Images Rob Blakers
The Paddle for Pedder is a colourful step-up in the campaign to restore the beautiful natural Lake Pedder, drowned by the Middle Gordon hydro-electric scheme in 1972.
Originally a crew of kayakers embarked on an epic 25km journey to the site of the original Lake Pedder where they raise the Restore Pedder banner, calling for the complete restoration of the Lake and its surrounding environs. Today the event has outgrown the remote South-West and has taken to Hobarts Derwent River. In 2022 a Paddle in planned in every capital city, coinciding with the 50th year since Pedders inundation.
In 2021 the Paddle for Pedder took to Hobarts Derwent River on Sunday March 28th, where 23 kayakers came together, raising a ‘Restore Pedder’ banner, calling for all political candidates contesting the state election to put the restoration of Lake Pedder, in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, at the heart of a future vision for the state.
“All political parties should be presenting to voters their vision for the future of Tasmania
and putting the restoration of Lake Pedder at the heart of such a vision is critical to restoring
the ‘clean and green’ brand that we rely upon so heavily for our economy and community,”
stated Christine Milne AO, Convenor of the Lake Pedder Restoration inc.
‘Committing to Pedder’s restoration and in doing so committing to a regenerative future for
Tasmania makes perfect sense in this election campaign. This is the United Nations Decade
of Ecosystem Restoration, and we have a flagship project at the ready to put Tasmania back
on the global stage’.
‘Authenticity matters and Tasmania’s ‘clean and green’ brand needs substance and
reimagining. As the world turns to restoring ecosystems, protecting wetlands and peatlands
as carbon stores and giving something back to Nature, restoration and regeneration must
become an environmental, social and economic priority.’
‘The ecological scientific studies have shown restoration of Pedder is not only practically
possible, it will also strengthen the World Heritage Values of the Tasmanian Wilderness
World Heritage Area, create jobs and give hope to our young people who are despairing
about the state of the planet.’
With Tasports permission, the kayakers paddled through the central shipping lane under the
Tasman Bridge, where they raised a ‘Restore Pedder’ banner from the water. A crowd also
gathered on shore bearing placards reading ‘wake the lake’.
The on-water action was followed by a shorebased musical event at Lindisfarne’s ANZAC
Park, where a crowd enjoyed Tasmanian artist Greg Wells and the Blackwater Band.
In 2020 the Paddle for Pedder, held Sunday March 1, eleven kayakers paddled from Scotts Peak to regroup over the sunken lake 13 kilometres away. Organised by Tasmanian Adventurer Andy Szollosi, “We battled some significant headwinds in the morning, and it was looking doubtful that we’d be able to raise our giant sail of a banner from the kayaks. After lunch, the winds died right down, giving us the perfect weather window for us to hold our banner up over the sight of the original lake.”
On the evening before the Paddle, the kayakers came together with more than twenty supporters of the restoration including Christine Milne and Bob Brown.
“We are in the extraordinary position where it can be restored, it can be and it will be. This is not a distant dream but a coming reality,” shared Bob.
After seeing the kayakers off from Scotts Peak, the Convenors of the Lake Pedder Restoration Committee, Christine Milne and Todd Dudley took another group of people walking near Strathgordon in an information session for those wanting to know how restoring the lake is now much more feasible than in earlier times.
“Restoration of Lake Pedder will create world news and attract thousands of visitors, including scientists, as part of the United Nations’ Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, 2021-2030,” Christine told the lakeside gathering.
“Not only is energy demand in Tasmania falling as major bulk consumers like Temco wind down, we now have the technology to replace any lost energy generation capacity with a renewable source and energy efficiency and at the same time, restore a globally unique ecosystem,” said Christine Milne. “We are thrilled that Adventure Clothing company Patagonia has become a financial sponsor of the campaign.”
The Paddlers Gallery
The inaugural Paddle for Pedder saw twelve kayakers battle strong winds whipping up white caps across the impoundment waters.