Launceston Gas Company

Gas lamps lining a Launceston street (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

The Launceston Gas Company was formed following a public meeting at the Cornwall Hotel, Launceston, in 1858. It had an initial capital of £30,000, and, despite being a private company, was run as a public utility. Gas was manufactured from coal at the company's site in Launceston's Esplanade. Its initial purpose was to provide street lighting, but following the introduction of hydro-electricity in 1895 the company diversified into gas for heating and cooking purposes. By 1978 the company had 6000 Launceston homes using its product. This figure fell rapidly after the federal government introduced export oil and gas parity pricing, effectively increasing domestic gas prices. Manufacture ceased in 1988 when the company was sold to Boral, who imported all gas requirements from the mainland.

Thomas Gunn