A decade of ecological restoration announced

The United Nations has declared 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ecological Restoration. This declaration shows restoring our planet’s ecosystems is a global priority. The ecological restoration of Lake Pedder can be a symbol of hope to encourage action worldwide to protect and recover wild places and repair degraded landscapes. Your support to the campaign will help us draw the international attention needed to restore this unique landscape.


Image credit: Graham Wootton

A word on Restore Pedder in Australian Geographic

Josh Pringle of Keep Tassie Wild has been interviewed in the latest edition of Australian Geographic where he discussed the story behind his artwork with a conservation message. Among his pieces is a sticker that he designed for our Restore Pedder campaign – which you can purchase as a fundraiser perk here.

Josh commented; “You get a bit tired of trying to stop the destruction of wild places, so the idea of restoring something and undoing the damage is pretty powerful.” Read the full article here.

Keep an eye out for more coverage of the Restore Pedder campaign coming soon from Australian Geographic.


Glover Prize Winner – Pedder Prime Cuts

Congratulations to Piers Greville, who has won the prestigious Glover prize for his contemporary work and reflection on the Lake Pedder impoundment. His piece captures the sad reality of the loss of original Pedder.

Of his work, Greville commented; “Canoeing on Lake Pedder in 2017 in the expanse of dark water, the almost black glassy depths and mountains held me in their beauty. A feeling of being absent from human clutter and noise settled on me, but the sudden recollection that this lake is a dam, tipped everything I was thinking on its side.”

Judge Barry Keldoulis shares that Greville “captured the idea of the landscape being seen as a commodity to be consumed by human kind.” Read more at: https://www.johnglover.com.au/exhibitions/winners/glover

Successful campaign launch at State Cinema a sell-out success!

The campaign launch for the Restore Pedder campaign at State Cinema on 27 February was a fantastic success! We had a sell out crowd of over 200 people and many more people were trying to get tickets in the final few days. Thanks to everyone who attended and helped us raise a whopping $4k for the campaign. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm and momentum generated early and let’s keep up the momentum. Congratulations to Lindsay Hope who won the Patagonia backpack and Darcy McGowan who won the ‘Tasmanian teal’ Patagonia trucker cap. A huge thank you to the State Cinema for hosting, to Patagonia for providing some fab prizes, our helpers as well as everyone who came along and got this campaign off to a great start.

Publication of academic paper concerning Lake Pedder

Dr Kevin Kiernan (formerly of UTAS) has published a major academic paper concerning Lake Pedder in the journal Geoheritage.

The citation is:

The Original Lake Pedder, southwest Tasmania: Origin, Age and Evolution of an Australian Nature Conservation Icon. Published online in Geoheritage, 9 December 2017.

Online access to this paper has been shared by the author via Springer Nature SharedIt and it can be accessed at this link.

In the paper, Dr Kiernan provides:

  • a physical description of Lake Pedder, supported by colour photographs
  • a discussion of six theories regarding the potential mechanisms for the genesis of this unique landform, supported by diagrams and further photographs
  • a discussion of the lake’s ongoing evolution
  • an assessment of Lake Pedder’s natural heritage significance
  • an extensive list of references.

Dr Kiernan observes that:

It is now evident that Lake Pedder is, uniquely, very old, its particular location in the landscape having permitted it to escape infilling by the successively smaller glacial advances that followed its original formation. The world geomorphological literature reveals no glacial lakes of similar character, genesis and antiquity to Lake Pedder in southern temperature latitudes.

and concludes his paper:

“Although the ongoing public campaign for restoration of the original Lake Pedder results mainly from ambitions to retrieve its scenic splendour, these new insights into its origin and age compound its global geoheritage importance and contribute further to the case for its restoration.”

Annual General meeting and general business meeting of Lake Pedder Restoration Inc

Members are invited to attend the Annual General meeting and a general business meeting of Lake Pedder Restoration Incorporated on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Members will meet for lunch at the State Cinema, 375 Elizabeth St, North Hobart with the AGM to commence at 1:30 PM in the meeting room upstairs, followed by the general business meeting.

We have a full and interesting agenda and look forward to what will be a most stimulating meeting.

