The Snowy Mountains Scheme changed Australia and this region forever. Thousands of migrants, mostly from European countries descended on the mountains of NSW to build what is arguably Australia’s greatest ever engineering feat.
Sixteen dams, seven power stations and 220 kilometres of tunnels are only part of the huge equation that comprise this complex hydroelectricity and irrigation system.
Snowy Hydro now operate this huge business that sees tunnels and pumping stations divert water to power stations to create electricity. The water then flows inland which assist farmers in irrigating their crops.
To this day it is still a fascinating story and one you can learn about and witness here in the Snowy Mountains. Whether you are touring around the Kosciuszko National Park, want an up close and personal look at dams or to see how it all works cohesively, you can find it all.
The state of the art Discovery Centre in Cooma has hands on exhibits and interactive displays, photographic collections, models of how it all links together and how the power is created. Here you can watch short films on how it was built as well as buy souvenirs and books on the ‘Snowy’.
You will find many workers stories written in books on how these skilled tradesmen combined together to help shape a nation. Their hardships and workmanship are also well documented in the short films and displays.
Cabramurra is Australia’s highest town and the visitor centre and store is a great lunch location on your journey. The lookout offers expansive views as does the drive to Khancoban. See great views of Tumut Pond Reservoir and Tooma Reservoir along the spectacular winding Snow Ridge Road and Tooma Road.
From Khancoban visit the Murray 1 Power Station and Khancoban Pondage on the western slopes of the Main Range. Murray 1 has a scenic lookout divulging the huge pipe structure that delivers water to the power station and the Murray River. The visitor centre also has extensive displays and models.
On the northern end of the park, Talbingo offer a smaller Visitor Display Centre and at Tumut you can take a stroll across Blowering Dam wall. If you are heading south towards Cooma, you travel beside the huge Blowering Reservoir for an extended period. There are ample locations to stop for camping, water skiing and swimming.
Adaminaby have the Snowy Scheme Museum open on weekends where you can see vehicles, materials used on the scheme and photographic collections. You will also see the world’s largest trout at Adaminaby, ideal for a souvenir photo.
Travelling to Jindabyne you cross the Jindabyne Dam and you may witness cone valves spurting water down the Snowy River. You can also visit Eucumbene Dam if you’re after a shorter scenic drive. See the Snowy Mountains Magazine area map on page 20 for more details on touring.
See displays of the Snowy Scheme at the Discovery Centre.