The story of Pumphouse Point begins twenty thousand years ago, when the earth is frozen over. A rumbling glacier grinds down an alpine landscape, forging a steep ravine in its wake. Filling with melted snow and freezing rain, the deepest lake in Australia is born. Many of the spectacular glacial features of the region are visible from Pumphouse Point.
As a provider of life in a harsh wilderness environment, the lake becomes a primordial oasis for flora, fauna and land’s first people. Known as the Big River Tribe, the original inhabitants call the lake Leeawuleena, meaning “Sleeping Water”.
Lake St Clair is first visited by Europeans in 1832 and for a hardy few, the highland life becomes their muse. Artists, explorers, adventurers, and swindlers pass through. The Overland Track between Lake St Clair and Cradle Valley is marked out in 1931, and many of these former hunters, prospectors (and swindlers!) become tourist guides.
By 1930 modernity is sweeping across the globe. A bold new vision arrives on the shore – to harness the awesome power of the lake and create a monument of mid-century industrialisation. The State’s Hydro Electricity Scheme builds a 5-storey pumphouse, 900 feet out in the lake, to house enormous water turbines for their hydropower system – a vision realised in 1940.
This state-of-the-art facility is to pump water from Lake St Clair into the nearby St Clair Lagoon where it will be stored and fed to the nearby Tarraleah Power Station as required. However, the need to use the facility fails to arise and the site is eventually decommissioned in the early 90s having never been used for its intended purpose, but only switched on for routine maintenance. The site is also recognised for its significant industrial heritage and placed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register.
The Tasmanian Government assumes control of the unique site and appoints the Parks & Wildlife Service as caretaker with a view to attracting potential tourism developers. Two developers are successful in securing leases over the property in two separate tenders, but neither commences work within the prescribed timeframes as set out in the lease terms, leaving the Government feeling concerned about the future of the site. In a final tender for tourism development in 2004, Simon Currant is successful in securing the lease and begins his journey toward bringing Pumphouse Point back to life.
After a decade of hard work, Simon’s dream finally becomes a reality on January 1st 2015 as 18 rooms fill with excited guests, here to experience one of the world’s most pristine natural environments… from the middle of Australia’s deepest lake! It appears this long and fascinating history is still only the very beginning for Pumphouse Point.
CLICK BELOW FOR VIDEO CLIP – HISTORY OF PUMPHOUSE POINT
GALLERY OF THE EARLY DAYS