Engineering Heritage Tasmania

The Tasmania branch of Engineering Heritage Australia.

About Engineering Heritage Tasmania

Engineering Heritage Tasmania runs a quarterly lecture program (see Division calendar of events), a plaque program and an oral history program.

Engineering Heritage Tasmania also maintains a library and archives of engineering works, biographies of engineers, photographs and technical papers, including some searchable databases, at our Division office.

Formal Committee meetings are held quarterly, but some members meet every Thursday at the Engineers Australia Tasmania Division Office, Royal Engineers Building, 2 Davey Street, Hobart.

Oral History Program

Senior engineers who have had interesting careers are interviewed and each interview is recorded on audio tape so that their experiences can be shared with present and future generations.

Brief biographies and tape logs are produced; occasionally transcripts are typed out. Tapes are held at the Division Office and are also lodged with Archives Tasmania.

Engineers interviewed to date (2006) are:

  • Gordon Colebatch, Chief Civil Engineer, Hydro-Electric Commission
  • Peter Crawford, City Engineer, Hobart City Council
  • Bernard Donnelly, Director, Public Works Department
  • Jack Edwards, Chief Engineer & General Manager, Port of Launceston Authority
  • Michael Fitzpatrick, Asst General Manager Engineering, Hydro-Electric Commission
  • Peter Greenwood, National President, Engineers Australia
  • Richard Gumley, Chairman, Global Lightning Technologies Group
  • Fred Lakin, Plant Engineer, Public Works Department
  • Professor Arch Oliver, Civil & Mechanical Engineering, University of Tasmania
  • Ralph Rallings, Geotechnical Engineer, Roads Pavements
  • Robert Sharp, Director, Public Works Department
  • Charles Smith, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Tasmanian Government Railways
  • David Sugden, Tunnel Boring Machine consultant

Sullivans Cove Engineering Heritage Walk

A coloured pamphlet describing the many items of engineering heritage around the Port of Hobart is available from the Tourist Information Centre and the Division Office. It includes a map of the route starting from the Royal Engineers Building and ending at the Ordnance Buildings on Castray Esplanade.

Guide: SullivansCoveEngineeringHeritageWalk

Heritage Recognition Program

Since 1984 Engineers Australia has been recognising important historic engineering works with the award of distinctive markers.There are two levels of awards.

Until 2009, the awards were called National Engineering Landmarks (NELs) for works of national significance, and Historic Engineering Marker (HEMs) for works of lesser significance. The plaques were made of bronze and the wording described the work, the engineers involved and the heritage significance. The awards are given out at a formal ceremony.

The nomenclature and the design of the awards changed in 2009. The awards are now called Engineering Heritage National Landmarks (EHNLs) and Engineering Heritage Markers (EHMs). Each award consists of a circular metal disk, either EHNL or EHM, together with a large interpretation panel telling the story of the work in words, photographs and drawings.

Here in Tasmania we have received 23 awards to date (May 2013) including six at the national level.

For a map of Tasmania showing the location of the historic engineering works click below:


National Landmarks

Boyer Newsprint Mill (1941) – On the Derwent River near New Norfolk, the Mill was the first in the world to make newsprint from eucalypt hardwood, a process which continued for 68 years.

Cethana Dam (completed in 1971) - On the Forth River south of Devonport is a 110 metre high concrete faced rockfill dam which overcame the problems suffered by similar dams in other countries.

Electrolytic Zinc Works (1916) - Established at Risdon (Lutana) in Glenorchy, the Works currently produce 270,000 tonnes of zinc annually and employ 600 staff and contractors. Innovation has enabled the Works to use several different ore sources and continuously increase output.

Gordon Dam (1974) - On the Gordon River near Strathgordon in South-West is a 140 metre high double-curvature arch dam, the highest arch dam in Australia with the largest storage.

