27 Feb 2018

Excavators in Brisbane have unearthed 134-year-old electrical cables known as “Edison tubes” under a CBD street, revealing the city’s earliest power grid. Urbis Associate Director Tina King spoke with ABC News Brisbane about the exciting discovery. 

Designed by inventor Thomas Edison, the tubes date back to 1884, when they were laid beneath William Street to supply electricity to the parliamentary precinct.

Some of these cables were removed this week as work continues at the site of Brisbane’s new Queen’s Wharf casino precinct.

Urbis archaeologists supervised the excavation and cleaning process of the rare tubes, before they were prepared for shipment around the world.

“We thought it might be quite brittle, being in the ground for so long, but it’s quite robust,” project archaeologist Tina King said.

Once the cables are pulled from the ground, they’re cut into pieces, capped on either side, and coated in an oil to prevent corrosion.

“It’s a milestone for Brisbane’s development as a city and we’re making sure to take the utmost care in the conservation of these important artefacts,” Ms King said.

Sections of the cables will be housed in London’s Science Centre, the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, Commissariat Store Museum in Brisbane, the Highfields Pioneer Village in Toowoomba, as well as Parliament House.

The Edison tubes are just one of many ghosts from the past uncovered throughout the Queen’s Wharf redevelopment. Artifacts including Lamont bottles and historic kerb stones, possibly dating back to the 1830’s, have also been discovered. Listen here as Urbis Senior Consultant Holly Maclean discusses the exciting finds with ABC Breakfast. 

The above is a snippet from the original article published by ABC News.  Read the full article here.