Your Chance to Visit the Waddamana Power Museum on May 5th.

Our business, Live History Productions does more than interpret convict women’s history as many of you know.  We can be commissioned to research, create and perform a play on any topic, at any site, any time.  Remembering that history can be defined as “anything that happened more than a second ago” this gives broad parameters!

Three years ago we were contracted to write a short history of hydro electric power in Tasmania by Hydro Tasmania, for the Heritage Festival.  The theme that year was Water, Our Island’s Life Force (a gift for the Hydro).  Using Heather Felton’s excellent book Ticklebelly Tales and Other Stories from the People of the Hydro Chris shaped this big challenge into a thirty minute play.  Called Ticklebelly Tales (you can’t go past that for a title surely?) he created a series of short vignettes which graphically illustrates the need, the invention and the hardships of producing hydro- electric power in this State.  We performed Ticklebelly Tales, in a short tour around Tasmania, in Tarraleah, Hobart and Queenstown.

This year, Hydro Tasmania has contracted us again to reprise our play, Ticklebelly Tales; the theme for this year’s Heritage Festival is Innovation and Invention.  This time the performance venue is the Waddamana Power Museum right in the very centre of Tasmania in the Central Highlands.

We travelled up there last Monday, to view the performance space, as we need to work out the logistics of producing the play in a different place.  I suspect that, like us, the majority of Tasmania’s population has never visited this amazing museum tucked away in the hidden valleys of the Centre?  We lunched in Bothwell (do visit the wonderful craft shop behind the church but take cash as they don’t have EFTPOS, also it is closed on Saturday).  Have a coffee/lunch at the Elm Cafe further along the street and browse through the collectables.

From Bothwell it’s around 24 kilometres of dirt road to Waddamana but a good surface meant we could travel quite fast and it took us forty five minutes.  Winding, misty roads enhances the feeling of mystery and isolation until it opens out into a delightful village with large pine trees and some charming wooden cottages – we had arrived.

The Power Museum itself is housed in the original station.  Steps took us up to the entrance where we met Bernadette, the attendant, who made us welcome.  We will have more time on the performance day to look around the fascinating array of turbines and immaculate machinery all imported from the UK or the USA.  We decided on the performances spaces and said our goodbyes – we had a dirt road drive back to Hamilton where we were staying overnight, it was getting close to the end of the afternoon and we didn’t want to hit native animals as they came out of the bush at dusk.  As it was we nearly collected a kamikaze wallaby but a huge dead wombat in the middle of the road hadn’t been so lucky.

We stayed at Emma’s Cottage which is the oldest in the Uralla collection run by Judy Madden in Hamilton.  We couldn’t recommend this enough!  The cottage is beautifully restored to its 1830’s character and made a lovely stopover for the night.  We drove back into Hobart the next day to perform Her Story with the memories of Waddamana fresh in our minds.

Want to go?  Ticklebelly Tales will be performed at 11.30am, 1.30 pm and 2.30 p.m on May 5th.  I couldn’t think of a better combination: a drive to Tasmania’s centre to see the birthplace of our hydro electric scheme told dramatically against the backdrop of  fascinating machinery.  Then, if like us, you want to treat yourself to a night away, a stopover in one of our delightful Highland towns like Hamilton or Bothwell.

Emma's Cottage Kitchen

Emma's Cottage Kitchen, Hamilton


The Single Bedroom

A Bedroom at Emma's Cottage, Hamilton

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