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June 01st 2009 print

Giles Auty

Pedder by Max Angus

Lake Pedder Protagonist by Giles Auty Pedder: The Story. The Paintings, by Max Angus; Lake Pedder Restoration Committee, 2008, $70. Max Angus’s moving narrative sets before us a gentle and dignified man’s understanding of what was once an intensely inflammatory issue: the flooding of Lake Pedder in the cause of a hydro-electric power scheme. Lake Pedder was the jewel in the crown of Tasmania’s formerly untarnished south-western wilderness area. If subsequent conservationists were even half as reasonable as the author and illustrator of this slender but beautiful book their causes would be served much better. Angus chronicles what he sees as the tragic flooding of an area of outstanding natural beauty in the early 1970s in the light of his impassioned association with Lake Pedder which began in 1953. Unlike many who support so-called green issues today, Angus does not automatically characterise his opponents as either villains or vandals. What the book concludes, in fact, is that the flooding of the lake was ultimately unnecessary and that the famous, shallow, sand-fringed site could and should be restored one day to its former glory.

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