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Located in Morwell, Victoria, the Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factory is a significant component of the Victorian Government’s post-WWII strategy for energy generation.

Purcell were commissioned to develop a Conservation Management Plan in order to distil the site’s heritage. The document (currently in a draft format) will advise on appropriate strategies to conserve and enhance the significance of the place, whilst supporting the site and buildings’ ongoing use.

Overview

The Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factory is an example of a mid-twentieth-century power station and briquetting factory. Its development formed a significant component of the Victorian Government’s post-WWII strategy for energy generation.

The site contains a collection of mid-twentieth century briquetting machinery (a device used to make biomass material by compressing blocks of coat dust) and is the only remaining and intact assemblage in Victoria.

The Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factory is historically significant for its role in the post-WWII development of the Latrobe Valley, and for its associations with the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV). The site’s historical use, and its associations with the Latrobe Valley, are central to its heritage significance and values.

Senior Architect, Alistair Ravenscroft

Brief

Purcell, in collaboration with GJM Heritage, were commissioned by Gippsland Infrastructure to prepare a Conservation Management Plan (CMP). Incorporating the previously commissioned Heritage Assessment and Interpretation Plan (prepared by Sue Hodges Productions (SHP)) for the site, the CMP provides a developed understanding of the significant aspects of the site and its heritage values in order to guide and advise on an action plan for future maintenance and manage possible change.

Challenges and opportunities

Purcell’s detailed CMP provides the client and future owners with the understanding, advice and policies to conserve and enhance the significance of the place and to support the site and buildings’ ongoing use.

Many of the buildings across the site had begun to deteriorate due to industrial use, previous modifications, water ingress and storm water discharge. Our team’s analysis of the site concluded that as the buildings have been constructed with robust materials (steel, concrete, brick and asbestos sheeting) they appear to have withstood the deterioration and retained much of their original detail.

Potential opportunities should be explored for the site’s future use, which may include compatible, economically viable development and operations consistent with its history and significance. The future management of the site should be guided by a conservation and maintenance framework (currently in a draft format), which includes regular inspection, monitoring and repair, to maintain and preserve the significant fabric.

Outcome

Purcell have combined an analysis of physical evidence (the landscape and surviving fabric) along with documentary evidence (including comparative analysis and additional research) to develop conservation policies and management actions to ensure the significance of the place is maintained. In conjunction, our team has developed policies to guide maintenance and possible change for future use to ensure the buildings’ longevity.

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