It was then that the company was formed and much hard work followed to get the scheme established.
All hoped there would be a profit, but in view of other experiences in SA the main motive had to be the benefit of the town. They were prepared to take applications for from 5 shares upwards and hoped all would remain in the town so that control would always be local. There were 1,000 shares. So far they had connected about 100 houses with about the same number awaiting connection.

11 June 1924

Burra Hospital.
The X-Ray machine was mainly funded by Mr I.J. Warnes and now it requires a further expenditure of over £200 as the hospital has now been connected to the Burra Electric Supply Co. Mr Warnes has generously offered to bear this cost too.

2 July 1924

Advt.
Returned Soldiers’ Assoc. There will be a boxing tournament last week in August. A smoke social will be held in the Club Rooms the night of the installation of the electric light.

28 Jan. 1931

Burra Electric Supply is to be asked to review the contract for street lights with a view to a reduction in charges. Lighting cost £300-£400 p.a. In view of the present situation the Council might make a cut.

4 Mar. 1931

Burra Electric Supply Co. wrote that it would not be a party to any alteration in the existing contract for street lights, but in view of the depression would make a % reduction for the year and would light the rotunda free when required. A letter of thanks will be sent.

2 Dec. 1931

Answering a question the Mayor thought the Council was getting a fair deal on electric lighting, but agreed that as a householder he thought the charge for electricity was too high.
(It was 1/3 a unit in Burra compared with 7d a unit in Adelaide.)

22 Aug. 1939

Burra Electric Supply Co.
A ceremony to mark recent plant extensions at the Power Station took place on 14 August. E.F. Marston as Chairman of the Board of Directors started the new diesel unit. W.H. Sandland Senior Director closed the main switch to bring the new generator on line. A dinner followed at the Royal Exchange Hotel.
Mr F.D. Taylor on behalf of Messrs Petters Ltd proposed the Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd. He said the first engines installed in 1924 were Vickers Petter Engines of 30 & 60 BHP respectively coupled to alternators of the Harland Engineering Co. Ltd. In 1934 it became necessary to expand the plant and they installed another Petter Engine, this time a 112 BHP. Again more power was needed and Petters Ltd through their agents the SAFU were given the order for a Petters Superscavenge Diesel Engine of 187.5 BHP. The latest extensions brought the plant into line with the most up-to-date in the state and the reserve power allowed for further expansion as required and should see the company through for some years to come.
E.F. Marston responded. After praising the Petter Engines he said the decision to install Automatic Voltage Regulators was done as they desired to improve the service to consumers.
Mr Taylor in his speech warned that the practice of supplying electricity at a high tariff for light and at a low (indeed uneconomic) tariff for power had an inherent danger. Originally the company had been intended principally to provide light, but the increasing use of electrical appliances was shifting the balance and the company would have to take care that the tail did not wag the dog or the company could end up requiring increased generating capacity to supply power at an uneconomic rate. The company has paid modest dividends of less than 4% p.a. on average.
L.H. Pascoe the company engineer said that over sixteen years interruptions had been few and he believed Burra held the record in SA in that respect. Other people also addressed the gathering and some further technical details are printed in a report that extends for more than 3½ columns.

22 January 1946

Electricity.
Eudunda Dc has been at loggerheads with the Mid North Electricity Co. of Clare over costs and tried to get the Adelaide Electric Supply Co. to take over, but it could not do so. The Government has forced the parties to agree on a twelve month contract under National Security regulations.
The Government said it expected to take over the supply of electricity throughout the state within twelve months and it is expected a big generating plant will be erected at Pt Pirie using Leigh Creek coal. It is expected power prices would then fall.

15 Aug. 1950

Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd
The Company’s franchise to supply electricity to Burra expires shortly and the future of Burra’s electricity supply will be discussed with the Town Council in the near future. Many consumers believe that changing to ETSA will deliver cheaper power and enable the installation of more powerful electrical equipment. The local supply has been very regular, with very few (and short) blackouts. ETSA has had frequent long blackouts during the recent coal strike, so the retention of local back-up generating capacity, for use when ETSA fails, should be maintained.

15 Aug. 1950

The Electric Supply Co. Board will meet two members of Council on 25 August to discuss future supply of electricity at Burra.

31 Oct. 1950

The Electricity Trust will be asked for Burra to be included in the scheme for the electrification of the northern areas of SA.

28 Nov. 1950

ETSA has advised the Town Council that it will not supply current to the Burra area until plans are further advanced. The problem is that Burra is on the fringe of the populated area of the state and lines to Burra would dead end here. Areas to the north, south and west are already supplied by ETSA and there is no town to the east. ETSA electricity reached Hanson, only 7 miles away. It also reached Farrell Flat and will soon reach Booborowie through Spalding.
‘Seven miles of electrical mains from Hanson would be too expensive for this Government to erect for the benefit of Burra.’ [Check that these words are those of the editor.]

28 Nov. 1950

ETSA wrote advising consideration cannot be given at present to providing Burra with electricity. Arrangements will be made for a petition urging that ETSA acquire the plant etc. of the Burra Electric Supply Co. Ltd.

12 Dec. 1950

Electricity.
A petition has been drawn up, urging the Adelaide Electric Supply Co. to supply Burra.

9 Jan. 1951

The electricity petition has not been prepared because Mr A.R. Downer MP has advised that the claims should be discussed with the company’s General Manager and that an invitation should be extended for him to visit Burra. Cr Bernhardt moved that the invitation be extended and it include the Chief Engineer, Mr R.H.M. Lea. Carried.
The question of a petition was left in abeyance.

30 Jan. 1951

G.S. Hawker MP is to be asked to take up the question of the supply of electricity from ETSA.

27 Mar. 1951

Burra Electric Supply
R.H.M. Lea of ETSA will visit Burra on Thursday to discuss the connection of Burra to the ETSA supply. For many years the Burra Electric Supply Co. has given good service with few interruptions to supply, but fuel and wages costs are rising and charges for electricity in Burra are high. Compare charges for Burra and Waterloo (ETSA):

Burra

15d for first 10 units
12d for the next 15
8d for next 25
Then 6d and down to 4d for light or commercial use

Waterloo

10.9d per unit for a single meter for lights
3.25d per unit down to 1.775d for domestic power
3.4d down to 1.64d for commercial power
ETSA also hired out electrical appliances.
The only down side to ETSA power came with blackouts when there was a coal strike.

3 Apr. 1951

Burra Electricity
Mr Lea, Chairman of ETSA, said the Trust was very interested in Burra and could extend a line from Waterloo, about 25 miles, for £30,000. The charges for electricity would be much lower than those presently made. A shortage of labour and materials meant this could not be achieved before October 1953. ETSA could take over the existing powerhouse at any time and boost the output, if needed, with a new engine, until ETSA lines reached Burra. The Burra Electric Supply Co. has an agreement which terminates in 1952, but ETSA would like to see it carry on till they can take over in 1953.

17 Apr. 1951

[numbered 7] The Burra Electric Supply Co. is to be advised that the Council has had discussions with ETSA concerning connecting the town to the ETSA supply.

3 July 1951

Negotiations were begun with ETSA and, if successful, Burra could have ETSA electricity by 1953.

17 July 1951

ETSA advises that they have been in communication with the Burra Electric Supply Co. about buying them out. The latter will be asked to discuss the matter with Council on 8 August.

26 Feb. 1952

Burra Electricity Supply
The labour and material position has not improved and so ETSA advises that it cannot supply the town for another five to seven years. ETSA advises it has not had further negotiations with the Burra Electric Supply Co. and suggests the Council should renew the franchise, which expired in November 1951, for a period of five to seven years. ETSA would be willing to make machinery available if the company’s plant could not be maintained. High voltage ETSA lines serve Farrell Flat and Spalding, but are not large enough to serve Burra as well. The Council is concerned that it will not be able to meet the increased street lighting cost if the franchise is renewed. At present the charge is £380 p.a. and the Council cannot afford much more. Mr G. S. Hawker MP will be approached to try to get the ETSA supply expedited.

1 Apr. 1952

It was moved that consideration of an agreement with the Burra Electric Supply Co. be deferred pending a reply from G.S. Hawker MP, [concerning ETSA’s position] but an amendment resulted in the Council seeking prices for street lighting if the agreement were to be extended.

2 Sep. 1952

A letter will be sent to the Burra electric Supply Co. to arrange a meeting about the extension of the franchise agreement.

27 Jan. 1953

Electricity.
ETSA is not willing or not able at present to extend high tension lines from Waterloo with effort concentrated of servicing Radium Hill. The local company is reluctant to dispose of its plant and lines cheaply, either to the Council or to ETSA. Meanwhile local housewives look enviously at others who can enjoy the luxury of an all-electric home with stoves etc. The local domestic user and employer both suffer from the effects of the high price of local power. A solution would be for the local company or the Council to buy in bulk from ETSA, but the £50,000 cost of the line from Waterloo is the stumbling block. The cost to Council would be more like £70,000, as they would have to acquire the local transmission lines. The question is whether people in Burra would buy enough electricity to justify a Council borrowing £70,000.

19 May 1953

Burra Electricity Supply
E.R. Davey, Town Clerk, produced a 1?-column letter on the town’s electricity supply.
On 23 November 1937 the Town Council entered into an agreement with the Burra Electric Supply Co. [BESC] to supply electricity to the town for 15 years. This expired in November 1952. Negotiations began in July 1952 to extend the agreement, but no agreement has been reached. Four conferences have been held between the Company and the Council and one that included Mr R.H.M. Lea, Chairman of ETSA. When negotiations began the Council had applied to ETSA to be included in their scheme for the electrification of the Northern Areas. Mr Lea had asked for certain details to be obtained from the local Company, which they had refused to supply. In October 1952 ETSA advised that it hoped to be able to connect Burra with a transmission line in about 2 years. Work of national importance has since lengthened this period. [Connection of Radium Hill to the grid.] ETSA then spoke to the local Company and undertook to provide a diesel plant to maintain supply if it were needed.
BESC said it was in a position to meet demand for the next seven years. ETSA so advised the Council, saying that BESC must have a large reserve of plant if they expect to meet all load demands for a further seven years. The Secretary to the Premier wrote to Mr Hawker MP saying that it sounded likely that a seven year extension of their agreement would require BESC to obtain additional plant and from a State government point of view such an acquisition would be undesirable, as ETSA had a spare diesel plant available and would be in a position to supply power from its mains in about two years.
Council is prepared to extend the franchise for two years and BESC will not accept an agreement for less than seven, saying they need such a period for planning and the uncertainty effect on staff. Negotiations were deadlocked at 28 November 1952 when BESC sought a three-way conference, which took place on 8 January 1953.
Mr Lea reiterated the two-year time frame and the offer to supply plant from ETSA. In an emergency ETSA could supply material for the line from Waterloo, if the Council and/or the Company would provide the labour. Council thought it better to await ETSA construction in two years. The community appreciates the service given by BESC since 1923. [Sic: supply actually began Thursday 27 March 1924.] However, Council is desirous of safeguarding the future supply so that when ETSA power arrives all will be in order.
This article was written to advise ratepayers of the position and to squash any rumours that may be circulating relating to this matter.

9 June 1953

ETSA has announced it has acceptances from residents of Booborowie and Farrell Flat to supply electricity and consequently the Burra Burra DC has approved supply to these towns and to consumers within a three mile radius of them.

15 Sep. 1953

Burra electric Supply Co.
Burra Town Council has refused to extend arrangements with the company from two to seven years, as the company requested.

15 June 1954

A meeting has been arranged between Council and the Burra electric Supply Co. for 18 June to discuss the future electricity supply.

26 Apr. 1955

Burra Electricity.
The Chief Secretary advises that ETSA is currently considering the question of supplying Burra and discussions with the Burra Electric supply Co. have taken place regarding the purchase of their distribution system in the town.

2 Aug. 1955

ETSA has advised that due to the price asked by the Burra Electric Supply Co. for its distribution system in the town, ETSA could not take over the town supply of electricity.

30 Aug. 1955

Electricity for Burra
Mr Hawker MP has advised that power from ETSA would be facilitated if the Town Council passed a resolution desiring ETSA to extend its mains to Burra, saying that the Council does not intend to extend the franchise to the Burra Electric Supply Co. and that it suggests ETSA takes over the Company’s distribution system as soon as possible.
As a consequence a motion was passed on the above lines and another was passed to notify the Burra Electric Supply Co. of Council’s action, but requesting them to continue to supply power until ETSA is in a position to take over.