Ross Bridge (1836) - Over the Macquarie River at Ross is a three-span masonry arch bridge with unique ornamental carvings on the arches.
Ross BridgePlaque_Jan07

Waddamana A Power Station (1916) - In central Tasmania, now a museum, began the development of the state-wide electricity grid.

Heritage Markers

Catagunya Dam (1962) - On the Derwent River near Wayatinah is a 49 metre high concrete gravity dam anchored to its foundations with steel cables, the highest of this type in Australia when it was built.

Crotty Dam (1991) - On the King River near Queenstown is an 80 metre high concrete faced gravel and rockfill dam with a service spillway chute resting on its downstream face.

Devils Gate Dam (1969) - On the Forth River south of Devonport is an 84 metre high double-curvature arch dam, one of the thinnest in the world.

Duck Reach Power Scheme (1895-1956) - Is a hydro-electric scheme on the South Esk River built by Launceston City Council to light the city streets.

Evandale to Launceston Water Supply Scheme (1836) - While never completed, this was designed to convey water from the South Esk River to Launceston by tunnel and canal.

Kings Bridge (1864) - Across the Gorge in Launceston is a beautiful wrought iron arch bridge fabricated in England. It carries Trevallyn Road over the South Esk River.

Lake Margaret Power Scheme (1914) - On the Yolande River near Queenstown this was built by the Mt Lyell Mining & Railway Company, and operated until 2006. It may re-open. To view the Lake Margaret Power Scheme Plaque click below:
Lake MargaretPowerSchemePlaque_Jan08

Laughing Jack Dam (1957) - On Powers Rivulet near Bronte Park is a rockfill dam which allows flood water to flow through the embankment to avoid the cost of a separate spillway.

Launceston Water Supply (1857) - Brings water 16 kilometres from the St Patricks River via tunnel and race, and is still operating. To view the Launceston Water Supply Plaque click below:

Miena Dam No. 2 (1922) - On the Shannon River at the southern end of the Great Lake was the second longest multiple arch dam in the world when it was built. It is periodically submerged by a later dam

McNaught Beam Engine (1854) - At the Hobart Institute of TAFE in Bathurst Street is the world's oldest beam engine of the McNaught type.

Richmond Bridge (1825) - Over the Coal River in Richmond is a six-span masonry arch bridge, the oldest bridge in Australia.

Scotts Peak Dam (1973) - In the South-West this dam helped to flood the original Lake Pedder, thereby initiating the conservation movement in Tasmania.

Tarraleah Hydro-Electric Development (1938) - This utilises the headwaters of the Derwent River near Tarraleah and began the State's 110 Kilovolt transmission system.

Tasmania Gold Mine (1877-1914) - At Beaconsfield, this gold mine had three of the largest mine dewatering steam pumping engines in the world.

Tasmanian Transport Museum (1972) - Located at Glenorchy, this museum has a collection of important trains, trams, buses and fire engines, many in operating condition or being restored.

Vincents Rivulet Bridge (1932) - On Proctors Road 9 kilometres south of Hobart, this bridge demonstrated the additional strength of a composite steel beam and concrete deck construction.

Colin Crisp Heritage Award

This is a national award made biennially by the Board of Engineering Heritage Australia for the best recent engineering heritage project. The award is presented at the next national heritage conference. The criteria and nomination procedure are set out on the EHA website.

Tasmanian projects have won this award twice.

The inaugural award in 2005 was won by the West Coast Wilderness Railway which arose from the restoration of the original Abt Railway, built by the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company in 1896 between the port of Strahan and the mine at Queenstown. The Abt rack system enables the locomotives to climb two steep grades of 1 in 16 and 1 in 20 on the line.

The 2011 award was won by Hydro Tasmania for the restoration of the Lake Margaret Power Schemes originally constructed by the Mt Lyell Mining and Railway Company in 1917 and 1931 to supply the mine, initially to avoid the ever increasing cost of obtaining firewood.

Contact us

Anyone with an interest in engineering heritage is more than welcome to contact the Division Office on (03) 6234 2228 or or feel free to contact any of the Committee members.


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