As Snowy Hydro embarks on an expansion of the Snowy Scheme a unique digital storybook project is underway to capture the voices and experiences of ten former workers.
Snowy Hydro and Woden Community Service have partnered on the project which sees former workers who are all in their 80s and 90s share their stories of determination, success and resilience with current and future generations.
Paul Broad, Snowy Hydro’s Chief Executive Officer, said that former Snowy Scheme workers overcame significant engineering and construction challenges to build one of the greatest and most complex hydro power systems in the world.
“It took ingenuity, dedication and hard work to build the Snowy Scheme. Our former workers are a critical part of our company’s history and strength, and capturing their stories is very important.
“We often reflect on and marvel at the achievements of the original Snowy pioneers. Today, as we’re designing and planning the Snowy 2.0 project we’re grateful to have the expert records and technical data from the workers who came before us”, Mr Broad said.
Woden Community Service in collaboration with PhotoAccess and Gen S Stories have the privilege of working with the former workers and bringing their stories to life.
Chris Redmond, CEO of Woden Community Service, said the idea for this project grew from a senior’s social group for ex-Snowy workers, set up by Woden Community Service in August 2016.
“The group is led by Sandy Van Der Toorn, our Seniors Social Group Coordinator. Sandy’s father worked on the Snowy Scheme and she has many fond memories of growing up there.
“We’re also very lucky to have the expertise of Jenni Savigny from Gen S Stories on this project. She enables people of all ages to use the medium of digital storytelling to share their story and assists them to tell it in their own voice (literally). We look forward to working with Snowy Hydro to make this project a success”, Mr Redmond said.
Snowy Hydro has provided $25,000 to fund the project which is due to be complete in the middle of this year. A formal premiere of the stories will be held in June 2018.
Quotes for attribution from several of the project participants :
“After 23 years of working with Snowy Hydro, I am very proud to be able to tell stories of my time living and working in the highest and coldest town in Australia. It was possibly the greatest time of my life. There are many stories to tell as there was always something exciting was happening.”
– Tim O’Halloran, 85, former Snowy worker.
“I am really happy to be able to take part in this project. It’s so nice to think that future generations might be interested in the little stories of our lives working on the Snowy. We love the way we are learning to condense our long and interesting lives into just a few minutes for this project. It is challenging our old brains.”
– Christa Fischer, 82, former Snowy worker.
“I am pleased to be able to share my experiences growing up as a Snowy child. Growing up in Cooma provided me with many new experiences which had a profound impact on my future. It introduced me to people from other nationalities with vastly different cultures.”
– Arthur Donelly, 73, child of a former Snowy Hydro worker.
Background on the project partners:
About Snowy Hydro
Snowy Hydro is a dynamic energy company supplying electricity to more than one million homes and businesses. Since the days of our pioneering past, Snowy Hydro has grown into the fourth largest player in the energy market. Snowy Hydro not only operates the mighty Snowy Scheme (nine power stations including pumped storage at Tumut 3 Power Station and Jindabyne Pumping Station), it also operates gas and diesel peaking assets in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
The construction of the Snowy Scheme began in 1949 and was completed in 1974. More than 100,000 people from some 30 countries worked on the Snowy Scheme. Only a third of the workforce were Australian, many workers came to work on the Scheme to escape war-torn Europe and begin a new life. Working side-by-side allies and even former enemies had the opportunity to become part of the local community the ‘Snowy Family’.
Snowy Hydro also owns the electricity and gas retail companies Red Energy and Lumo Energy, and the utility connections business, Direct Connect. www.snowyhydro.com.au
About Woden Community Service