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The White Cliffs Solar Thermal Power Station Friends Inc

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We are a NFP dedicated to the preservation of a unique piece of Australia's Industrial Heritage located in the remote opal mining town of White Cliffs NSW. The White Cliffs Solar Thermal Power Station was designed and constructed by the Australian National University, following receipt in 1979 of a grant from the NSW State Government to investigate the viability of using solar energy to provide power to small off-grid outback towns and stations. The project was the brain-child of Broken Hill born Professor Stephen Kaneff, then Head of the ANU Department of Engineering Physics. The Power Station was constructed in shipping containers in Canberra with off-site construction completed in May 1981, and on-site assembly completed in December 1981, a remarkable achievement given the complexity of the project. On the completion of acceptance testing and running continuously on dummy load for 12 months, what was originally intended to be an experimental station for research purposes was connected to the town of White Cliffs in November 1983. The Power Station was operated by the state Energy Authority on a commercial basis, and as argued by Engineering Heritage Australia can claim to be the World’s First Commercial, Solar Thermal Power Station, providing power to White Cliffs 24 hours per day, 7 days of the week for the next twenty-five years. White Cliffs has a population of about 150 people, so recruiting volunteers from within the town is difficult. We need volunteers to be on-site for the power station to be open to the public, so we are reaching out to the Nation. If you have a love of unique industrial heritage, have an engineering or technical background (not essential) and can spend a week or two in this tiny town and be on-site for a few hours per day then we would love to hear from you. Peak tourist season is Easter to October. There is a $5 membership fee to ensure you are covered by insurance and whilst the road to White Cliffs is sealed, we recommend that you are experienced in outback travel. White Cliffs has a choice of accommodation. White Cliffs Hotel, Underground Motel, B&B's, Farm Stays, Caravan Park and free camping is available in Potch Gully. Go on a mine tour or explore the nearby Paroo-Darling and Mutawintji National Parks. Find that piece of Opal Jewellery that you'll cherish forever, have Fish and Chips from the Corner Store on a Friday Night or dine with the friendly locals on a Sunday evening at the Sporting Club. Whatever you do, you'll have an experience to remember, and you'll probably want to come back for more. Interested, perhaps you have questions, please feel free to email me. Graeme Hanigan Secretary

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