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Tasmanian Dams case Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983): Home

Tasmanian Dams case Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983)

Tasmanian Dams case Commonwealth v Tasmania (1983)

Background - Franklin River

Protest against the damming of the Franklin River National Archives of Australia

Fight for the Franklin 1982: Protests against the Franklin Dam lead to the formation of the Greens. National Museum of Australia

Franklin Dam and the Greens National Museum of Australia

Franklin Dam (media) Campaign TROVE National Library of Australia  The list of 13 items, will look to answer the question, "How did the campaign of those who were opposed to the building of the Franklin Dam utilise the media in order to have their message received and ultimately win their cause?"

The Battle to Save the Franklin. Archival footage of the protests

Clickview videos

The Australian Experience - Saving The Franklin - The Fight For Tasmania's Franklin River (24 mins)

ABC November 2009

Franklin (1 hour 30 mins) SBS 2022

Recounts the seven-year campaign to save the Franklin River, one of Tasmania's World Heritage-listed sites, from being drowned by a hydroelectric project in the early 1980s.


The Rise of the Environmental Movement (5 mins) 2022

The Australian Conservation Foundation emerged in 1966, a time of increasing awareness about human impact on nature. This video describes key moments in the history of the ACF, including the beginnings of the foundation, the Franklin River campaign and the role of the foundation today.

Why did Tasmania want to dam the Franklin?

Gordon below Franklin Dam

In 1979 the Tasmanian Government proposed to dam the river to create hydro electricity.


A teacher provides an overview of the Commonwealth v Tasmania ("Tasmanian Dam case") [1983] HCA 21; (1983) 158 CLR 1 (1 July 1983).

Map showing location of proposed Gordon below Franklin Dam

Legal Arguments and documentation - Franklin River

Richardson v Forestry Commission [1988] HCA 10; (1988) 164 CLR 261 (10 March 1988)

F.C. 88/007 Constitutional Law (Cth) High Court of Australia

Full text

Australasian Legal Information Institute  Search here for particular laws and cases

AustLII provides free, comprehensive and independent access to Australasian law. 

Tasmania’s Hydro-Electric Commission (HEC) and the Franklin Dam (A) 2005-75.1 ANZSOG

(Australian and New Zealand School of Government)


Tasmanian Dam Case Environmental Law Australia

The Tasmanian Dam Case is the most famous and influential environmental law case in Australian history. It was also a landmark in Australian constitutional law.

Key documents are hyperlinked at the bottom of the article.

Legal terms

Trick or Treaty? Commonwealth Power to Make and Implement Treaties Parliament of Australia

Including "The interpretation of the external affairs power"  Chapter 5

Original jurisdiction of High Court Parliament of Australia

Significance of the judgement for future cases and law making in Australia

Lemonthyme and Southern Forests (Commission of Inquiry) Act 1987 Australian Government Federal Register of Legislation

(no longer in force)


Richardson v Forestry Commission UN Environmental Programme

Brief summary with links to full text