Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a veritable manufacturing and industrial nirvana. Post WWII, its population grew at a phenomenal rate; and so too did the level of prosperity enjoyed by thousands of migrants fleeing to it from war ravaged Europe – cheap and abundant food, decent, affordable housing, motor cars, televisions – all within reach for the first time for this aspiring class of people; it soon became a paradise for the working class: it was called South Australia.
And it got that way through the efforts of a legendary political performer, Sir Tom Playford.
In the 1940s, Playford (Premier for 26 years from 1938 to 1965) had a gift in the form of vast untapped reserves of brown coal located at Leigh Creek, about 260 km north of Port Augusta which sits at the top of the Spencer Gulf.
Through Tom’s tireless efforts he coupled that resource with his own creation, the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA), which went on to provide cheap reliable power to almost every home, farm and business in very short order: from 1946 to 1965, the proportion of South Australians connected to electricity increased from 70% to 96%.