Waddamana Power Station Heritage Site

Waddamana re-opens after the fires

22 May 2019

Located in Tasmania’s rugged Central Highlands, Waddamana is the site of Hydro Tasmania’s first power station and the centrepiece of the Great Lake Power Scheme, which is entered on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
Hydro Tasmania is yet to do a full assessment of the impact of the fires on infrastructure associated with the Great Lake Power Scheme, but has advised that the original Hilltop Valve House has unfortunately been destroyed. Hydro Tasmania is liaising with the Tasmanian Heritage Council on this and any other works required in response to fire damage.
The power stations themselves suffered no damage, despite the fire coming very close. A layer of ash across the interiors has been removed and the site is now open to the public to explore the refreshed interpretation of the power scheme’s history.

Over the past three years, Hydro Tasmania has completed a mountain of work to strip back the interiors of the station to its original form and layout. On display is a carefully curated selection of its extensive collection, supported by interpretation that helps tell the story of the station from construction and power generation, right through to its closure and renewal into a tourism site. The result is a compelling experience that celebrates the role that the Great Lake Power Scheme and its employees played in shaping a progressive, modern Tasmania.


Joint funding from the Federal Government matched by Hydro Tasmania, has been crucial to the success of the work to date. This funding supported the development of a detailed site management plan, accompanied by a suite of implementation plans focused on improving visitor amenity and experience, management of the collection of historical artefacts, as well as commercial and community opportunities. Hydro Tasmania is progressively working through those plans with impressive results.


As well as the upgrade of the Waddamana Power Station Heritage Site, the project facilitated the installation of the Highlands Power Trail, a touring route based on the heritage listed elements of the Great Lake Power Scheme including the power station and Waddamana Village. The touring route was launched by the Hon Will Hodgman, Premier of Tasmania on 2 February 2017.  


Hydro Tasmania has recently expanded the touring route, with new nodes at Hermitage and Shannon along the trail.

Recently installed Highlands Power Trail node at Shannon

“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 Evangelista Albertini, Hydro Tasmania’s Chief Operating Officer. 


“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.”


For more information on the Highlands Power Trail and for the Waddamana Power Station Heritage Site, which is at the centre of the Highlands Power Trail.


This editorial was first published by Heritage Tasmania on 9 May 2019.

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