Legacy and national identity video (4:34)

Episode 12

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

Archive film

In October, 1972, Tumut 3 power station was officially opened by the Governor General, His Excellency, The Right Honourable, Sir Paul Hasluck.


What is legacy? We often use the term legacy to talk about the lasting ideas or impacts from an historical person or event. Legacy refers to the impacts, either positive or negative, from these people or events in the past.


So what would be your fondest memory of your time working?

Frank Rodwell

The fact that I worked for the Snowy, now looking back on it, I think how fortunate I was. It's the meeting of the people from countries that I had not heard of. You had to look at the atlas to see where they came from. And we were the crew working for the Snowy.


So what is the legacy of the Snowy Hydro? What are the lasting and significant impacts we see today that may carry us into the future? The ambitious programme of the Snowy Scheme in 1949 seemed insurmountable. Yet, the vision, expertise and dedication of a diverse range of people; Australians, migrants, experts in the field of science and engineering, all contributed to making the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme a successful engineering wonder of the world.

Archive film

In July, 1967, the Murray 1 project was officially opened by the late prime minister, Right Honourable Harold Holt. And history was made with the diversion of the Snowy waters from the east of the Dividing Range to the Murray River on the West. As Mr. Holt pulled the switch, 1 of the 10 95,000 kilowatt generators spun into action. The units that the station are now producing peak load electricity, a network for New South Wales and Victoria.


The Snowy Hydro Scheme put the Snowy Mountains on the map of Australia. And Australia on the map of the world. It helped pave the way for Australia's multi-cultural identity that we see today. The towns of the Snowy were really the first multicultural towns of Australia. A place where strangers from opposite ends of Europe, and sometimes the world, came together to achieve a common goal - the construction of this groundbreaking scheme - and transformed Australia's identity in the process. Today, as the stores of fossil fuels, such as coal, become depleted, more and more emphasis is being placed on creating and using renewable sources of energy. The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme is one of Australia's major renewable energy suppliers. Producing 32% of our renewable energy. The Snowy Hydro Scheme really has transformed the story of our nation. One individual at a time.

Christa Fischer

Such a special project! And I think word got around. The biggest ever in Australia. We think, and we should have had lots more projects like that going.

Hans Fischer

And I could drive along, go to anywhere, and I can say 'I've built this.' And it's always something that I can see. That I've achieved.

Frank Rodwell

It's all part of the progress of the country. And that is important to everybody.

[End of transcript]

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