In the Environment and location video (3:57), students will also explore the cultural and spiritual significance of the area to First Nations people.

Episode 3

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following video may contain images and voices of deceased persons.


The spectacular and distinctive Australian Alps extend over 1.6 million hectares of public land containing 11 national parks and nature reserves across Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Containing the highest peaks in mainland Australia, the Alps are of outstanding landscape value. The Alps, commonly referred to as the Snowy Mountains, are also home to unique, cold climate, adaptive plants and animals including alpine daisy and snow gums mountain pygmy possums and migratory bogong moth.

Archival film

Most of the Alpine country was previously covered by widely spaced snow gums with snow grass growing freely beneath. Such natural grasslands contained large swampy basins with a typical heath vegetation and pink beds of moss underneath. Heath and moss beds form huge sponges which retain rainfall and feed the mountain streams with clear water, even during long spells of drought.


Due to their high peaks and seasonal snow, the Australian Alps strongly influence the hydrology of Eastern Australia. The Alps contribute significant quantities of snowmelt to the river systems of eastern Australia. The water retention properties of bog and fen communities in the area play an integral role in regulating water flow to river systems.

Past Aboriginal social gatherings based on moth feasting were unique to the Alps. The adult insect, the bogong moth, was the basis for large scale annual gatherings of different Aboriginal groups for ceremonies.

The Australian Alps are part of the Great Dividing Range, a series of mountains, hills and highlands that run about 3000 kilometres from Northern Queensland through New South Wales and into the northern part of Victoria.

This chain of highlands divides the drainage of rivers that flow to the east, into the Tasman Sea, from those that flow west into the drainage of the Murray-Darling Basin, or into inland waters such as Lake Eyre which lie below sea level or else evaporate rapidly.

The Great Dividing Range reaches its greatest heights in the Australian Alps. The Australian Alps consists of two biogeographic sub-regions, the Snowy Mountains, including the Brindabella Range located in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and the Victorian Alps located in Victoria.

The latter region is also known as High Country particularly within a cultural or historical context. The Kosciuszko National Park situated in the Australian Alps covers an area of 676,000 hectares. It is one of the largest national parks in the world located in the southeast corner of New South Wales. It contains the highest mountains and most extensive alpine snowfields in Australia.

The remote and rugged Snowy Mountains holds a very important and interesting place in Australia's history and future. The Snowy Hydro Scheme is primarily situated in the Kosciuszko National Park and relies on local snowmelt to create electricity that is used right across Australia.

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