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Discover Duck Reach

Duck Reach and Launceston's Electric Light

The Duck Reach Power Station was built by the Launceston Council and generated hydro-electricity for almost 60 years – from 1895 to 1955. It was the first publicly-owned hydro-electric power station in Australia.

The station had a capacity of 2,600 horsepower and could produce two megawatts of electricity, enough to light 1,200 homes in Launceston. 

Duck Reach and the Power Station is located in a narrowing gorge on the South Esk River some 4.5 kms from its junction with the Tamar River in Launceston.

The Lighting of Launceston

In 1892 Launceston was the first city in Australia to have a public hydro-electricity supply. 

The Flying Fox

The foundations of a flying fox can still be seen today. The flying fox was Known at the time as the ‘aerial tramway’ it was constructed in 1895 to transport people and building materials from the Gorge to the site of the Power Station on the opposite bank.

The Flood

In April 1929, Launceston was hit by the worst flooding in Tasmanian history. It is believed that up to 22 people lost their lives and it was not until 1940 that the city fully recovered.

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