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Snowy 70th celebrations start this week in Cooma

Ian Campbell 16 October 2019
Safety has been a core value of the company from day one. Photos like this show just how far safety standards have come. From the beginning of construction, mandatory safety classes were taught in a range of different languages to educate all workers about the inherent dangers of construction. Photo: Snowy Hydro.

Safety has been a core value of the company from day one. Photos like this show just how far safety standards have come. From the beginning of construction, mandatory safety classes were taught in a range of different languages to educate all workers about the inherent dangers of construction. Photo: Snowy Hydro.

The Snowy Mountains Scheme seems as old as the hills it sits in. This modern marvel of engineering is such a part of our Australian story that imagining a time without it is hard to do.

Fact is it was only seven short decades ago, in October 1949, that the ceremonial first blast was fired at Adaminaby signalling a commencement to works.

This historic milestone will be recognised with events in Cooma, Khancoban and Talbingo this week and beyond focusing on celebrating the incredible achievements of the construction era and the decades of operation.

It’s also a great opportunity for Snowy workers from over those decades to reconnect and share stories of their Snowy life and experiences with each other and current Snowy staff.

A community celebration and main reunion event will be held on Saturday (October 19) from 11 am – 3 pm in Cooma and everyone is welcome to attend.

The event will be held on the lawns outside the Snowy Hydro head office in Cooma North. Festivities will include speeches, live music from local performers, delicious food and more.

People can move between the lawn, the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre and the main office building, which will be open for tours during the event.

The Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre will be open throughout the weekend. Visitors will be able to experience the brand new, state-of-the-art immersive theatre and the proud history, engineering prowess, mateship and vision of the mighty Snowy Scheme.

100,000 men and women from over 30 different countries came together to build the Snowy Scheme! With two-thirds coming from war-torn Europe, English lessons were taught across all construction camps. Photo: Snowy Hydro.

100,000 men and women from over 30 different countries came together to build the Snowy Scheme! With two-thirds coming from war-torn Europe, English lessons were taught across all construction camps. Photo: Snowy Hydro.

A massive screen measuring 14 metres wide and 4 metres high will welcome visitors and take them on a fly-over across the Snowy Mountains, showcasing the past, present and future – a behind-the-scenes tour of one of the greatest civil engineering projects the world has ever seen.

A series of ‘Snowy Talks’ will be held throughout the day in the main office for the community and ex-workers to hear about how Snowy Hydro is operating in today’s rapidly changing energy market and the critical role the business will continue to play in Australia’s renewable energy future.

The talks will cover the company’s plans with Snowy 2.0, a major pumped-hydro expansion of the Snowy Scheme and is in many respects fulfilling the original vision of the scheme.

In the early years of construction thousands of workers lived in tents across the Snowy Mountains while building the Scheme. Photo: Snowy Hydro.

In the early years of construction, thousands of workers lived in tents across the Snowy Mountains while building the Scheme. Photo: Snowy Hydro.

What you need to know to take part in the 70th celebrations…

  • A new permanent photographic exhibition at the Cooma Library launches on Thursday, October 17 at 10:30 am.  In attendance will five women from the Snowy Scheme whose stories and images shaped the photographic exhibition.
  • In Cooma, on Saturday, October 19, the community celebration event on the Snowy Hydro office lawns from 11 am – 3 pm.
  • Khancoban reunion celebration event, Lady Hudson Rose Garden, Saturday, October 26, 11 am to 3 pm. Former workers, their friends and families and those interested in the Snowy Scheme are invited to come along and share their Snowy stories in the beautiful gardens and reunion marquee. People can bring a picnic or purchase food from local providers. There will be some chairs available, people can also bring along their chairs and picnic rugs. The rose garden was created during the construction of the Murray side of the Scheme and has been upgraded recently by Council. The Khancoban Public School will also be open for tours between 9 am and 11 am.
  • Talbingo reunion celebration event, Tumut 3 Power Station viewing area and car park, Sunday, November 10, 10 am to 2 pm. Former workers, their friends and families and those interested in the Snowy Scheme will be able to mingle and share Snowy stories. To commemorate the day, Snowy Hydro will provide a rare opportunity to see inside the Tumut 3 Power Station from the viewing gallery. A barbecue lunch will be available, with all proceeds to be donated to a local charity. There will be some seating provided and shaded areas available, people can also bring along chairs if they wish.

For more visit the Snowy Hydro website.

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