The Cultural Heritage Program focuses on Hydro Tasmania’s heritage values, identifying and managing our cultural heritage and creating awareness among staff and the community.
The oral history book, Ticklebelly Tales and other stories from the people of the Hydro, written by Heather Felton, contains stories of social and cultural heritage interest covering the history of ‘the Hydro’ from the people who were there, working in the harsh early conditions in the construction camps, revelling in the village life later when conditions improved, right through many and varied tales to the present day. The book was three years in the making and became a journey in itself for the staff involved in the project. Our thanks go to Heather for her efforts in delivering what became a bestseller in Tasmania.
The redevelopment of the Lake Margaret site has become a focal point for the cultural heritage program, working with the West Coast Council and the Lake Margaret Community Liaison Group to explore options for tourism developments for the power station and the village.
Other discussions are about the use of the King Billy pine to be salvaged from the demolition of the woodstave pipeline, an oral history project and web-based exhibitions.
When the lake level was lowered for technical reasons, heritage investigations revealed some historical features that were submerged for 100 years, such as a tram line, a stone wall and a coffer dam.
The redevelopment was also the main subject for discussion at regular meetings with the Tasmanian Heritage Council, an important stakeholder for the cultural program. Hydro Tasmania submitted a paper to the heritage legislation review. The review was incomplete at June 2008.
Australia’s engineers, keen to learn about managing constructed heritage sites, are taking a great interest in Lake Margaret. Engineers Australia commemorated the historical engineering value of the power station with a plaque presentation and ceremony. Hydro Tasmania presented two papers to the Engineers Australia Biennial Conference, one on Lake Margaret heritage management and another on the assessment of Hydro Tasmania’s historical sites for heritage values.
A significant milestone for Hydro Tasmania’s relationship with the Aboriginal community was an agreement with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land and Sea Council (TALSC) for more effective management of Aboriginal heritage sites on land owned or managed by Hydro Tasmania. The agreement clarifies the processes involved in identifying and managing Aboriginal heritage.
As a direct result of signing the TALSC agreement, Hydro Tasmania was invited to sign a regional partnership agreement with the Commonwealth, State and local governments and TALSC in February 2008. The purpose of the regional agreement is to establish a coordinated and sustainable approach to Aboriginal land management across Tasmania through training and employment in conservation and land management. This will provide opportunities for further collaboration with the Tasmanian Aboriginal community on land management issues.
Specifically to Hydro Tasmania sites, a predictive modelling project for Aboriginal heritage value was undertaken in 2007-08 based on field survey work at Lake King William and Lake Echo, which will report on the nature of any sites identified. Completion is expected later in 2008. There were no Aboriginal heritage incidents recorded for 2007-08 involving Hydro Tasmania employees or construction activities.
More information on the Cultural Heritage Program is available on the website.
There were seven incidents rated as ‘minor but constituting material harm’ recorded and reported to relevant authorities during 2007-08. Half of these were oil or chemical spills. No incidents reported were in higher categories of moderate, major, extreme or catastrophic.
The recorded incidents were:
- 600 litres of oil spilled at Meadowbank Power Station - it was contained and cleaned up within the building and did not escape to the environment
- 400 litres of diesel spilled on the ground at Strathgordon - it required the contaminated soil to be removed and a leaking underground pipe to be repaired
- 10-20 litres of hydraulic oil was lost to ground at Lake Echo when an excavator clipper failed
- potential water siltation due to a change to a work scope at Dee Dam that was not reassessed for environmental impact
- incorrect procedures for controlled waste management at the Poatina Power Station which resulted in waste erroneously placed in council landfill
- a bank erosion issue near Lake Margaret Power Station which caused two full biocycle tanks to be dislodged with a risk of spillage – they were secured without spilling
- a failure to undertake quarterly effluent sampling at the Gowrie Park sewerage ponds as required by the Environmental Protection Notice for the site - this was recorded in 2008-09 and resource issues have been resolved to ensure compliant sample-taking in future.
A bird strike at Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm was reported to the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Water Resources as a matter of public interest and to comply with Hydro Tasmania processes but was not required to be reported under regulatory obligations.