Waddamana Heritage Site electrifies local tourism

Hydro Tasmania Waddamana
The front entrance at Waddamana. Image: Hydro Tas

The reopening of the Waddamana Power Station Heritage Site and a brand new exhibit have been a boon for the Central Highlands during the COVID-19 tourism downturn.

Commissioned in 1916, Waddamana Power Station is the birthplace of Hydro Tasmania and the original centrepiece of the heritage-listed Great Lake Power Scheme, which helped bring Tasmania into an age of ‘hydro-industrialisation’.

Hydro Tasmania CEO Evangelista Albertini said that after the site was closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, it was important for it to reopen as soon as it was safe to do so.

“Waddamana brings around 7000 visitors to the Central Highlands each year and this is part of our commitment to Tasmania, preserving and sharing our history but also helping communities whenever we can,” Mr Albertini said.

Related article: Why protecting high-tech infrastructure is vital in 2021

“Waddamana is an important part of the Highlands Power Trail and we wanted it to be open every day for the September 2020 school holidays and the end-of-year holidays, and it’s paid off because visitation numbers are almost on par with previous years, but with greater numbers of Tasmanians visiting as they look for holiday-at-home experiences.”

Tasmanian Energy Minister Guy Barnett toured the site today and said Tasmania has a rich history of developing renewable energy.

“Tasmania has long been seen as having a world class electricity system and the re-opening and refreshing of the Waddamana Power Station Heritage Site is further evidence of our reputation as the renewable energy powerhouse of Australia,” Minister Barnett said.

Related article:AusGasCo gets green light in Bowen and Surat basins

The ‘New Way of Living’ exhibit opened in November 2020, showcasing how a reliable supply of renewable energy changed the domestic lives of ordinary Tasmanians.

It’s the latest in a series of major upgrades of Waddamana Power Station since 2015, made possible through investment by Hydro Tasmania and Australian Government grants, which include new audio-visual presentations, an all-access walking trail, Wi-Fi access, building maintenance and more.

The coming weeks will also see the opening of new exhibits in the museum’s ‘bus bar’ area, named for the large copper bars that formed part of the power station’s high current distribution system, and an interactive model Pelton wheel turbine.