The lost Lake Pedder

Once upon a time, a beautiful tea-coloured lake lay unspoilt and largely unnoticed in a far corner of southwest Tasmania, reached only by well-equipped walkers or by those landing their light planes on its wide, sandy beaches.  Even the Tasmanian aborigines usually found this wilderness too hostile to linger in, and so it remained after European settlement and right up until the Sixties. Only a few intrepid outdoor types ever saw Lake Pedder and the Serpentine Valley with their own eyes.

Then along came a state administration fixated on hydro power projects, intent on developing the Island State as a hub of energy-intensive industry (which never happened).  A protest campaign sprang up to challenge the planned transformation of the Southwest. Photographers like Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis led the way in capturing images of the wilderness at stake, but the battle was lost.

Ironically, the first stages of the Gordon River power scheme brought the Lake within easy reach of a newly-constructed road, and so it was that more Tasmanians trekked in to see what would soon be drowned. Amongst them, Sidney Game and his eldest son, whose Easter weekend hike in 1968 was recorded in these colour slides (remember them, kiddies?).


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