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Snowy Hydro – The Snowy Mountains Scheme (1952)


Completed somewhere around 1952, the film celebrates the achievements of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, now three years into its endeavour.

Curator’s notes

This film was not produced by the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electricity Authority (SMHEA) film unit, but by Kingcroft Productions for MGM, with the co-operation of the SMHEA – before the film unit had been established. Kingcroft was co-founded in 1946 by John Kingsford-Smith, nephew of Charles, and it continued as a prolific documentary production company for many years. While most of the film unit productions were made for public relations purposes, screened routinely to journalists, tourists and other visitors to the Snowy Mountains Scheme, this film was produced as part of the Advance Australia Series.

Interesting as a very early document on the scheme, it’s an unabashed celebration of the entire endeavour, depicting it as a model of postwar reconstruction. After the immense destruction of the Second World War, this was a scheme of creation and renewal. Armed with new engineering technology, 'man’ was no longer at the mercy of the natural environment. He could at last secure his own future. What’s more, the scheme was a truly modernist venture, utilising skills and labour from many parts of the new peaceful world. The tone of the film is best exemplified by the finale narration: 'This scheme is no makeshift expedient to patch up a national lack of power. It is a long range plan, yielding results from 1954 onwards for the security of our nation.’