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Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme

Extract from Huge Underground Power Station in Operation: Snowy Mountains (1959)

Newsreel item from 1959 showing the Tumut 1 underground Power Station at Cabramurra, New South Wales. Shots of a car driving over the Tumut Pond Dam opens the item. The Dam is 290 ft high and 215 ft long. Huge transmitter stations across the Tumut Valley are shown. Water gushes upwards through vertical pressure shafts. At the Tumut 1 Power Station, engineers are shown inside the control room. As part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, the Power Station generates enough electricity to supply the whole of the south west of New South Wales.

The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme was built between 1949 and 1972. It is Australia’s largest hydroelectricity scheme. More than 100,000 people worked on it, including migrants of more than 30 nationalities. Over the life of the project the workers built seven power stations, 16 dams, 80 kilometres of pipes, 145 kilometres of tunnels and 1600 kilometres of roads and railway tracks.

NFSA: 118371 Newsreel courtesy Cinesound Movietone Productions, NFSA


1. What does this short film clip show? Summarise what you see and hear.

2. Does the film appear to have a main purpose or message? If so, what do you think it is?

3. Who made the film clip and when was it made? Use this information to try to work out why the film was made. Does this change what you think about the purpose of the film?

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