Welcome to the Queensland Parliament web site - accessibility access keys available by clicking here or by using access key 9, sitemap available under access key 2Skip to Main Content or by using access key 0View Access KeysGo to sitemapGo to useful linksGo to contact usGo to latest sitting weekGo to current members listView Access KeysRemote Access

Edison Street Tubes on display at Parliament House

Edison Tubes

The Queensland Parliament proudly received a display of Edison Street Tubes on 9 August 2018 as part of commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the opening of Parliament House. The display was presented to the Speaker Hon. Curtis Pitt MP by Brian Becconsall from Engineering Heritage Queensland (see images below).

Edison Tubes

Edison Street Tubes were a form of electrical cabling invented by Thomas Edison in the USA in 1881. They were imported from America and installed in Brisbane in 1884 in order to run power from the old Government Printery on William Street to Parliament House. At the time, Brisbane was the third city in the world to have Edison Street Tubes installed (behind New York and London).

Once electrical lighting had been demonstrated at the Government Printery in 1883, the Queensland government commissioned the Edison Company to permanently connect the Printery and Parliament House to a steam driven electrical generator located at the rear of the Printery. In 1884, Edison Street Tubes were then run under William Street to Parliament House to connect it to the steam generator, enabling electricity to replace some 200 hot gas lamps within Parliament House.

The Edison Street Tubes were superseded and their use discontinued in Brisbane in 1906. The section of Edison Street Tubes now displayed in Parliament House were removed from beneath William Street in early 2018 as part of the Queens Wharf project.

A presentation about the history of Edison Street Tubes in Brisbane is contained in the link below. This research was prepared by Brian Becconsall from Engineering Heritage Queensland.

2018 Edison Tube Presentation

Visitors who take the free public tour of Parliament House will see the Edison Street Tube display as part of their tour.