My culture, my story, my Hydro

23 April 2018

Heritage Festival 2018
“One beautiful thing happened… our children grew up in a Hydro village – they learned to speak six languages,” recalled Ilse Dittmann, who migrated to Tasmania from Hamburg in 1953 with her husband and two children.

Ilse and Harald Dittmann were among thousands of men and women who came to Tasmania and worked alongside locals to build the state’s hydro-electric scheme. Their story features in a new exhibition titled My culture, my story, my Hydro, on display around Tasmania as part of this year’s Tasmanian Heritage Festival.  

For more than a century, Hydro Tasmania has drawn on the best talent and ideas to create a world-class renewable energy business. While the Hydro has built a strong foundation of physical assets – dams, canals and power stations – the greatest asset has always been the people of the Hydro. 

Never has this been demonstrated more clearly than in the 1940s and 1950s, when many workers displaced by World War II made the long journey from Europe to Tasmania to work on the early Hydro schemes at Butlers Gorge, Tarraleah and Waddamana. Between 1947 and 1952, more than 3250 migrants from Britain, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Poland and other European countries join the Hydro’s workforce.

Their experiences in Tasmania changed them. In turn, they transformed the place they came to call home.

The exhibition recognises the enormous contribution migrant workers made to creating Hydro Tasmania, and celebrates their impact on shaping Tasmania’s culture through their music, art, cuisine and values in the Hydro villages. It brings to life stories from Ticklebelly Tales and other stories from the People of the Hydro – the best-selling and definitive written and visual history of Hydro Tasmania, told through personal accounts.

Central Highlands’ residents can enjoy the free exhibition at Waddamana Power Station from 25 May. The exhibition will also visit Hobart and Launceston (details below).

The Heritage Festival is held in May each year and run by the National Trust. You can keep an eye on this year’s program at www.nationaltrust.org.au/ahf/tas/. You can also search “Tasmanian Heritage Festival” on Facebook.

Exhibition - My culture, my story, my Hydro

HOBART: 30 April to 10 May; 9am – 5pm weekdays; Hydro Tasmania building, 4 Elizabeth Street.

LAUNCESTON: 14 May to 23 May; 9.30am – 6pm Monday to Friday / 9.30am – 2pm Saturdays; Launceston LINC, 71 Civic Square.

WADDAMANA: 25 May to end of June; 10am – 4pm every day; Waddamana Power Station Heritage site.

Released for Hydro Tasmania by Rowan Dix, (03) 62305330 / 0409 722359 / media@hydro.com.au.

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