Hydroelectricity and dams in Tasmania are seemingly everywhere. In the northwest of Tasmania there are several hydro dams, so if you’re interested in the dams then come and stay at Glencoe Country B&B.
A 25 min drive from Glencoe is Lake Barrington. Lake Barrington is a man-made Hydro Tasmania lake in north west Tasmania’s Forth Valley.
Lake Barrington is best known for its 2,000 metre, eight-lane international-standard rowing course, used for rowing, canoeing and water-skiing competitions.
The 183-hectare Lake Barrington State Recreation Area hugs the lake’s foreshore. Here, tall eucalypt and lush rainforest shelters a diversity of native wildlife.
The Recreation Area has a large day visitor shelter with wood barbecues, picnic tables and stretches of lawn along the shore.
Toilet facilities are located on the eastern side of the Lake. Another great place to visit is Tasmazia, just next to the lake.
Tasmazia is one of the world’s largest maze complexes with eight mazes to explore, including four mature botanical mazes, planted in viburnum and Chinese honeysuckle.
Tasmazia prides itself on being politically incorrect and there are humorous quotes and surprises to be found throughout the complex.
You can walk through the amazing village of Lower Crackpot, built to 1/5th scale, with each building having a unique Tasmanian story, or find the embassy of your fore bares in Embassy Gardens where over 40 countries represented.
The complex also includes The Three Bears Cottage, Cubby Town, lookouts and a field of 10,000 lavender plants (peak flowering occurs in January).
There’s a gift shop selling world-renown Tasmanian honey and lavender products as well as souvenirs, puzzles and treats.
Tasmazia is also famous for its pancakes and no visit is complete without a visit to the cafe.
So, back to the dams in Tasmania. 10 mins from Glencoe is Devils Gate Dam. We were lucky to have a guest stay at Glencoe who worked on the dam’s construction.
The construction of this dam in 1969 is what created lake Barrington. The dam is 84 metres high and is one of the thinnest concrete arch dams in the world.
The narrowness of the gorge and the computer-aided design of its double-curvature shape enabled engineers to minimise the volume of concrete and hence the cost of the dam.
Flood waters falling freely from the crest strike concrete slabs carefully positioned on the abutments to prevent undermining of the dam by erosion.
Otto Vettiger wrote a computer program to calculate the stresses in the arch, one of the first such programs in the world.
It is part of the Mersey-Forth scheme that comprises eight hydroelectric power stations.
Devils Gate Power Station is the sixth station in the scheme and was commissioned in 1969 with a generating capacity of 63 megawatts.
It houses a single Boving Francis turbine coupled to a Siemens generator. The machine features a unique bearing arrangement with separate thrust and guide bearings.
The turbine has a partially embedded spiral casing with no relief valve or inlet valve. It has been upgraded and modernised in 2018 and now produces 67 megawatts.
There is a viewing platform to see the dam and there are open days to see the inner workings of the dam.
A 10 min drive in the other direction from Glencoe is Paloona Power Station. It is a hydroelectric power station on the Mersey Forth catchment and the final power station in the Mersey Forth scheme.
The power station is located immediately below the rock-filled, concrete-faced Paloona Dam, which forms Lake Paloona.
Water from the lake is fed to the power station by a short single penstock under the dam. The power station was commissioned in 1972 with a FujiKaplan turbine, with a generating capacity of 30 megawatts (40,000 hp) of electricity.
In 2014 the turbine was upgraded to a more efficient Andritz Kaplan turbine, which also has a generating capacity of 30 megawatts (40,000 hp) of electricity.
If this has piqued your interest, there are several other dams in Tasmania…particularly in the local area as well. You could do a day of dam spotting then return to relax with a glass of wine a Glencoe.
For more of our blogs on things to do around Glencoe B&B, click here.