photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme was launched on 17 October 1949. A major project that diverts water from the east-flowing Snowy River westward to the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers, it took 25 years to complete. Many people photographed aspects of its construction, including engineer Kevin Forrester, who captured this dramatic image of Guthega pressure pipeline.
Guthega was the first of seven power stations erected by the Scheme’s multinational workforce. The photograph shows the dramatic fall of the pipeline; by the time water has fallen that distance, it has a good deal of energy to impart to one of the station’s two turbines. A channel dug into the snow is ready for a second pipeline to be constructed from the pipe sections strewn on the ground. With several buildings and power poles also in shot, the photograph is nicely representative of the Scheme’s construction phase and its twin aims of supplying water and electricity.
The Powerhouse has acquired many objects and photographs related to the Scheme. This week we mounted a modest display in the foyer to celebrate the 60th anniversary, and it has already prompted lively discussion about the Scheme, the people who worked on it, and its cultural meanings.
Photography by Kevin Forrester,
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Post by Debbie Rudder, Curator