Did you know?

  • Construction of the Snowy Scheme officially commenced on 17 October 1949 and it was completed in 1974.
  • About 100,000 people worked on the Snowy; about two-thirds of them were migrants, from over 30 countries.
  • The scheme cost about $820 million and was completed on time and on budget.
  • The Snowy has 16 dams, seven power stations, a pumping station, and 225 kilometres of tunnels, pipelines and aqueducts.
  • The official death toll during construction was 121.
  • Guthega power station generated the first Snowy electricity on 21 February 1955.
  • Lake Eucumbene, the largest reservoir in the Snowy, has a capacity nine times that of Sydney Harbour.
  • Talbingo Dam has the highest wall – 161.5 metres.
  • Khancoban Dam has the longest crest length – 1066.8 metres – but the lowest height of 18.3 metres.
  • Many world records for hard-rock tunnel-drilling were set; in 1963, the Australian company Thiess drilled 165 metres in a six-day week in the Snowy-Geehi tunnel.
  • In June 2002 the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority ceased to be a Commonwealth Government agency and became a corporation, Snowy Hydro Limited; the New South Wales, Victorian and Commonwealth governments are shareholders.
  • In 1967 the American Society of Engineers nominated the Snowy Scheme as one of the engineering wonders of the world.
  • The Snowy Scheme pioneered the compulsory use of seat belts in vehicles.
  • Snowy scientists and engineers refined the technique of rockbolting – the use of tension bolts to compress broken or jointed rock into a self-supporting arch structure – a world ranking achievement in civil engineering and mining.

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Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019