Electricity distributor Powercor is taking steps to preserve items iconic to Mildura’s history when a substation built in 1936 is removed next week.
The simple old building on the corner of Eighth Street and Deakin Avenue referred to fondly by locals as ‘Old ‘36’ is made of formed concrete walls on top of a metal frame that is no longer safe, as the sandy composite concrete is separating from steel reinforcement. The infrastructure it housed has been replaced in a $575,000 power upgrade project including the construction of a new substation on a neighbouring site and increasing the capacity of electricity network supplying Mildura’s CBD. Project Manager, Mark Kita said this increased capacity will support future growth in the city and sustain high reliability of power supplies to businesses and residential customers. “We understand the removal of the old substation is also in line with the Mildura Rural City Council’s Deakin Avenue masterplan,” Mr Kita said.
The substation building is situated on Council land. When the site is fully cleared, the area is destined to be developed as part of public open space plans for the median strip. Council will include a historical marker to acknowledge the building’s history as part of designs for the redevelopment. Mr Kita said Powercor had obtained all necessary approvals to remove the building and to consult on historical items. “To acknowledge the building’s place in Mildura’s streetscape over more than eight decades, one of the items we are working to preserve is the iconic ‘1936’ concrete plate from the façade,” he said. The building is also being photographed and old analogue electrical equipment will be preserved for potential future historical displays within the community.
Work has already commenced to remove internal materials from the building. Crews will commence the removal of the structure next week. The clean-up of the site will occur over several days. Mr Kita said the building had simply reached the end of its life. “Unfortunately, this old structure doesn’t come close to meeting modern building standards and this makes any sort of refurbishment almost impossible and high cost,” he said. “We’ve been monitoring the stability of the structure but after 84 years of continuous service to the community, any more maintenance is just no longer viable.”
The Mildura CBD is now being supplied by the new substation.