The Newport Power Station was built to provide electric power for the electrification of Melbourne's suburban railway system. Construction commenced in 1913, but was interrupted by the First World War with delays in the delivery of equipment ordered from overseas manufacturers. The first turbo-alternator set at Newport began generating power on 20 June 1918.
Alternating current power was distributed at 20,000 volts and 25 cycles/second to fifteen substantial sub-stations built on the various suburban lines, where power was transformed by rotary converters into the 1,500-volt direct-current supply used by trains. The original 79,000 kilowatt capacity of Newport Power Station was later upgraded with new plant in 1939-43. In 1951, its operations were transferred from the Railways to the State Electricity Commission.