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Lake Pedder: Values and Restoration. Volume 27, Centre for Environmental Studies Occasional Paper

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 08:32 authored by Christopher SharplesChristopher Sharples
The original Lake Pedder was a glacial lake of surpassing beauty and outstanding natural value, set in the geographical heart of what was, in the latter half of the twentieth century, one of only three substantial temperate wilderness areas remaining in the southern hemisphere (Neilson 1975). The full breadth and depth of Lake Pedder's nature conservation values have seldom been fully recognised, and one aim of this volume is to describe some of those values. However, the aesthetic and inspirational values of the lake and its surrounding mountainous regions have been illustrated and lyrically described by many of those fortunate enough to have visited the original lake (see for example Angus 1975, Neilson 1975, Southwell 1983, Brown et al. 1985). In 1972 Lake Pedder was flooded to create a new and larger artificial lake as part of the Middle Gordon hydro-electric power development. This flooding occurred in the face of a public outcry which was, for an environmental issue, unprecedented in Australia's history, and that heralded the beginning of a new phase in Australian political history in which the environment became a pervasive political issue right up there alongside the economy and other traditional issues. Although environmental concerns had been expressed in Australian society long before this time and earlier political battles had been fought over environmental issues, few would disagree with the assertion that it was the flooding of Lake Pedder, more than any other single event, that irrevocably brought the environment into the general public consciousness in Australia and made it a mainstream political issue. It is noteworthy that it was an event at the periphery of the Australian political scene, rather than in the power centres of Melbourne and Sydney, which challenged the established order and wrought this profound change in the Australian political landscape.


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The Proceedings of a Symposium held on 8th April 1995 at the University of Tasmania

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