The Tasmanian Heritage Council headed to the west coast to connect with the local council, heritage property owners, site managers and organisations as part of its annual regional meeting.
Each regional meeting includes a range of site tours and a stakeholder function to create an opportunity for the Heritage Council to meet with as many locals as possible, to hear their views, take their comments on board and thank people for their dedication and commitment to sharing the heritage and stories of the West Coast.
Pumphouse Point, Lake St Clair
A number of members took the opportunity to break up the drive to the west coast with a tour of Pumphouse Point at Lake St Clair. The lake was dammed in 1937 as part of Tasmania's hydro-industrialisation. Within the pumphouse were the turbines that would pump water from Lake St Clair into the nearby lagoon when it was necessary to lower the lake level. The need never eventuated, and the structure was decommissioned. The Tasmanian Heritage Council approved plans to convert the structure into boutique accommodation in early 2000. The result is another Tasmanian heritage tourism success story.
Visiting the West Coast Heritage Centre
On the west coast itself, members started their tour itinerary in Zeehan where the Mayor of West Coast Council and the Manager of the West Coast Heritage Centre, Phil Vickers, provided an overview of the history of the region. Discussions on operational issues and visitation provided members with an insight into the complexities that regional museums often juggle in curating and delivering authentic stories that meet visitor expectation.
Lake Margaret Power Station
Hydro Tasmania hosted a tour of the Lake Margaret Power Station and Workers Village, both of which are entered on the Tasmanian Heritage Register. Members gained a greater appreciation of Hydro Tasmania's significant achievements in managing heritage values within an operating industrial site.
Creating visitor experiences was further explored with the National Trust at the Mount Lyell Company Complex and at the Art Deco Paragon Theatre where the owner also recounted the unexpected hurdles experienced in bringing this theatre back to life.
The final presentation to the Heritage Council was by Travis Tiddy, Director of the Unconformity Festival. This festival has quickly evolved to become a truly unique event that blends an appreciation of west coast heritage, the arts and local attractions, in a contemporary and refreshing way. It has quickly established itself as a successful festival and managing that success was a focus of the presentation.
The Heritage Council is deeply appreciative of the hospitality of the West Coast community and in particular the Mayor and Councillors of the West Coast Council and the owners, managers and volunteers who gave their time to share their passion, experiences and knowledge.
If you're interested in heading west, click through to Discover Tasmania for more information on what to do and where to stay on the west coast.