Monday, 2 May 2016
Bass Electorate: Duck Reach Power Station
2016 marks 120th anniversary of the commissioning of Australia's first publicly owned hydro-electric power station in my electorate of Bass. In 1896, the Duck Reach power scheme started generating electricity for street lighting and commercial and domestic use in Launceston. Built in the steep and rocky Cataract Gorge, only five kilometres from the centre of Launceston, it was commissioned in the same year as the Niagara Falls power company in the US. For 60 years, it provided nearly all of Launceston's electricity needs. Even by today's standards, its construction was a major engineering achievement. The Duck Reach power scheme was built by Launceston's municipal council, and in the 1920s it drove unprecedented industrial development in Northern Tasmania, with three large textile mills and other industries providing thousands of jobs. The station was almost totally destroyed in Northern Tasmania's great flood of 1929, but was rebuilt and enlarged. Duck Reach was decommissioned in 1955, when the much larger Trevallyn Power Station came online. The buildings at Duck Reach were allowed to fall into disrepair until the 1980s, when work started on saving what remained at the site. Today, the Duck Reach Historical Group continues that preservation work. On 23 April, I attended the launch of the book Duck Reach and Launceston's Electric Light, by renowned author Julian Burgess. I congratulate Mr Burgess and the publisher, Mr Gus Green, on this excellent publication, which will be an ornament to our city's historical record for years to come.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This debate was to finish at 4.45pm, and we have had one speaker after 4.45pm. It is listed in the standing orders and it is highly inappropriate—not only that he spoke, but the fact that he spoke over time.