Tarraleah: Hydro Tasmania to buy back the farm

HYDRO Tasmania has announced it is in the final stages of buying back the Derwent Valley town it sold off about 20 years ago. Nearly a century after its construction, Tarraleah will once again be a bustling workers’ village, housing Hydro Tasmania employees working on redevelopment of the Tarraleah power scheme.

Hydro Tasmania today said it was buying back the village – presently known as Tarraleah Estate – at a cost of $11.2 million to support its plans to redevelop the nearby power scheme to boost capacity and generate about 30% more energy. It will also provide accommodation for workers on the Battery of the Nation program.

The village was established in the 1930s to house workers building the Tarraleah Power Station, and then for decades was an operational centre for Hydro Tasmania, home to the people and families of the civil maintenance branch and power branch.

The population declined in the 1980s and 90s as the Hydro centralised its operations and the local workforce gradually reduced. Most of the houses were sold off and transported elsewhere. The Tarraleah post office closed in 1999 and the primary school closed several years later.

In 2003 the village was sold to the first of several private owners who have operated it as a tourism venture. Hydro Tasmania says accommodation will continue to be offered to the public until the town’s full capacity is needed for the construction workforce.

“Tarraleah village is an important piece of Tasmania’s hydropower history and now it will be part of its hydropower future,” Hydro Tasmania chief executive Ian Brooksbank said. “Providing high-quality accommodation and living amenities will help us retain and attract the workers we need, which can be challenging in remote locations.”

“Important upgrades to the Tarraleah scheme are already under way, involving around 100 full-time
roles,” Mr Brooksbank said. “Hydro Tasmania is assessing the commercial viability of redeveloping the Tarraleah scheme, with a final investment decision expected in mid-2024. If the full redevelopment does not go ahead, the village will be used to house workers carrying out necessary refurbishment works on the scheme.

“The Tarraleah village will be managed as part of Hydro Tasmania’s portfolio of remote accommodation, which includes Pedder Wilderness Lodge, and accommodation, restaurant and bar at Wayatinah.

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