13 Dec. 1955

ETSA has advised the Town Council that due to delay caused by the Burra Electric Power Co. Ltd in deciding in the transfer, it will be at least two years before the Trust takes over. While the Burra Electric Supply has done a splendid job in maintaining a continuous supply, people have all dreamed of expanding their use of electric appliances, whether in the home, workshop or in industry and now it looks as if they will have to continue dreaming for at least two years. What makes it harder is that other and smaller towns in the near area are being supplied with ‘Trust’ electricity and have been for some time. Their residents are enjoying added electrical conveniences. The Trust now says that owing to financial constraints it will not be able to undertake the necessary extension of the distribution system for at least two years. The Trust will be asked to assist in maintaining electricity supply during that period.

20 Dec. 1955

Burra’s Electricity Supply
After long and difficult negotiations an agreement has been signed between the Burra Electric Supply Co. and ETSA. Negotiations started on 22 August 1950, when the Council asked Mr Hawker MP to take up the matter of ETSA power supply for Burra. In May 1952 Mr Lea, then manager of ETSA, wrote to Mr Hawker pointing out the difficulties of supplying Burra and saying it would have to wait the connection of Port Augusta Power station and the construction of mains through Waterloo. The lines at other places that terminated at Farrell Flat and Booborowie were inadequate to supply as large a town as Burra.
In February 1952 the General Manager of ETSA said the Trust would not be able to supply Burra for five years and had been advised that the local company could meet expected requirements for several years. As this was not the view of the Town Council, information was needed that required the co-operation of the Council and the local Company.
This further investigation followed a discussion between Mr Drew, Chairman of the Trust, the Premier and Mr Hawke on 23 June 1954. On 10 December 1954 Mr Lea informed Mr Hawker that he was recommending to the Trust they supply and reticulate electricity for Burra and work would begin as soon as money was made available, depending on satisfactory arrangements with the local Company to take over their system. Unfortunately Mr Lea died two days later.
Early in 1955 valuations were made by the Trust and the Company, but when submitted in July they were far apart. Mr Hawker then took up negotiations again and subsequently the Company decided to continue negotiations, but on 29 September the Premier informed Mr Hawkes the Trust had not heard from the Burra Company and, as another town was negotiating, Burra would lose its priority unless he knew immediately Burra’s position. Despite urgent discussions unfortunately it was not until the 11 October that Mr Bednall saw Mr Colyer, the Manager of ETSA. Since then negotiations have continued and a recent letter of ETSDA to the Council announced that the negotiations had been completed. The supply of ETSA power is still dependent upon establishment of the Port Augusta Power Station and sub-stations and negotiations with the local Company.

25 Sep. 1956

P.H. Quirke MP submitted a report from the Assistant Manager of ETSA in reference to the negotiations to take over the Burra Electric Supply Co. These protracted negotiations were finalised in late 1955 when it was agreed that ETSA would acquire the undertaking on 1 July 1958. Mr Quirke said he would maintain a review to see that as far as he could the building of the transmission lines would cause no delay after 1 July 1958.

1 July 1958

ETSA Takes Over Burra Electricity Supply
As from 1 July ETSA is supplying Burra’s electricity. Trust workers have been erecting new lines and considerable rewiring and attention to meters is still required. Rates are set out under Zone 5 of the Trust’s Tariff Schedules. There will be a single meter domestic tariff.
The first 40 units per quarter at 12d per unit.
The next 90 units at 4.1d and then at 2.25d per unit.
Special night water heating rate is 1.16 d per unit.
[Commercial and Industrial rates are printed.]
After 34 years of operation the Burra Electric Supply Co. handed over to ETSA. The local company was formed through the enterprise of several townsmen: Messrs E.W. Crewes, J. Reed, M. Collins, J. Gallagher, J.E.H. Winnall, W.H. Sandland and G.E. Dane. Formation of the company was decided on at a meeting on 29 November 1922. Directors were appointed at a meeting on 15 October 1923: Messrs J. Gallagher, E.W. Crewes, J. Reed, W.H. Sandland and M. Collins. The company was then formed with an authorised capital of £12,000. Power was switched on 27 March 1924. The company maintained a service despite sometimes great difficulties and blackouts were rare. Assets of approximately £25,000 were handed over today and the Burra Electric Supply Co. received only £10,000 for these assets. Power in Burra has not been cheap, but the shareholders did not greatly profit either. Dividends were often omitted and never exceeded 5%. Len Bourman joined the company as an engineer in 1925 and has since been responsible for keeping the wheels turning; being on call 24 hours a day as foreman. The present Directors of the company are Messrs M.W. Bednall (Chairman), F.H. Reed, A. Dane and K.R. Crewes.