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Tarraleah, TAS

Old construction camp for hydro-electricity workers in the heart of Tasmania

Tarraleah started life as a hydro-electricity township in the mountains between Hobart and Queenstown. There was a time when it was home to over 500 workers and was the heart of Tasmania's huge hydro-electricity projects. Today, although privately owned and turned into a holiday and leisure destination, it still has has huge hydro-electric pipes which tumble down the side of a valley near the chalet. The Tarraleah Lodge offered bushwalking, trout fishing, kayaking and other outdoor activities. In 2023 the Lodge was sold to Hydro Tasmania.


Tarraleah is located 127 km north-west of Hobart via the Lyell Highway. It is 23 km south of the turnoff from the highway.


Origin of Name

It is accepted that "tarraleah" is the local Lairmairrener word for the Forrester Kangaroo.


Things to See and Do

Walks in the Area
The lodge listed a number of interesting walks in the area. Check out http://www.tarraleah.com/tarraleah/tarraleah-walks. The walks include the Big Tree Walk (http://www.tarraleah.com/activities/big-tree-walk) with some huge trees that are probably 350 years old; the Eagle Track (http://www.tarraleah.com/activities/the-eagle-track) a one hour walk where it is possible to see both wedge tailed eagles and white bellied sea eagles; the Quoll walk (http://www.tarraleah.com/activities/the-quoll-walk) where, at night time, it is possible during a one hour walk to see both Tasmanian Devils and quolls; the Tarraleah Falls Walk (http://www.tarraleah.com/activities/the-tarraleah-falls-walk) a 25 minute walk to a platform 35 metres above the falls; and the Tasmanian Trail which is part of a 480 km trail from Devonport to Dover. See http://www.tasmaniantrail.com.au for details.

Exploring the Tarraleah Hydro-Electricity Operation
The hydro-electricity pipes near the lodge and cottages are impressive. A placard explains: 'The average length of the six steel penstocks is 584 m. Their diameters vary from 1525 mm at the top to 1220 mm at the station with plate thickness varying from 10-20 mm. Each penstock is fitted with an hydraulically fitted butterfly valve. These valves will close automatically if the velocity in the penstock reaches 30 per cent above the normal operating velocity of 45 m per second.' Outside the power station, which is located at the base of the mountain, there is a Visitors Gallery where travellers can see the scale of the generators and hydro-electric operation.


Other Attractions in the Area

Wildlife in the area
There are some fantastic walks and it is quite possible to see platypus, quolls, wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devils and echidnas all on the same evening. We have counted over 80 bird species and eagles can be seen soaring as you sit in the stunning cliff top hot tub. Some say the Tasmanian tiger is also about and one of our engaging wilderness guides is credited with the last reputable sighting in Tasmania.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans members of the Lairmairrener First Nations language group had lived in the area for at least 30,000 years.

* The first Europeans in the area were explorers in the late 1800s who travelled through the isolated land.

* By the 1920s the Tasmanian HEC (Hydro Electricity Commission) was starting to explore the hydro electricity potential of the area.

* In the early 1930s workers in the area were living in tents.

* A local post office opened in 1934.

* In 1936-1937 the Tarraleah Chalet was built by the Tasmanian HEC at a cost of £8 271. It was built to house engineers and company directors.

* By the late 1930s the HEC was building more permanent cottages and residences and trying to attract families to the town.

* The village grew through the 1930s and 1940s with churches, a town hall/picture theatre, public house, supermarket, hospital, roadhouse.

* When it was operational Tarraleah was a typical construction town with prefabs and a chalet; a Police Station and offices for the Forestry Commission and the Department of Fisheries in the town's small commercial centre.

* By the 1980s Tarraleah had a population of around 500, most of whom work for the HEC.

* In 2006 the village was purchased and transformed into what it is today - a hotel on a village -scale.

* Today Tarraleah Estate has a range of walks.

* Hydro Tasmania bought Tarraleah for $11.2m in 2023.


Useful Websites

There is a very comprehensive and detailed website. Check out http://www.tarraleah.com.

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1 suggestion so far
  • Hello, My name is Evelyn, I’m not sure if you are interested but I have a postcard from Berlin addressed to a Mister Horst Mollenhauer c/- HEC Tarraleah, Tasmania, dated 1954. It is written in German and unfortunately the stamp has been cut off. If you would like I can scan it and send it to you. I would like to know if there is any way to find out if this person is registered as working for the HEC?

    Evelyn Zerba