History

Building History

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The founder of Power Plant Pty. Ltd., the late Edwin Allan Bantick, was born at Zeehan on the west coast of Tasmania on the 8th May, 1896. A veteran of the Gallipoli Campaign, he trained as a motor mechanic in Hobart, Tasmania after World War I. Read More

In 1926 he moved to Adelaide, South Australia to set up and manage the Adelaide Car and Tractor Company Ltd., on behalf of Tasmanian interests. This company sold Ford cars and tractors and brought the first Howard Rotary Hoes to South Australia in about 1930.

Wishing to start his own business, Allan Bantick formed Power Plant Limited at the end of 1935 with the financial help of the late Malcolm Moore, the founder of the Moore group of companies and the late William Queale, founder of Kelvinator Australia Limited.

The first meeting of the Directors of Power Plant was held on the 12th December, 1935, in the office of the firm of solicitors, Norman, Waterhouse, Chapman and Johnston at 23 Grenfell Street, Adelaide. At this meeting a lease was signed for the old premises of Unbehaun & Johnstone Limited at 100 Currie Street.

The first company motor vehicle was purchased on 22nd January, 1936 for ₤170/-/- (a used Ford car, engine number A9399).

The first Statutory General Meeting of Shareholders was held on 26th February, 1936 at 12.30 p.m. at the registered office of the Company (100 Currie Street, Adelaide). Soon after its formation, the Company was appointed State Distributor for Fordson Tractors and also sold various other agricultural machines. Negotiations with Howard Auto-Cultivators Limited, for the sole state distribution of their products commenced early in 1936 and were finalised early in 1938. This arrangement which still applies, is the last of its type remaining in Australia.

A property in Burnett Street, at the rear of 100 Currie Street, was leased in July, 1937 to be used as a service station. Business deteriorated with the approach of World War II but various Government Contracts were obtained which enabled the Company to survive. A significant one was for the mounting of wheels etc., to Wiles Mobile Kitchens for the Army.

As the supply of tractors and machinery improved after the war, business flourished. The Currie Street and Burnett Street properties were purchased in 1946. The Currie Street property was renovated during 1949 and a property at Webb Street, Portland (near Port Adelaide) was purchased for a tractor assembly and repair depot.

The Burnett Street property was rebuilt in 1951 and a plant was set up at the Webb Street premises in 1953 for the chemical removal of rust and mill scale from structural steel by the “Mephalene Process”. Land was purchased and developed as a sales outlet for used tractors and equipment on the Main North Road at Blair Athol in 1958. The headquarters of Power Plant remained at 100 Currie Street until the Company consolidated its activities at 307 Hanson Road, Wingfield in 1971.

During the late 1940’s and 1950’s the Company was not only involved in selling and servicing agricultural tractors and equipment but also earthmoving, roadmaking, quarrying machinery and material handling equipment. As South Australian representatives for S. Haunstrup & Company, the Company was involved in the construction of numerous concrete wheat silos throughout the state and some of the water storage tanks on the Morgan to Whyalla pipeline. In recent years the Company has tended to concentrate mostly on agricultural machinery and has increased its activities in the distribution of spare parts and accessories.

Power Plant Limited became a Proprietary Company in June 1963 and the founder, Edwin Allan Bantick retired in June 1965. He died on 7th November that year. The present Managing Director, Noel Edwin Bantick, joined the staff in January, 1948. He attended his first shareholders meeting at 11 a.m. on Saturday 17th September, 1949. He was appointed a Director in March, 1952 and Managing Director on 1st December, 1958. By 1979, Noel Bantick and his family had acquired all of the shares in Power Plant Pty. Ltd. These they sold in November, 1983 to Australian Farm Equipment Pty. Ltd.

Urban Street Art

In 2005 the Power Plant Building was the first in Adelaide to be turned over to Graffiti artist as part of the council’s Arts and Living Culture Program, Public Art Grants. Over the last decade the building has become a dynamic canvas for some of Adelaide’s most inspirational and talented street artists including Narisha Cash, Jimmy C and Ambush.