Ghost Towns

Lake Margaret / Rob Burnett

Western Wilds: a ghost story

It’s 1902. Covered in soot and grime, exhausted men trudge home to their families after long, arduous days in the mines. Industries are booming and townships on Tasmania’s west coast are bustling with people milling out of post offices and banks, theatres and grocery stores.

For the last 30 years, the fortunes of the entire state have changed thanks to the discovery of an abundance of iron, copper, gold, lead, tin and zinc minerals. Keen explorers, prospectors and track cutters have come from all over Australia and beyond, and the townships of Waddamana, Dundas, Linda and Gormanston are overflowing with people. Schools and churches are being built and communities are thriving.

A few years on, the mining boom starts to fade and the populations of these towns face a dramatic decline. People start to return to the mainland and scatter across Australia. Suddenly, once-thriving west coast mining towns become empty shells of an earlier, more prosperous time.


Lake Margaret Village / We Are Explorers

Join a local tour for an exclusive opportunity to visit the abandoned village of Lake Margaret and acquire a unique insight into the hydropower industry and its historical significance in the region. The last resident of Lake Margaret left in 2009, after living there alone for 18 years!

Explore the deserted Lake Margaret Village with its abandoned buildings and get a unique insight into the hydropower industry and its historical significance in the region. The last resident of Lake Margaret left in 2009, after living there alone for 18 years!

Today, as you drive through these communities of just a few hundred residents, take a closer look – you’ll discover evidence of where thousands lived before. Beautiful grand theatres, large hotels, ornate facades and old railway stations provide a juxtaposition to the few people that live there today – the buildings stand tall and proud in towns that appear abandoned.

Welcome to the ghost towns of the Western Wilds.

Dundas circa 1906 / Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

Dundas circa 1906

Gormanston Main Street / Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

Gormanston Main Street

Linda Valley circa 1910 / Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

Linda Valley circa 1810

Waddamana Power Station circa 1923 / Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office

Waddamana Power Station circa 1923
Dundas circa 1906
Gormanston Main Street
Linda Valley circa 1810
Waddamana Power Station circa 1923