This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol5", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
In the newly settled parts of Australia, such as on the goldfields of Western Australia, where towns have been literally born in a day and cities created in a few years, electric lighting is often the first public lighting to be adopted, the most modern appliances being forthwith planted in the midst of lands which a few years ago only knew the savage.
With gas at 5s. per 1000 feet and electricity at 5d. a unit in Melbourne, and 6d. in the suburbs, it will be seen that electricity has a far better chance of competing with gas than, say, in London, where gas is less than half the price and electricity about the same as here. The increased advantages obtained both in illumination and cost by the use of the incandescent gas mantles has been met by the counter use of such electric lamps as the Nernst, Tantalum, Osman, etc., which cut the cost by about 60 per cent. on the ordinary incandescent electric lamps.
The incandescent gas mantle has brought ordinary coal gas much more keenly into competition with electricity than formerly, and the favour ebbs and flows between the one and the other, especially for street and shop lighting.
The value of acetylene lighting is well marked in many of the country houses of Australia, which are by this means, though separated from town often by very great distances, able to manufacture an excellent lighting medium which has the double advantage of being able with proper apparatus to be used also for domestic heating purposes.