Tarraleah was once a ghost town in the rugged highlands of Tasmania but now a combination of history and scenic beauty is seeing its rebirth.

Story By Tim Dub

Tasmania has its fair share of ghost towns. Many were established with a single goal in mind, such as the search for gold or other mineral wealth, the housing of labour for great industrial projects or even the reform and punishment of convicts. When the wheel of fortune had turned and the gold was exhausted, the dam built or the convicts freed, these towns had no economic viability of their own and declined rapidly. Some were completely abandoned and reclaimed by nature and others persisted as home to the few characters tough enough to survive i.n the solitude of the bush. But whatever their eventual fate most of these settlements had one outstanding feature in common – they were in places of great scenic beauty. This irreplaceable asset, and their relative affordability, has seen the resurrection of several of these Tasmanian townships as tourist destinations, combining the comforts of the modern, with spectacular outback locations and a strong sense of history.
Tarraleah is such a town. It sits high on a hill in the rugged isolation of Tasmania's Central Highlands, an easy two-hour drive to the north-east of Hobart along the Lyell Highway. The town was built in the 1930s by the "Hydro" – the company responsible for the generation of Tasmania's electricity – and was home to many thousands of mainly Eastern European, immigrant workers. They came to build the dams and canals from which water raced through massive pipes down the steeply sloping hills, to the huge turbines of Tungatinah and Tarraleah power stations in the valleys below.

This story excerpt is from Issue #55

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2007