Some activities, although vital to the functioning of a modern society, are simply too dangerous to take place too close to a centre of population. Were it not so, there would be a nuclear power plant on the site of Fitzroy Gardens, or a artillery training range in Albert Park Lake.
In the Victorian era, as the world slowly transitioned from coal power to gas power and on, electrical power was a new and little trusted power source. Matters we today take for granted, such as adequate insulation, were painstakingly worked out in this era by trial and (all to often fatal) error. The city of Melbourne was determined not to see a repeat of such events, which had marred the progress of electricity in London, Paris and New York, happen here. (There may also have been an overly uncritical reading of the screeds of one T. Edison of Menlo Park, New Jersey involved.)
And so a site that was distant but not too distant was sought, and eventually found. Here, electricity would be investigated and tamed before it was allowed into Melbourne proper. Or at least, that was the plan. In fact, the power station generated enough power for a relatively small radius, but was soon lost to attenuation. Electric Village, as it was then known, was a brightly-lit island in the darkness each night, but not much more. Over time, however, it came to be seen that electricity was reasonably safe (especially in comparison to how explosive gas could be), and other power stations were built closer to the city itself.
The village ceased, slowly, to have an identity based around electricity, and instead became associated with the support industries that had sprung up in support of the power station. For decades afterwards – until the 1950s, and the onslaught of cheaper Asian equivalents – it was the greatest manufacturing centre for electrical supply equipment in all of Australia. Wires, cables, switches and junction boxes were all made here, and the quality of the lattermost was a byword for three generations of electricians, and the source of the village’s current name.
Suburbs near Junction Village: