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Tivoli Coke Ovens

This consultancy, performed with Ann Wallin & Associates, cultural heritage consultants, involved investigation and recommendation of conservation action for this place located at Tivoli, near Ipswich. The ovens were on the site of the old Haighmoor Colliery and Abermain Power Station.

The beehive coke ovens demonstrated a technology first utilised in Britain in 1752, and largely superseded in the 1880’s by mechanised regenerative ovens which allowed stripping of chemical by-products from the gas emitted.


Ipswich was remote from large scale users of coke such as blast furnaces, and lacked deep water access. Coke production utilised fine coal which was otherwise a waste product, however the coke had too high an ash content for metallurgical work. This combination of factors contributed to a “low-tech” industry with little incentive to modernise. Over 300 ovens had been built in Ipswich at various times.

This battery of 18 ovens had accumulated over time with the original eight constructed in the 1890’s and the last completed in the 1960’s but never used.


The Abermain Power Station was a 10 MW coal fired package plant supplied by Westinghouse in the USA. It was constructed of reinforced concrete, possibly designed to withstand cold Canadian conditions, or more likely, due to a shortage of steel in Australia at that time. It was decommissioned in 1967