Tasmanian electricity generator celebrates centenary

MONA
MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, image courtesy Rosie Hastie

Hydro Tasmania is marking a century in business with a host of free programs across Tasmania, recognising the contribution of thousands of people in building the statewide hydropower system.

Tasmanian Energy Minister Matthew Groom launched the program, which includes a public exhibition, a concert by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, a schools initiative, power station tours, as well as a Back to Waddamana day to recognise the beginnings of the power station.

“The legacy of the Hydro is not only its engineering and construction feats, but that it was carved out of the state’s harsh interior by ordinary people working in extraordinary conditions,” he said.

Mr Groom said the construction of Tasmania’s extensive system of dams, power stations and canals had been a primary driver behind the state’s economic and social development during the 20th century.

“Thousands of workers toiled on building the power schemes – many of them displaced by hard economic times, war and strife. They came from far and wide – even the other side of the world to make Tasmania their new home,” he said.

“Their legacy remains strong to this day, which is why people are front and centre of the celebrations to recognise the Hydro’s 100th birthday later this year.”

Hydro Tasmania chief executive officer Steve Davy said the centenary was a way to tell the stories of the people of ‘the Hydro’ and to give thanks to those who built the state’s hydropower system.

“Much has been written about our history, the achievements and the conflicts, but the constant through the past 100 years has been the role played by the men and women who gave so much to make the business what it is today,” he said,

The government-owned enterprise will turn 100 in October, a date that recognises the beginning of the original Hydro-Electric Department in 1914, which later became known as the Hydro-Electric Commission, then the Hydro-Electric Corporation.