Neighbours say a last goodbye

Peter and Elin McFarlane lived next door to Hazelwood and were onsite to watch the final boiler house get demolished. photograph michelle slater

Michelle Slater

Former dairy farmers Elin and Peter McFarlane said their final goodbye to a powerful neighbour on Tuesday after watching the last boiler house of the Hazelwood Power Station get knocked down.

ENGIE gave the Nadenbousch’s Road couple a special invitation to come onsite to watch Boiler House 1 get demolished, signalling the final part of the power station to go.

“We saw it get built and now we will see it go down. We are its closest neighbours, it’s an end of an era, but we pleased to witness this,” Ms McFarlane said.

“We took the grand kids to see the last of it, now we will take them back to show them the flattened land.”

Ms McFarlane said the power station sat like a “big ship” next to their property and used to light up their farm at night.

“The sound was also comforting, it was like the ocean. When it shut it was quiet and dark, it was quite eerie,” she said.

“When it closed we couldn’t tell which way the wind was blowing as there was no smoke coming out the chimneys. The prevailing winds blew towards Morwell and we rarely had any coal dust.”

The couple farmed cattle next to the coal generator for more than 54 years and remembered when the shovels first hit the ground to build the behemoth.

Mr McFarlane grew up on Switchback Road and said he remembered the cooling pondage being dug out in the mid-50s.

“I had a little Morris and I drove it around the pondage before it was filled up. We were interested in all the cranes working on the power station,” he said.

“It had been there all that time. Now, I’d like to see it being planted out with trees with some walking tracks or bicycle tracks for the public to use.”