A Brief History
At the far end of the world, Tasmania needed more than the Zeehan/Derby and Queenstown gold rushes to attract a stable population. Unlimited and cheap electrical power was the solution and, with its mountainous landscape and high rainfall, hydroelectricity was the answer. Far-sighted engineers conceived the building of dams, the construction of canals and the installation of power stations. Work began in the 1920s and Tarraleah was selected for a new hydro town.
In the 1920s the land was heavily forested. By the 1930s the forest was cleared and the Lodge (then known as the Chalet) and the first cottages were constructed to attract quality engineering staff to Tarraleah. More housing followed, and by 1980 the town had a population of 1600 people.
The Lodge was built in the 1930s by the Hydro Electric Commission (HEC) when money and craftsmanship were no object. The Lodge was the centrepiece of the Tarraleah settlement and was originally built for the visiting engineers and directors.
Well built and with every modern convenience of the time (plus free unlimited electric heating), housing was provided to some of the world’s elite hydro-electric engineers. At its peak in the 1980s the town boasted the cottages, 3 pubs, 2 churches, extensive workshops, sports ovals, a post office, a butcher, a police station, a supermarket, a doctor, swimming pool, golf course, cricket club, tennis courts, squash courts, a shooting club a school and much more….. However, after 50 years of construction, the work was completed and the need for staff rapidly declined.
In 1996 the town of Tarraleah officially closed and the majority of the housing was sold. Houses were literally cut up, loaded onto trucks, and relocated around Tasmania. The land slowly reverted back to scrub and by 2005 the population had sunk to 4.
The current owners acquired the property in 2005 and the renovation and relaunch of Tarraleah began.
The Lodge was the centrepiece of the original settlement, as it is today. Fully restored in 2007 the Lodge features superb craftsmanship and stunning art deco design, winning it many accolades including Conde Nests Coolest Hotel in the world.