100 years of SA's classic power pole

Tuesday, 09 April, 2024

100 years of SA's classic power pole

This year marks the 100th anniversary of South Australia’s distinctive Stobie pole — a steel-beamed power pole that was developed due to the shortage of wood for poles in the state, in addition to issues with termites. The invention of engineer James ‘Cyril’ Stobie, the pole was formally patented in July 1924 by the then Adelaide Electric Supply Company. It has since become something of an icon in SA.

The first pole was installed in South Terrace in the city in 1924. Today, more than 650,000 Stobie poles help South Australians share energy across an area of about 180,000 km2.

“The Stobie is a distinctly South Australian icon, as unique as the Hills Hoist, Coopers Beer and frog cakes,” said Paul Roberts, Head of Corporate Affairs.

“The beauty is that while it has served us well for 100 years, it will continue to have a central role in the state’s power supply for many years to come, even as we shift to a renewables-based energy system.”

SA Power Networks is planning a number of engagements in honour of the humble Stobie this year, including arts, history and community events. The celebrations will culminate in a birthday party at the SA Power Networks Stobie plant at Angle Park in mid-July.

“Every Stobie manufactured at Angle Park this year will be stamped to commemorate the anniversary,” Roberts said. “We are particularly looking forward to our 2024 partnerships with the History Trust and Helpmann Academy.

“This year’s History Festival in May has the incredibly appropriate theme of ‘Power’ and the Stobie will be used to honour 100 wonderful South Australians. We also will open the Angle Park facility for public tours during the History Festival.

“Also, we have commissioned a very special arts installation with the Helpmann Academy which supports new and emerging artists,” Roberts said.

More details will be revealed over the coming months.

Image credit: iStock.com/sasimoto

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