A Walk to Lake Margaret Dam

--- a long long time ago ---

Lake Margaret is a small hydro-electicity scheme located in the west coast of Tasmania. Close to the mining town of Queenstown, it was constructed between 1911 and 1914 to supply electricity to the Mt Lyell mining company. Lake Margaret township was built to house the hydro-electric workers and their families.

A group of like minded friends and I spend a pleasant day following the 2.4 km pipeline from the power station to the lake. The first 330 meters is up a step scarp but rewards with great views. Of course, after such strenuous exertions we must stop for a rest and the obligatory mug of freshly brewed billy tea. "Hey, we are not the SAS!"

Step Climb from Lake Margaret township
leads to a rewarding view

The remainder of the trek follows a wooden stave pipeline up a gentle incline to the dam. The pipe built in 1938 from local King Billy Pine replaced an earlier pipe built from Douglas Fir. Now in the 1980s it is leaking profusely. While of course lowering hydro-electric efficiency, it does infuse the area with a certain charm.

the wooden stave pipeline
not steep, but very wet.

We continue our soggy but joyous journey until we reach the Lake Margaret Dam and lake. A picnic lunch washed down with copious amounts of brewed billy tea is languidly consumed on the lake's shore. Slowly retracing our soaked steps back towards the Lake Margaret township completes the pleasant days outing.

Lake Margaret Dam is located on Lake Sedgewick.
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The Lake Margaret Dam and power station were nominated to be included in the State Heritage Registar. It was closed in June 2006 because maintenance costs associated with the decrepit King Billy Pine pipeline, now leaking up to 10% of the water. After a multi-million dollar refurbishment programme, including a new King Billy pipeline, the scheme was re-opened in November 2009. "Couldn't they drill a few holes in it!?"