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Tickets on sale today: one-off concert by TSO at Tarraleah

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

As Principal Partner of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Hydro Tasmania is commemorating its long partnership in its centenary year with an historic concert at Tarraleah to be held on Saturday 8 November.

The TSO will perform a one-off concert paying tribute to the many people who’ve worked on development of the state’s hydropower system over the past 100 years. The concert particularly acknowledges the contribution of migrant workers to the Tarraleah scheme.

“Although the Hydro village of Tarraleah was established in the mid-1930s, its social fabric was transformed in the second half of the 1940s with the arrival of migrants from war-shattered Europe”, said Hydro Tasmania’s centenary program manager, Lara van den Berg.

“At least 30 nationalities were represented here at one time, and fifteen hundred people were employed over the life of the scheme.”

The performance will include classical music from Russia, Poland, Germany, Italy and other countries, and a specially commissioned work by Hobart based composer Maria Grenfell – Tarraleah – will have its world premiere.

The performance will be held in the Great Hall in the Tarraleah village. Due to the venue size only 200 tickets are available.

“Ticket holders will enjoy a complimentary lunch and can also experience the 100 Years of Hydro exhibition, see a special screening of the People of the Hydro centenary documentary, and take a guided tour of the village,” Ms van den Berg said.

Tarraleah Village has been reinvigorated as a tourism venture. Original public buildings and residences have been converted into accommodation. The Tarraleah Power Station remains an important part of the Derwent hydropower scheme, ensuring safe, reliable energy supply for Tasmania.

This is a free event with a $5 nominal booking fee which will be donated to
Colony 47. Tickets can be obtained from the TSO box office from today – visit the website tickets.tso.com.au/single/EventListing.aspx.

For more information about Hydro Tasmania’s centenary, and to see full event details visit hydro100.com.au.

Released by Samantha Meyer, 03 6230 5746


About Tarraleah

Tarraleah was one of the most long-lasting Hydro villages, surviving for almost six decades.  It has one foot in the past and another in the future, starting life in the Depression and continuing now as a tourism village.

Tarraleah was part of the most remarkable expansion of Tasmania’s hydropower system, which occurred during the 1930s Depression, when money was tight and materials scarce. The Hydro had to find ways to address a looming electricity supply crisis and in 1934, a newly-elected state government used an act of parliament to fast track work on the Tarraleah scheme.

Tarraleah emerged slowly from forests and mud in the mid-1930s and flourished for years. It was built to house workers, engineers, and managers creating an ambitious hydro-electric power scheme.

Workers, wives and children in the early camps lived in tents and earth-floored shacks and carried water from the nearby creek for drinking and cooking. Later, more substantial dwellings were gradually built.

The Upper Derwent scheme, with Tarraleah as its centerpiece, generated electricity that fuelled Tasmanian progress. Fifteen hundred people were employed over the life of that scheme.

After construction finished, it became the base for those operating the power scheme and continued as a Hydro village into the 1980s. Many houses were sold and dismantled in the mid-1990s. The population shrank to four residents.

Today the Tarraleah Power Station remains an important part of the Derwent hydropower scheme, ensuring safe, reliable energy supply for the state.

New owners took over Tarraleah village in 2005, reinvigorating it as a tourism venture. 


About the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra

For more than six decades the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra has been at the forefront of concert life in Tasmania. Established in 1948 and declared a Tasmanian Icon in 1998, the TSO gives nearly 80 concerts annually including seasons in Hobart and Launceston, and appearances in Tasmanian regional centres. The orchestra is a much loved cultural institution and ‘a source of pride’ to 90% of Tasmanians, according to a recent survey.

International touring has taken the orchestra to North and South America, Greece, Israel, South Korea, China, Indonesia and Japan.

With more than 60 CDs in its catalogue including 20 titles in the Australian Composer Series on ABC Classics and 12 in the Romantic Piano Concerto Series on the British label Hyperion, the TSO is known and heard nationally and internationally.

Resident in Hobart’s purpose-built Federation Concert Hall, the TSO has a full complement of 47 musicians. Marko Letonja is the orchestra’s Chief Conductor and Artistic Director.

For more information visit tso.com.au.

Hydro Tasmania’s partnership with the TSO marks its 20th anniversary in 2014. The partnership makes world-class orchestral music available through AccessTix – a program that gives Tasmanians who are experiencing disadvantage, and their carers and support workers, the chance to enjoy the beauty of music for free.

In the four years since it began, AccessTix has provided a unique concert experience to almost 2000 people.


About Maria Grenfell’s “Tarraleah”

“Tarraleah” was written specifically for this concert by Hobart-based composer Maria Grenfell. Maria has described the work as follows:

In 1948 a British transport ship docked at Elizabeth Street Pier in Hobart with 300 Polish ex-servicemen from post-war Europe. Initially expecting to work in New South Wales, they had been persuaded to travel to Tasmania (supposedly “mild and not as hot”) to work on the expanding hydro-electric scheme in Tarraleah, Waddamana and Butlers Gorge.

The construction of the subsequent dams and power stations could not have happened without these and many other immigrants, who made new lives for themselves and worked hard, despite the cold, and, at times, difficult and dangerous conditions.

I was fascinated by many of their stories, both hair-raising and humorous. There is an old Polish prayer hymn, Bogurodzica, that originated somewhere between the 10th and 13th centuries, and calls on Christ to give people a blissful stay on earth and everlasting existence in heaven. It seemed appropriate to draw on this hymn for musical inspiration in tribute to the invaluable contribution of those who settled in this state.