Powerhouse: Preserving the Past…

Powerhouse Museum


STEP inside Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum and be prepared for more than one journey through time.

Located in Harris Street, Ultimo (although rumours persist of a forthcoming move out west), the museum is an expansive sight to behold and only a mere five minute stroll from Central Station.

The site was originally housing the Ultimo power station, built in 1899, to supply electricity to the city’s burgeoning tram network. The museum moved in during the late 1970s.

Today, visitors are greeted by all manners of transport inventions on static display – from airplanes to a NASA space shuttle and rocket engine.

An enormous grey Catalina ‘flying boat’ hangs incredibly (and purposefully!!) from a single cable attached to and anchoring the ceiling, according to one volunteer guide, in the event of cyclonic weather!

Another must-see is the c.1775 Boulton & Watt Steam Engine – so large it had to be shipped to Australia in pieces and later reconstructed to full size – which is very occasionally fired up for working demonstrations to prove that true quality stands the test of time.

Currently, the Powerhouse is playing host to the intriguing ‘A Fine Possession’ exhibition on the worldwide history of jewellery.

Powerhouse Museum Jewellery Exhibition




Wander through the many display cases and ponder on the evolution of the concept of jewellery throughout the centuries, and throughout different cultures. Why do we wear jewellery? What defines jewellery to you?

The Canturi diamond necklace worn by Nicole Kidman in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge.
The Canturi diamond necklace worn by Nicole Kidman in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge.

There is even a modern jewellery section, showcasing necklaces and earrings made as pieces of contemporary art combining a push for recycling – including this necklace made from plastic soy sauce ‘fish’ containers.



Another not-to-be-missed corner of this sprawling tribute to the way we were is the Interface exhibition – showing the timeline and transition of communication means through history.

If you’re of a certain vintage, you’re sure to become reacquainted with many an old office ‘friend’ – however you may need to share a memory or two with younger generations who have never known the joys of going for a jog with a Walkman, or changing the ink ribbon on a manual (or electric!!) typewriter.

©ShowMeSydneyTV IMG_1671 IMG_1672

Go on – go back in time… I dare you!

Where: Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo
Further Info: www.maas.museum/powerhouse-museum
Cost: Varying entry prices to exhibitions

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