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History & Heritage

History & Heritage

The Snowy Mountains has a rich and fascinating history.

For more than 20,000 years the Snowy Mountains were home to a number of Aboriginal groups with a unique way of life. The coming of summer each year saw the arrival of large numbers of Aboriginal groups for a time of feasting and ceremonies in the high country. This coincided with the migration of the bogong moth from southern Queensland to the region. The moths were collected by the Aborigines, cooked in hot ash and a very nutritious meal was eaten.

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The high country was first settled in earnest by European stockmen, graziers and landholders in the early 1800s. This endeavour, immortalised in Banjo Paterson’s poem ‘The Man from Snowy River’, created a myth that has become part of Australia’s identity.

In the 1860s thousands of people from across Australia, Europe and Asia flocked to the gold rush town of Kiandra. Miners came in search of wealth and found gold along with a life that could be lived nowhere else in Australia.

"In the 1860s thousands of people from across Australia, Europe and Asia flocked to the gold rush town of Kiandra."

Skiing as a sport, first appeared in Australia at the goldfish town of Kiandra in 1861. Originally referred to as ‘snow shoeing’ and later as ‘ski running’, skiing also served a vital purpose, allowing Kiandra’s residents to maintain contact with the outside world when roads were closed by heavy snows.

Come the mid 1900s, the Snowy Mountains attracted surveyors, hydrographers and engineers who sought a way to harness the power of the high country’s great rivers. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electricity Scheme was launched in 1949, and today it provides power to three states. The Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre and power stations provide fabulous insights into this incredible engineering feat.

A great source of historic and cultural information can be found in the book Searching for Snowy by George Seddon.

Today, the Snowy Mountains with its high peaks, alpine lakes, vast plains, fertile valleys and rich heritage have also become a place of recreation and entertainment.

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