Peter Fagan

Friends of Lake Pedder remember Les Southwell

Lake Pedder Restoration members and friends of Lake Pedder are mourning Les Southwell, who passed away whilst bushwalking in Victoria’s high country on Saturday 16 September, aged 88.

Some thoughts and memories from Lake Pedder Restoration members:

I believe Les Southwell’s book The Mountains of Paradise: The wilderness of South-West Tasmania was the best comprehensive book on Lake Pedder at the time of its publication (1983) – or possibly since, with statements of alternative engineering possibilities drawn from Les’ engineering knowledge, and his superb photography.

Being a VERY determined person, Les self-published and self-distributed and so the book didn’t go into as many corners as it might have, where it could have educated more fence-sitters and decision makers. Les was a member of the Pedder 2000 Victorian Branch for some years.

We should acknowledge this remarkable man.

Melva Truchanas

Annabelle Richards and I talked of Les and his dedication to the Melbourne Pedder group since 1995. Les hosted meetings at his home and visited us at the Pedder office in Hobart when on his annual bushwalks to Tasmania.

I remember him as quiet, self-sufficient, intelligent; and passionate about our wilderness.

Hilary Bennell

My first memory of Les was seeing this figure standing for hour after hour in knee deep water at Lake Pedder — hence his great photographs in The Mountains of Paradise.

Chris Cowles

His contribution was huge … those glorious photos, the early book on the South-West and his constant campaigning on Pedder and keeping the vision alive in Melbourne till TWS formed.

Karen Alexander

Les was a great soul. I enjoyed the chats we shared and would notice the twinkle in his eyes when he spoke about the beauty of the South West.

Stephen Curtain

Lake Pedder from the Franklands. Les Southwell

Lake Pedder from the Franklands. Les Southwell

A media statement from The Wilderness Society follows:

MEDIA STATEMENT – 19 September 2017


Les Southwell, a towering figure of last century wilderness travel and photography in Tasmania and Victoria, has been found dead in the Victorian alps. He had been separated from companions and was sitting outside his tent near snowy Mt Bogong when he died, aged 88.

“Les Southwell, a Melbourne engineer, was one of the most remarkable wilderness walkers in Tasmania in the high age of wild country adventure last century. He first came to Tasmania in the early 1960s and, via the original Lake Pedder, walked to Federation Peak, the most remote mountain in Australia. Subsequently, in scores more trips, he bush bashed into other remote places including Pokana Cirque, Lake Curley, the Denison Range and the Gordon Splits,” former Greens leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today. “Les was a vigorous advocate for saving the Franklin and Gordon rivers from damming.”

“Les Southwell’s 1983 book ‘The Mountains of Paradise: the Wilderness of South-west Tasmania’ is a classic of Australian wilderness photography. His depictions of Lake Pedder National Park are now national treasures. Until the end, Les was a crusty advocate for restoring Lake Pedder,” Bob Brown said.

Victorian environmentalist Karen Alexander OA said that “Les had a very long dedication to conservation, from the Lake Pedder campaign to Fraser Island, the subject of his first book, and the Franklin. He saw the value of photography to convey the good message about wild places, like Peter Dombrovskis and Olegas Truchanas who also died in the wild. Les kept the campaign for Tasmania’s South-west wilderness alive in Melbourne after the loss of Lake Pedder, paving the way for saving the Franklin. As a civil engineer, Les had argued strongly for alternative solutions to the flooding of Lake Pedder.”

“Half a century ago Les observed that for Tasmanian politicians ‘the idea of the wilderness experience seemed incomprehensible and they often seemed hostile to the very notion’. Nowadays wilderness is arguably Tasmania’s greatest tourism drawcard, thanks to advocates like Les Southwell,” Bob Brown said.

The Wilderness Society paid tribute to Les, describing him one of the vanguard in Australian wilderness photography. “Images of Lake Pedder and other spectacular wild places still stand as technical masterpieces and continue to serve as inspiration to both photographers and wilderness campaigners alike,” said Society spokesperson and Tasmanian Campaign Manager Vica Bayley.

News coverage:

Photos of an impromptu memorial to Les at Red Knoll lookout near the Scotts Peak dam are at Dr Helen Tyzack’s Tasmanian Discoveries web site.