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Stories from former workers and families of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme

Meet refugees from war-torn Europe and the Thai-born 'mayoress' of Cabramurra. Ten diverse stories about finding peace, opportunity, beauty, lifelong friendships and true love. The last of their generation, the ten storytellers share their memories and personal photos of their role in the iconic Snowy Scheme.


​​Partners: Woden Community Service, PhotoAccess

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A New LIfe

by Carlo Aggio

After many years in refugee camps in Europe, Carlo arrived in Australia age 21, with no qualifications and very little English. He started work in a survey team at Dry Dam, four hours drive on gravel road from Jindabyne, via Adaminaby, then Kiandra.

What a Journey: my migration from war-torn Germany to Australian snow

by Dieter Amelung

Dieter appeared on the front page of the Sydney Sun Herald  with Prime Minister Menzies. It was at the opening of Guthega Power Station in April 1955 when he was 24 years old and employed as a junior operator.

New Country New Life

by Christa Fischer

In 1957, aged 20, Christa came to Australia from Germany to visit her sister in Cabramurra. Every morning she was woken by the earth-shattering noise of a Tournacrane lifting new houses onto their foundations. A few days later her match-making sister introduced her to the operator; a handsome and good-natured 28-year-old German by the name of Hans Fischer.

Snowy Tales

by Hans Fischer

Hans arrived in Jindabyne from Germany in 1951 and drove heavy machinery, building roads, clearing snow. The best bacon and eggs he ever tasted was in 1956 at the Kiandra Hotel.

Geehi Roaming: my involvement in Snowy-Murray development west of the Divide 1956-1959

by Denis Woodhams

Denis worked as a geologist on the construction of Tumut 1 Power Station. He lived in Cabramurra but was transferred to the Geehi in 1956, moving from primitive facilities to none!

Like a Dream

by Lumduan Hill

Meet the 'mayoress; of Cabramurra! Lum lived in Australia's highest town for 45 years, after arriving from Thailand, aged 23. For 40 of those years she worked for Snowy Hydro, making her their longest-serving Cabramurra employee.

Aussie from Amsterdam

by Hans Karman

One of Hans' jobs as an engineering surveyor was to make precision surveys of the roof supports during the construction of the Tumut 1 Power Station. This involved a quiet Sunday of observations followed by days in the office with a Brunsvigga calculator.

A Christmas Day That Wasn't

by Tim O'Halloran

Tim's most dangerous job was as an overhead linesman. He had to climb  electricity towers, and at first he was afraid of heights. Tim says, 'Once I start a job I have to see it out and I’ll have a go at anything.'

Snowy Kid

by Arthur Donnelly

When Arthur was 11 years old, his family moved to Cooma because of his father's new job with the Snowy. Arthur recalls discovering a whole new world in Cooma, including his first experience of proper Italian spaghetti bolognese

Snow Huts and Hobnail Boots

by Bruce Elliott

In 1954, Bruce started work at the Geehi as a junior labourer, aged 17. There was just him and his dad living at the camp and Bruce started by teaching himself to drive in the Land Rover.