The National Library of Australia was forced to send its staff and visitors home this afternoon after a power outage affected the Parliamentary precinct in Parkes.
It was the main national institution affected by the outage, which also affected the National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery.
A NLA spokesperson said that although back-up power was available it was decided to empty the building for the comfort of visitors and the couple of hundred staff and to secure and protect the collection.
She said that there was a period of time when the temperature is maintained to keep the collection safe.
The outage also took down its website.
An Evoenergy spokesperson said that parts of Parkes lost power about 1:45 pm and crews rectified the situation within an hour, although the NLA was still without power and its website down at about 3:30 pm.
No reason for the outage was provided apart from it being caused by a ‘fault’.
A National Portrait Gallery spokesperson said its back-up systems kicked in immediately to keep critical systems online and visitors and staff stayed in the building.
The National Gallery of Australia, which is showing its major summer blockbuster, Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate, said power was out for nearly two hours and visitors were asked to leave for safety reasons. It reopened at 3.30pm.
Temperatures reached 42 degrees today in the capital but the heat is not believed to have been implicated.