Redland Museum’s new display electrifies history - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Gordon Davidson of Thornlands, Gary Stone of Cleveland, Ralph Gofton of Thornlands and Keith Fidler of Thornlands who between them have completed most of the work in the display. Photo: Phil Robinson.


Redland Museum has a new display in the Agricultural Pavilion about the connection of electricity in the Redlands.

The display showcases the tremendous social change in the lives of all the people in the area now covered by Redland City when the electric power was connected by the public power authority, the City Electric Light Company.

The first areas connected were Cleveland and Redland Bay in the 1930s, and some of the last were the Bay Islands in the 1980s, which led to residential development and continues to the present day.

Items on display were given by early farming families, which they used, such as the gas generator for lighting in their homes, a small Southern Cross low voltage lighting generator together with a collection of portable lanterns, some still used today but only a very few cases.

For people at the time, it was a dramatic moment when the lights came on. With the flick of a switch, people could now work, read and do other activities at night.

Electricity changed the lives of families from the moment they got up in the morning until when they went to bed. Electrification and its many applications made possible in all walks of life were profoundly significant. People had power for major innovations such as refrigerators to keep food fresh and appliances such as irons, stoves and clothes washers which made life easier than the physically hard work needed up to then. It also made life safer, for example, coloured lights instead of dangerous candles on Christmas trees. As more and more people turned to electricity, older forms of lighting like candles and oil lamps became used only for emergencies such as during blackouts.

We now take electricity almost for granted, a necessity of life. But when it was first introduced, it was a time of wonderment and relief from the drudgery of life.

Redland Museum is located at 60 Smith Street Cleveland.

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