Gas in Willoughby

Gas was first introduced to Sydney by the Australian Gas Light Company in 1841. James Walter Fell, ex-A.G.L., planned his own gasworks for the North Shore and in 1877 produced gas for what later became the North Shore Gas Company Ltd. As the mains extended northwards, Willoughby Council examined the possibilities of purchasing gas from the Gas Company or else building a local works.

The decision was to buy gas from the existing company, and a contract was signed in 1896 for gas to be supplied for ten years from 1 January 1897. Council was to pay £7 per annum for each street lamp. As the number of street lamps increased, together with domestic use, the cost gradually dropped to £4 per lamp in 1914. The use of gas lamps in the
streets continued until 1916, with three at the railway station remaining some time later.

The Gas Company built a gasholder near Eastern Valley Way and Warrane Road. This was at the bottom of a hill and not as much a blot on the landscape as were many other holders in Sydney. With the advent of natural gas in the 1970s the holder became redundant and was demolished because the gas is now held at high pressure in the

Gasholder site in Eastern Valley Way, looking towards Victoria Avenue.
(Photo by courtesy of Willoughby Municipal Library)

The Australian Gas Light Company began purchasing shares in the North Shore Gas Company, owning over 50% by mid-1974; eventually the two companies merged in 1980.

Chatswood also had some street lamps fuelled by oil but the exact locations are not recorded

Source: History of East Chatswood, Egan V. (1988) Willoughby City Council