A wall with interpretation panels depicting early images and stories from Lake Margaret

New life at Lake Margaret

24 August 2018

There are many hidden treasures in the winding copper-coloured hills around Queenstown on Tasmania’s rugged west coast.

But few of them carry the same history and mystique as the Lake Margaret Power Station.

Built as two separate but connected power stations, starting in 1911, Lake Margaret was the springboard for the energy, mining and maritime industries that made the west coast a bustling and thriving social centre for much of the 20th century.

It was a challenge to build, and a challenge to run. But it was crucial to the entire development of a local community, and way of life. That’s why Lake Margaret commands deep affection, and significance in Tasmania’s hydropower history.

Today, that affection shines through in Lake Margaret’s enduring popularity. 

Tours of Lake Margaret Power Station and village attract a thousand visitors each year from Tasmania, interstate and overseas, giving them a sense of life during the time of hydro industrialisation. The station and village are both also listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.

But being more than a century old, the station needs its share of love and attention to keep the site safe and the history preserved. And because it’s one of the jewels in Hydro’s heritage crown, it’s recently had plenty of that love.

Determined to give visitors a compelling and modern tour, we recently spent six months and $20,000 updating all the interpretation at the Lake Margaret village hall.

The new interpretation gives visitors an even richer insight into the people who created the village and power station. It highlights their lifestyles, challenges, resilience and charms.

It’s a fascinating history that we are very proud to bring to life.

The interpretation was designed by Queenstown graphic designer, Lea Walpole. It tells the story of the people who lived in Lake Margaret village – including the women and children who travelled by railcar to Queenstown for school, shopping and socialising; the workers who made badminton shuttle cocks from chicken feathers for the local tournaments; and the 200 Maltese workers who worked on the scheme and power station, while living in tent cities that they named after their homeland.

It highlights the homemade Sassafras beer, and walking trips in the surrounding hills. And it brings true stories to life with audio visual recordings from the people who memorably called Lake Margaret home in its golden era.

We're determined to honour, celebrate and share the stories of struggle, resilience and ingenuity that carried Tasmania into the full industrial era and made it a world leader in renewable energy.

And few places capture those stories like this west coast treasure at Lake Margaret, in the spectacular hills near Queenstown.

If you would like to visit the Lake Margaret village, hall and power station visit Roam Wild Tasmania, for more information and to book tours. Bookings are essential. 

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