Commemorating 60th anniversary of Lake Pedder National Park

The Lake Pedder National Park was proclaimed in March 1955 – 60 years ago.

To commemorate and celebrate this event, the Lake Pedder Restoration Committee have organised a picnic / barbecue to be held at the Waterworks Reserve South Hobart on Sunday 8 March from 11 AM.

All interested persons are invited to this event. It is expected that many who knew Lake Pedder and were involved in the campaign to save it from inundation will attend, and share their memories of the Lake and the campaign. Younger Tasmanians, who have been denied the opportunity to know Lake Pedder, are particularly encouraged to join us for what will be a fascinating afternoon of historical recollection.

To view the invitation, click here.

The following quote from Lake Pedder: Why A National Park Must be Saved (Dick Johnson (ed.) 1972) provides a brief history of the proclamation of the National Park:

Lake Pedder National Park, an area of 59,000 acres centred on Lake Pedder was proclaimed in 1955 as a result of submissions by bushwalkers. The Scenery Preservation Board endorsed the proposal and Sir Allan Knight, commissioner of the Hydro-Electric Commission and a statutory member of the board, did not object.

At least three sets of boundaries were proposed. The final agree boundaries are notable for excluding much of the valley of the Serpentine River (which drains Lake Pedder) from the national park:

From Report of Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry June 1973
From Report of Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry June 1973

The reason for this exclusion was that the Hydro-Electric Commission had by 1955 conceived of a hydro-electric power scheme that would dam the Serpentine River, hold the captured water behind the dam and use it to generate electricity. Excluding the lower reaches of the Serpentine from the National Park would enable them to be flooded by a dam without also flooding Lake Pedder.

The configuration of such a scheme is illustrated in the following diagram:

Middle Gordon power scheme reconfigured to restore Lake Pedder within the boundaries of the 1955 National Park. From Report of Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry June 1973

Middle Gordon power scheme reconfigured to restore Lake Pedder within the boundaries of the 1955 National Park. From Report of Lake Pedder Committee of Enquiry June 1973

The Lake Pedder Restoration Committee has developed a 3D visualisation that demonstrates how the eventually constructed power scheme abandoned this environmental compromise and flooded the entire course of the Serpentine River, a great deal of surrounding country and Lake Pedder itself. The 3D visualisation also demonstrates how the power scheme could be modified to enable Lake Pedder to be restored. To view the visualisation, click here.

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