THE GRAND SCHEME (2016-present)

The Snowy Hydro Scheme is widely regarded as the most ambitious industrial project in Australia’s history. Constructed between 1949 and 1974, the system diverts water from the Snowy, Eucumbene and Murrumbidgee Rivers westward via a series of tunnels, aqueducts and reservoirs, through the Great Dividing Range for use in irrigation throughout inland Australia. In the process the water is used by power stations to create hydro electricity. It’s often referred to as an engineering wonder of the world.

In the context of today’s changing climate, and renewable energy needs, it was a visionary idea. Today The Snowy Hydro Scheme is the largest renewable energy generator in Australia, generating approximately 67% of all renewable energy in the mainland National Electricity Market (as of 2022). 

But, on the driest continent on Earth, the story of The Snowy Hydro Scheme is ultimately one about humans re-shaping the environment to solve one of our most basic needs – that of water preservation. A post-WW2 nation needed the vital resources in order to grow and to survive. But because the Scheme is situated within the pristine Kosciuszko National Park, such influence upon the environment couldn’t come without impact – river flows were greatly reduced, and natural habitats, sacred lands, and townships were affected by the flooding of valleys for the creation of reservoirs. Therefore, this photographic series is primarily an exploration of the balance between nature and our intervention upon it – the vast structures amongst epic landscapes, the re-shaped waterways, and newly created ones  But The Snowy Hydro Scheme is also a framework for the exploration of various aspects of life in the Snowy Mountains region. I have documented popular recreational activities like snow-sports in winter and walking, boating, camping, and fishing in the warmer months - all made possible by the Scheme's creation. I've explored the local towns and villages. And I've connected with the local residents, tourists, and also people who were involved in The Scheme's creation.

Ongoing since 2016, I have photographed the infrastructure, landscapes, people and recreational activities through changing seasons, extreme local weather events, and record drought and flood conditions. It’s my hope I have given the Snowy Hydro Scheme and the wider region a new visual perspective that adds to its rich history and national importance - a contemporary document of a landscape that changed in order for a nation to change.

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I acknowledge the Ngarigo and Walgal people, Traditional Custodians of the land on which these photographs were taken. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present, and future. 

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