The Electric Workshop

This building was initially the First President Street Power Station, commissioned in 1906 to power the new electric tram system. It was the shortest-lived of the three power stations built in Newtown owing to an explosion in the boiler house in March 1907.

The Second President Street Power Station was hurriedly opened on the site that is now the SAB World of Beer. This building became the Electric Workshop, used to repair machines and electrical parts.

During Newtown’s years of decline as an industrial centre in the mid-1970s, the building stood derelict. In the 1990s, the building was often used as a music venue particularly after the elections of 1994. The space was also occasionally used for cultural events, most notably for the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in 1997.

In 2004, the Gauteng Department of Education and the private sector initiated plans to develop a major interactive science centre here. The new Sci-Bono Discovery Centre was one of the City's most ambitious urban regeneration projects and was to become the largest science centre in Southern Africa. Two new wings were added in 2009 to house a conference and education centre, and the BHP Billiton Career Guidance Centre.

Sci-Bono's purpose is to improve public engagement with science and technology and build South Africa’s science, engineering and technological capacity. The name comes from an abbreviation of ‘Science’ and ‘Bono’, the TshiVenda word for ‘vision’, reflecting a mission to inspire insight into all aspects of modern science and technology.

Sci-Bono plays an important role in training teachers, offering career education to scholars and supporting classroom learning in mathematics, science, technology and information and computer technology.

Sci-Bono is open seven days a week and is a fun-filled destination for schools, families, tourists and the general public.

Did You Know?

Did you know that in 1900 the Coolie location was the only place where Indians could own property legally in Johannesburg?