Hydro Tasmania celebrates 100 years of history

On 23 October 2014, Australian state-owned electricity generator Hydro Tasmania officially celebrated its 100th anniversary. Over recent months, the company – commonly known as ‘the Hydro’ among local communities – has connected with the public to recognise the contribution of thousands of people to building Tasmania’s hydropower system over the past century.

Waddamana power station

To mark the celebrations, Hydro Tasmania has hosted a series of free events, including power station tours, a travelling exhibition and documentary screenings. Earlier this year, it launched a dedicated website to bring its history to life, collating stories and images contributed by members of the public.

Hydro Tasmania’s CEO Steve Davy said when the business started planning how to celebrate its centenary, an important decision was made: “We wanted the centenary to celebrate the people who built our business.

"And there are a lot of them. Over 100 years, it’s estimated as many as 30 000 people have worked for the Hydro.

"The Hydro is part of the living memory of thousands of workers and their families,” said Mr Davy.

“During the year, people have shared their personal stories with us, and we in turn have been able to share those stories with the rest of our community.”

One such contribution, entitled Len Wells, a tribute from his daughter, is typical of many in illustrating how the company has become part of the community fabric and a way of life for so many families over the years. It concludes: “Our family was proud to be employed by ‘the Hydro’ and look back with fond memories of the people and time spent at Tarraleah and surrounds”.

You can search the full collection of stories here.

The flagship event of the centenary celebrations was a free family day on 26 October at the site of Hydro Tasmania’s first power station, Waddamana, which went into operation in May 1916.

Waddamana official opening

A travelling public exhibition entitled 100 Years of Hydro recounts the history of the business from the construction of Waddamana through to the present day, exploring how electricity generated by hydropower has catalysed industrial development and social change in the Tasmania.

“During our centenary year we’ve done a lot of reflecting on our history," said Mr Davy. "But it’s important to be thinking about the future too, especially for a business like ours where the energy market and technology can change so rapidly.

“We’re planning on being here for the long term. I’m confident that renewable energy will be more important 100 years from now than it ever has been.”

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