Re-energising the Waddamana experience

5 May 2016

Work is underway on the first stage of an upgrade that will enhance the visitor experience at Hydro Tasmania’s first hydropower station, Waddamana Power Station A.

Waddamana, near Bothwell in Tasmania’s Central Highlands, is the birthplace of Hydro Tasmania. The Waddamana A Power Station (decommissioned in 1965 and converted into a museum in 1988) marks its centenary today, 6 May 2016.

"Waddamana Power Station is the only fully accessible, early twentieth century hydro-electric power station in Australia or New Zealand, but the existing interpretation is approaching 30 years old,” said Mr Evangelista Albertini, Hydro Tasmania’s Chief Operating Officer. 

“An audit undertaken by Hydro Tasmania in 2015 found room to improve when comparing Waddamana against national standards for museums and other power generation heritage sites internationally.”

The audit recommended enhancing the value of Waddamana A Station to fully capitalise on its heritage and tourism potential by upgrading the interpretation to focus on the dramatic history of the Great Lake Scheme, rather than present the site as a generic electricity museum.

The transition, which will be guided by a new Site Management Plan, will be partly funded under the Federal Government.
Federal Member for Lyons Eric Hutchinson praised the $50 000 commitment, which will be matched by Hydro Tasmania.

“The funding is part of the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Programme and this innovative Waddamana project is yet another example of attracting visitors to regional Tasmania,” he said.

The first stage of the three-stage project will focus on developing the necessary plans and policies for improving the quality and focus of interpretation at the Waddamana site; improving management of the extensive collection of historical artefacts; and commencing the development of a hydro-heritage themed tourism trail connecting elements of the heritage-listed Great Lake Scheme.

Later project stages will revitalise the interpretation and displays at Waddamana and complete the heritage trail.

“We are delighted to be working towards ensuring that the remarkable heritage values of Hydro Tasmania’s birthplace are protected, conserved and presented to modern standards for current and future generations of Tasmanians, and our national and international visitors,” said Mr Albertini.

“The improvements to interpretation and the overall tourism experience will allow visitors to share in the stories of unprecedented vision, drama and technical achievement of building and operating Australia’s first state-owned hydro-electric scheme. This will provide an unforgettable heritage experience and a greater recognition and celebration of the history and importance of Tasmanian renewable energy.”

Hydro Tasmania is working with the Central Highlands Council, Destination Southern Tasmania and community representatives to implement the heritage trail component of the project. Central Highlands Council is contributing capital works that will facilitate installation of the trail.

“The heritage trail and improved interpretation at the Waddamana site will contribute to the growing range of tourism experiences in the Central Highlands and encourage visitors to spend more time in the region,” said Central Highlands Mayor Deirdre Flint.

“The significant heritage values of Waddamana and its important place in Tasmanian history have been acknowledged with its 2014 inclusion on the Tasmanian Heritage Register, along with other elements of the Great Lake Scheme. This project will re-energise the historic site.

“The Waddamana interpretation upgrade and heritage trail have the potential to create a flagship attraction of national significance, bringing more visitors to the Central Highlands region and increasing their enjoyment, length of stay, and contribution to the local economy.”

To mark the centenary of Waddamana, Hydro Tasmania conducted a photographic competition focused on the built industrial heritage associated with Waddamana and the Great Lake Scheme.

The competition was held as part of the annual National Trust Heritage Festival, and winners were announced today.
Winning and shortlisted entries will be on display at Waddamana Power Station Museum from 6-13 May and at Hydro Tasmania’s Elizabeth Street office from 17-31 May.


Released by Samantha Meyer (03) 6230 5746;

List of winning and entries and runners up

Open category

1st prize, $500 cash                        

Howard Colvin: “Gauge reflection”

Runner up, $250 cash                    
Denise Colvin: “March of the turbines”

Two of the finalists were highly commended by the judging panel: 
James Jacob: “Waddamana Power Station – Pelton Wheel Runner”
Amanda Hardwicke: “Sentinels”

Student category (up to and including year 12)

$250 cash plus a copy of Ticklebelly Tales for school library

Jessica Thompson: “In memoriam” 

Two of the finalists were highly commended by the judging panel:
Amber Tiller: “100 years of pressure”
Shannon Collis: “Storage room”

Staff category

$100 gift voucher at Stallards Camera House
Danyon Michalkowski : “Penstocks”

Image files can be provided on request.


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