Lake Gordon

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Lake Gordon
Gordon Dam.jpg
The 140 m (459 ft) high Gordon Dam, built in 1974, creates Lake Gordon.
Lake Gordon is located in Tasmania
Lake Gordon
Lake Gordon
Map showing Lake Gordon in Tasmania
LocationSouth-west Tasmania
Coordinates42°44′S 146°10′E / 42.733°S 146.167°E / -42.733; 146.167Coordinates: 42°44′S 146°10′E / 42.733°S 146.167°E / -42.733; 146.167
Primary inflows
Primary outflowsGordon River
Catchment area1,280 km2 (494 sq mi)
Basin countriesAustralia
Managing agencyHydro Tasmania
Built1974 (1974)
Construction engineerHydro-Electric Commission TAS
First flooded1974 (1974)
Surface area278 km2 (107 sq mi)
Water volume12,359,040 ML (436,455.4×10^6 cu ft)

Lake Gordon is a man-made reservoir created by the Gordon Dam, located on the upper reaches of the Gordon River in the south-west region of Tasmania, Australia.


The reservoir was formed in the early 1970s as a result of the dam construction by the Hydro-Electricity Commission of Tasmania in order to create an upper storage for the Gordon Power Station, the largest and most controversial hydro-electric power scheme in Tasmania.[2]

Drawing from a catchment area of 1,280 square kilometres (490 sq mi), Lake Gordon is Tasmania's largest lake, with a surface area of 278 square kilometres (107 sq mi), with storage capacity of 12,359,040 megalitres (436,455.4×10^6 cu ft)[1] or 12.5 km3 (3.0 cu mi) of water, the equivalent of twenty-five times the amount of water in Port Jackson. Lake Pedder is connected to Lake Gordon through the McPartlans Pass Canal at 42°50′51″S 146°11′45″E / 42.84750°S 146.19583°E / -42.84750; 146.19583 (McPartlans Pass Canal).


Additional dams were proposed for the lower Gordon River, however they were subject to political protest led by The Wilderness Society, most notably the Franklin Dam controversy during the early 1980s. In 1983 the Hawke-led Australian Government intervened and overturned a decision by the Tasmanian Government to dam the lower Gordon. When the Tasmanian Government refused to halt work in the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Area, the Australian Government successfully sought a ruling in the High Court of Australia in Commonwealth v Tasmania. The lower Gordon was not dammed.[3]

Tasmanian Energy Crisis[edit]

In early 2016, the lowest ever water supply levels in the lake were recorded during the 2016 Tasmanian energy crisis.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Register of Large Dams in Australia" (Excel (requires download)). Dams information. Australian National Committee on Large Dams. 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  2. ^ McKenry, Keith (1972) A History and critical analysis of the controversy concerning the Gordon River Power Scheme pp.9 - 39 in Australian Conservation Foundation (1972) Pedder Papers - Anatomy of a Decision Parkville, Vic. Australian Conservation Foundation
  3. ^ Harries, David (March 2011). "Hydroelectricity in Australia: past, present and future". ecogeneration. Great Southern Press. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  4. ^ Baines, Richard (24 March 2016). "Energy crisis: Tasmania's key hydroelectric source Lake Gordon at record low". ABC News. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  5. ^ Gramenz, Emilie (31 March 2016). "Lake Gordon dam level fall captured in dramatic video". ABC News. Retrieved 23 April 2018.