Finch Powerhouse Woodside

By Kendrea Rhodes

The site of the old electricity power station on Tiers Road in Woodside has always been a talking point in the community. Built in the Art Deco style in 1925, the building commands attention with its era appropriate construction and design methods producing a geometric appearance—linear columns, castellated roofline, and stucco finish. Today, the building is home to Finch Powerhouse, veteran and classic car specialists.

Peter and Harbinda Roberts purchased the power station with the vision to extending their Mount Barker classic car business, Finch Restorations, to include more mechanical services. The interior and exterior of the power station are currently undergoing sympathetic restoration reflecting the Art Deco style.

This is just what the power station needed—some love and attention to regain the prominence within the community that it once had. The Ambleside Milling and Lighting Company opened the power station in 1925 and provided electricity to the district including Lobethal, Oakbank, Balhannah, Charleston and Mount Torrens, up to 1946. In 1949, the Onkaparinga District Council acquired the site for council chambers and community purposes that included the Onkaparinga District Fire Unit.  

Electricity for the Hills Townships. Images of the interior and exterior of the Ambleside Milling and Lighting Company Limited. Said to be the largest plant of its type in Australia at the time. Image courtesy of Finch Powerhouse.

Finch Powerhouse have worked on a wide array of historic, veteran, vintage and classic cars. For example, a 1919 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, 1927 Chevrolet Tourer, 1941 Ford F1 Truck, 1949 Triumph Roadster, 1950s Wolseley, 1951 Jaguar Mark VII, 1960 Bentley S2, 1968 MGB GT, 1973 Alpha Romeo, 1979 Ford Cortina, and a 1981 Mercedes 280.

Finch Powerhouse employ three Adelaide Hills locals: Ashley Egel, workshop supervisor from Bridgewater; Leona Martin, service advisor from Nairne; and Ian Walker, mechanic from Lobethal. The team not only rebuild and upgrade engines and transmissions, but also undertake small repairs and service to maintain roadworthiness.

As specialists in older cars, Finch Powerhouse understand the various nuances—the many contact points and moving parts that no longer exist in modern cars, such as ignition points that wear out, manual carburetor maintenance, and distributor calibration. Your classic car couldn’t be in better hands, as they also have access to the specialists at Finch Restoration in Mount Barker, creating an expansive network of knowledge sharing and experience in the classic car field. 

Finch Powerhouse, veteran to classic car automotive specialists, at the old electricity power station, 11-13 Tiers Road, Woodside.

Ashley Egel said, “At Finch Powerhouse, we want people coming regularly for services and safety checks, to catch those smaller problems before they do damage. Our team are happy to do pre-purchase inspections and roadworthy checks.”

Ashley is an auto-electrician and specialist mechanic with 29 years of experience. You may have met him at some stage because he was also an RAA serviceman for 17 years!

If you’re interested in classic cars, history of the local area, or just interesting automotive and historical photos, checkout their website and Facebook page. You can find Finch Powerhouse at 11-13 Tiers Road, Woodside. Or contact them on 8389 9469, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm, or email

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