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Celebrating the Power of Water

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eighty-year-old timber that once carried water at the Lake Margaret Power Station has found new life in a handcrafted boat, built using traditional materials and nearly century-old methods.

The 15 foot clinker Pippa was a feature at today’s launch of the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival (QHAF) program at Hydro Tasmania’s headquarters in Hobart.

The Lake Margaret Power Station celebrates its centenary this year, and is a focal point of the third biennial Festival.

“The Lake Margaret power scheme is the oldest operating hydro-electric scheme in Australia. Hydro Tasmania took over operation of the scheme in 1985 and it’s fitting to celebrate its 100th birthday in our own centenary year,” said Sandra Hogue, Hydro Tasmania’s Sustainable Resources Manager.

Support for the QHAF is part of celebration of Hydro Tasmania’s centenary. Tours of the power station and the adjacent village will be a feature of the QHAF.

“Hydro Tasmania is proud to be a major supporter of the festival. An inaugural sponsor, we’ve been delighted to see it grow from strength to strength,” said Ms Hogue.

“The festival theme this year is particularly fitting – the Power of Water is the power behind our business.”

The original woodstave pipeline at Lake Margaret had deteriorated over time which caused substantial leaking. It was replaced in 2008 and King Billy Pine salvaged from the pipeline was sold off for a dollar a metre.

Boat builder Bass Gamlin said the salvaged timber was a hidden treasure.

“The best timber came from the bottom of the pipe where the King Billy Pine would have been continually submerged,” he said.

“Salvaging the timber took much effort, but the residual timber was rich in aroma, light, strong and a pleasure to work with - ideal for wooden boat planking.”

Pippa will be on display in the foyer of Hydro Tasmania’s Hobart office until Thursday 25 September.

Festival highlights proudly supported by Hydro Tasmania:

  • Take a tour of the Lake Margaret Power Station and village.
  • Learn more about a century of hydropower in Tasmania through the exhibition 100 Years of Hydro.
  • UNDERCURRENTS: A 3D projection that will be mapped to the architecture of the Empire Hotel, interpreting the hydro-electric industry through interactive animation.
  • THE WEST COAST SINGERS: Delving into the oral histories of Lake Margaret to develop new songs based on the west coast’s hydro-electric industry.
  • THE WATER CIRCUS: A creative recreation of the social history of Lake Margaret through performances, actors, shadow puppetry and projection.
  • WORKING WATER: MAKING HOME: A collaboration with Constance ARI to commission contemporary artworks from early-career Tasmanian artists to be sited at the Lake Margaret precinct.

The full program is available on the festival website

Find our more about Hydro Tasmania's centenary events