Liddell Power Station closure to be documented in new series
Sydney's Powerhouse has announced its latest commission, Yesterday New Future (Liddell) by Merilyn Fairskye – a photographic and social history recording of the closure of Liddell Power Station in the Hunter Valley, NSW, which was switched off after 52 years in operation last week.
The plant was owned and operated by AGL, and operated as one of the world’s oldest operating coal-fired power stations. It is set to be converted to a clean energy renewables hub.
Fairskye's work explores the relationships between technology, atomic landscapes and community, and she has photographed nucleur power sites around the world, including Polygon in Kazakhstan, Sellafield in the UK, and Chernobyl in Ukraine.
Fairskye said she was drawn to Liddell as a "microcosm of geological time, human settlement, and industrial transformation," and will examine the central role the plant has played in the local community for over half a century.
Through photography and video interviews, Yesterday New Future (Liddell) will document the power station’s buildings, technology and stories of the individuals connected to the site.
Fairskye will produce video and photos as well as interviews with former and current employees of Liddell, local First Nations groups, union members and the local community.
Once complete, her fieldwork will be acquired into the Powerhouse Collection, a reflection of the significance of the closure of the plant.
“Through this work, I will address the place of Liddell as an icon of re-invention, [and] a soon-to-be-rehabilitated landscape with a complex natural and social history,” she says.
Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah describes the closure as an important moment in history.
“The story of Liddell echoes the history of the Powerhouse Ultimo site, which operated as a coal-fired power station from 1899 to 1963, before being reimagined as a museum of applied arts and applied sciences in the 1980s."
"As it shifts gears and embraces a more sustainable future, we felt it was essential to document this turning point in the Australian energy industry for the Powerhouse collection,” she says.