The once-common suggestion that it was named after a convict "The Pieman" Alexander Pearce who was responsible for one of the few recorded instances of cannibalism in Australia, is not correct. "The Pieman" was in fact Thomas Kent of Southampton, a pastry-cook who was transported to Van Diemen's Land in 1816. After a long series of offences in the colony, he was sent to the Macquarie Harbour Penal Station in 1822 but subsequently escaped, and was recaptured near the mouth of the river which now bears his nickname. The river has significant timber, mining and industrial heritage along its shores.
The construction of the power development scheme also altered the route of the Emu Bay Railway, and submerged a variety of rail heritage sites in the vicinity of the river, notably parts of the Wee Georgie Wood Railway or North Farrell Tramway line.
Tasmania. Hydro-Electric Commission. Survey Section.(1982) Pieman River power development map [cartographic material] / H.E.C. Map reproduction Survey Section. Ed. 1, 1982. Scale 1:60 000 (E 145°05'--E 145°46'/S 41°37'--S 42°00') Tourist map on orthophoto base, showing power developments, for the area Corinna-Lake Mackintosh-Trial Harbour. Includes power stations, tourist facilities, and historical notes.