Island Bend
50 years flooded
Updated 19 Dec 2014

Snowy Scheme Museum


Official opened
15 Oct 2011

The Island Bend
1967 yearbook
is available
for download.





Chlldren of
the Snowy

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Snowy Kids

In 1949, when I was but a very tiny tot, construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme began. Such a grandiose and techo title couldn't last for long, and it was soon universally referred to (except on their letterhead) as "The Snowy". Children who lived in its construction camps and towns consequently became known as "Snowy kids".

To be a Snowy kid meant you were uniquely placed in Australian geography and history. Few  other towns in Australia had regular and long-lasting snow cover. Nowhere else in Australia had the same dynamic mix of cultures and money and sense of destiny as these towns and camps during the construction phase.

Snowy kids were aware they were in a privileged, if isolated and temporary, position. They went flat out to enjoy their experience, joining in every possible social and sporting activity on offer. They had excellent school facilities (at least from the Sixties onwards), funded by strong community support and (with exceptions such as myself) excellent teachers.

1st Cabramurra Cubs
near Three Mile Dam, Kiandra (1968

Skiing was a major winter activity. At one school in the Sixties we had most of the Australian age champions in a single classroom. Cubs, Brownies and the like were also popular. Leaders such as John de Majnik adapted the rather boring standard approach of scouting in those days to the exciting environment in which the Snowy kids were living. Like the construction teams, it seemed to them that there wasn't much that wasn't possible. Island Bend, and later Talbingo, had large archery clubs with lots of junior members. There were regular films, occasionally acceptable TV reception, but not so good that much seemed worth watching (unless you were in Cabramurra which, because of its elevated position, seemed to have more TV stations available than New York).

The photos in this album have been scanned from 35 mm slides taken between 1967 and 1969 in Island Bend and Cabramurra. Island Bend has gone, like most of the Snowy camps and towns. The Cabramurra that existed then has also disappeared, replaced in the Eighties by a collection of almost equally indifferent but permanent structures on the next hill.

It was a very moving experience to meet up with quite a few ex-students at the 1999 Snowy Reunion at Jindabyne. Thank you, those ex-students who have found this small collection and contacted me. It's been great to hear from you. However, I can't remember most of the names of the kids in the pictures. If your memory is better than mine, please email me!

Bruce Mitchell