My grandfather, James Hyndes Gillies. Image from Ticklebelly Tales


It was 1970 and I had just finished my apprenticeship as a fitter and machinist. I went to work at Gowrie Park on the Mersey Forth scheme an I was there for three months before going to work in Germany.I remember meeting some very good tradesmen and also some who went about the job with  a cheerful wrecklessness.I bet you know what I'm talking about if you were there.Towards the end of my employment there some of the staff were beginning to move to Strathgordon so you can see that my association with the Hydro was at the very end of the construction period.

However I also have a connection with the very beginning of the Hydro . My great grandfather J.H.  Gillies was a metalurgist who invented a flotation process  for the extraction of zinc and as the final process was by electrolysis he needed a vast source of electricity.So it came about that  the Hydro-Electric Power and Metallurgical Co.Ltd was formed which gained the rights to use the water from the Great Lake to produce electricity.You can well imagine the severe hardship in the early days of this scheme with lack of access, severe weather and difficulty faising finance for an undertaking of this scale.

To cut a long story short, in 1914 the State Government acquired the Hydro-Electric assets of the scheme and went on with the completion of Waddamana A power station.The difficulties encountered in the early days of this huge enterprise are well chronicled in Tasmania's Struggle For Power a book writen by my grandfather A.J. Gillies and I will have copies with me for sale at Waddamana .See you there!!