ON Sunday, Bob Porter is planning to sit in a park near Munmorah Power Station and watch a huge part of his working life topple to the ground.
The power station’s twin chimney stacks are set to be demolished with explosives, bringing down a landmark of southern Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast.
For almost a quarter of a century, Mr Porter worked under the 155-metre high stacks, as a mechanical engineer and manager. Those stacks have been poking the sky since the mid-1960s, when the power station was built, and Mr Porter began work at Munmorah in 1970.
“You were proud to be part of the flagship,” Mr Porter said. “By the early 1970s, when it was fully on line, it was supplying 40 per cent of the state’s power needs.”
Yet what was state of the art in 1967 was deemed economically unviable more than 40 years later, and Munmorah power station was closed in 2012. The site is being cleared in what is the largest power station demolition project ever carried out in Australia, according to the company doing the work, Liberty Industrial.
To bring down the stacks, explosives are to be embedded in their concrete walls. Steve Saladine, the managing director of Generator Property Management, which is the NSW Government business that owns the power station, said there would be an exclusion zone of 500 metres in each direction, and residents in surrounding areas had been notified of the planned demolition.
He would not be specific about the time on Sunday, because preparations were still being made, and the company wanted to avoid jams with traffic and spectators. Teams have been preparing for the stacks’ demolition for months, including removing absestos.
“We don’t expect dust or material to leave the site,” Mr Saladine said. He said there would be more controlled explosions in the coming months, with the demolition of the boilers.
Bob Porter said he would feel sentimental as he watched the stacks fall. “When we look at that spot on the skyline and it’s a void, that’s when it will hit home,” he said. “There’ll be a lot of nostalgia.”