Historical information

This SEC cook book was produced circa 1950s when the Kiewa Hydro Electricity Scheme and its Commission was in full swing. The Commission had constructed two settlements, Mount Beauty and Bogong Village to house construction workers and their families in a "closed" community. These "closed" communities were for SEC staff and construction workers only. Entry into these villages was restricted to "SEC pass" carrying construction staff and their families. All facilities such as retail, sporting and other community services was provided by the SEC. This created an isolated community in which limited individual choice or administrative family leeway was available. It was a typical company town (live and work for the company). The Company was in the Kiewa Valley constructing power stations for the Kiewa Hydro Electricity Scheme of Victoria. In one way the individual did not need to be concerned with living costs, educational needs for children, and recreational amenities and therefore "normal" community survival /living methods did not apply. This living, although restrictive, was quite simple. When the scheme was completed, in 1961, marking the end of company town, caused some of the employees, who had enjoyed the "controlled" township environment, a fair degree of angst in having the new 'laissez-faire" controls thrust upon them. This was magnified when both Mount Beauty and Bogong Village became meshed into the Bright Shire, vis-a-vis, local government. This cook book is a prime example of " the company is looking after you" and leave the worrying to us. This environment of a "company town", which creates the atmosphere of minimal personal responsibilities, is still present in a few remote mining towns in Australia at the beginning of the 21st Century.


This book is a classical example of the psychological control in which the company had its construction workers families living in. The motto of many companies who had employees in isolated regions was "keep them happy". A happy and contented worker is a more productive worker. This was a period in time (1950s to 1970s) when social psychology was gaining recognition in the Australian workforce as well as internationally. At the end of the construction of all the power stations both the Mount Beauty settlement and the Bogong Village became more integrated into the main stream of rural Australia environment. Development of tourism in the region opened up not only interaction with a greater cross section of the ever expanding type of Australian but also the overseas based non rural culture tourist or immigrant. It allowed the intermingling of ideas in a non company controlled environment. The Mount Beauty and Bogong Village has, and even up to the 3000 Millennium, the same housing construction, as was built by the SEC. There has only been a very gradual change to modern domestic architectural home styles.

Physical description

This SEC cookbook has a folded cover with two staples at the spine, securing eight double sided pages. The white pages contain black print and sketches(3), and one black and white photograph (of the author). The front cover is mainly orange in colour with a gradual fading into yellow(at the top). The cover is approximately 210 g/m2 in thickness and each page is approximately 90 g/m2 thick.

Inscriptions & markings

Front cover: top of page "SEC Cook Book of Family Favourites", in the middle a sketch, black on orange background, of a smiling mother walking from the kitchen to the dining table with a steaming rolled roast and vegetables in one hand and a gravy pot in the other. The furniture and decor relates to the 1950s. Below this sketch is printed"SEC TESTED RECIPES NO. 16" Inside cover: on top of the page is a black and white sketch of a pineapple, apple pear fish with scales, bunch of grapes with leaves a pork roll (head of pig one end and a roll ending on the other, on top of this food arrangement rests a fruit pie. Below this sketch are printed in black print the books contents.The first side of the first page is a black and white photograph Mary Dunne, the SEC Home Service supervisor who provided a signed foreword. The inside back cover has a promotional segment detailing a black and white photograph of a smiling (and happy) couple in the foreground with an electric stove in the distance. The written motto below this photograph is" to Live better -and save money they'll join the Power People. "the new tariff is(1960s) - First 75kWh --6 cents per kWh Next 435 kWh---2.3 cents per kWh Balance --1.7 cents per kWh The rate per killowatt-hour for the final block drops from 2.1 cents to 1.7 cents --a reduction of 19%.