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TAS Country : December 16th 2010
mber 17, 2010 13 Hydro Electric Power Station Museum (below) on the Ouse River at Waddamana is the only national engineering landmark in Tasmania. ts out on land fling e approach to Waddamana Village. You come across some funny people. We have met some really lovely people, we've certainly had lots of laughs, we've only had one lot that did a runner in all those years.' SWITCH: Helen and Frank Cooper. Pictures: JENNIFER CRAWLEY and DYLAN GIFFARD roomy kitchens and bathrooms complete the authentic Hydro cottages. The houses are set up for families, with gas barbecues in the backyards and pegs on the clotheslines. The streetlights and clotheslines are hand-made by former Hydro workers, the door handles are back to front and the houses are some of the best insulated in Tasmania. The lights go out in Waddamana when Frank switches them off. It is the only town in Tasmania where the owners pay for the street lights. Switched off late if school groups are in residence, the lights are left off if there are no residents. The village still retains many original Hydro features. The door handles turn the opposite way, the taps are on the opposite side. The engineers' houses are on the lower side of the road and the workers on the raised side. The Hydro Electric Power Station Museum at Waddamana is the only national engineering landmark in Tasmania. Log books kept by the power station superintendent are housed in the museum. Every minute detail of village life is documented in the logs, Frank said. ''If your dog ate the next door neighbour's chooks, if your kids were sick, everything's in there,'' he said. The Coopers live in the original superintendent's house at the entrance to the village. The superintendent's wife had a glass verandah installed so she could observe the goings on in the village, Frank said. ''She knew everything about everybody, She knew when you had diarrhoea by how many times you went to the outhouse.'' The Coopers communicate mainly by fax or phone but have broadband internet connection via satellites and cottages have been fitted with mobile aerials for guests who like to stay connected. ''We look a bit like Cape Canaveral,'' Frank said. ''Our main business is schools and they all know where we are,'' Helen said. ''Older teachers who have been coming here since the beginning are more than happy to ring up and have a chat,'' Frank said. ''We haven't pursued the new technology because it's never really been an issue for us. If someone wants to talk to us they can talk to us on the phone.'' Helen said she sometimes forgets what day it is, especially in the middle of winter when there are no visitors. The couple have a deep love for the abundant wildlife at Waddamana. A wallaby with a joey too big for her pouch shows her baby off to the Coopers most nights. Peacocks stroll the grounds and deer occasionally come across the river and graze. ''We saw a tree move once,'' Helen said. ''We were down the back and this big brown tree seem to move and it was this huge stag just out there among the trees. ''It looked like the arms on the tree were moving, he was just magnificent.'' The Coopers said there is enough work for two or three families at Waddamana. ''They wouldn't have to live here full-time,'' Helen said. ''Somebody else will come in and it will be go, go, go.'' Transend has built a switch yard next to the museum, which will double the electricity supply to Hobart. The old 110 volt line has been replaced with a 220 line. The Coopers were unhappy about the large switch yard being built close to the village but they say they were unable to stop it. The government-owned enterprise compulsorily acquired land from the Coopers to build the large switch yard. ''We bought it from them, but 19 years later they took it off us,'' Frank said. Pleas to the minister at the time, David Llewellyn, to reconsider the acquisition fell on deaf ears, Frank said. ''We are unhappy with him and the way our land was acquired,'' he said. The Coopers have had a lot of requests from guests over the years, including some odd ones. ''When we first came a lady rang and asked if we had a bearskin rug she could put in front of the fire,'' Helen said. ''We didn't but we did have a possum skin. We laid it in front of the fire, and that couple came back heaps of times. ''You come across some funny people. We have met some really lovely people, we've certainly had lots of laughs, we've only had one lot that did a runner in all those years.''
December 9th 2010
December 23rd 2010