Hydro Electric Development: Gallery Page 26 of 30
Mersey Forth Hydro Electric Development

Various aspects of the Mersey Forth Power Development are depicted in the nine panels of this mural which is believed to be the longest in the Southern Hemisphere. The mural is painted on the workshop and stores building of the Hydro Electric Commission depot. It tells the story of exploration, negotiating scrub on horseback, surveyors, construction, engineering, automated technology, the township of Gowrie Park through to the modern day water skiers on Lake Barrington.

Investigation for the power scheme began in 1952 and construction commenced in 1963. The scheme consists of seven dams and power stations which harness the waters of the Fisher, Mersey, Wilmot and Forth Rivers. The Cethana Dam is the second largest of its type in Tasmania and the Devil’s Gate Dam is a high concrete arch which forms Lake Barrington.

During the construction of the Mersey Forth Power Scheme, Gowrie Park was home for almost 2,000 people. The Hydro Electric Commission created an instant town complete with butcher shop, police station, school, church, cinema, medical centre and general store. The Gowrie Park School catered for the children of the 250 families with some class sizes as high as fifty seven. Many different languages were spoken due to the diversity of countries from which the work force was drawn.

However, with the completion of the scheme, the town disappeared almost as quickly as it had risen. Although the HEC still operates a maintenance depot from Gowrie Park, little remains of the township today apart from daffodils which come up in spring to flag the location of former homes. Much of the township site is now operated as Weindorfers accommodation centre, featuring murals, pioneer settlement and licensed restaurant.

Painted in 1990 by: John Lendis assisted by Diane Whiting
Location: Claude Road, Gowrie Park Size: 94m x 4m
© Sheffield Inc Sponsor: