The Snowy Mountains Short History
The Snowy Mountains region is thought to have had Aboriginal occupation for some twenty thousand years, though harsh winter weather made habitation of the snow country impossible. Large-scale inter-tribal gatherings were held in the High Country during summer for collective feasting on the Bogong moth. This practice continued until around 1865.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1835, and in 1840, Edmund Strzelecki ascended Mount Kosciuszko and named it after a Polish patriot. High-country stock men followed, using the Snowy Mountains for grazing during the summer months. Banjo Paterson’s famous poem The Man From Snowy River recalls this era. The cattle graziers have left a legacy of mountain huts scattered across the area. Today these huts are maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service or volunteer organizations like the Kosciuszko Huts Association. In the 19th century, gold was mined on the high plains near Kiandra. At its height, this community had a population of about 4,000 people, and ran 14 hotels. It was here that Skiing in Australia commenced around 1861. Since the last resident left in 1974, Kiandra has become a ghost town of ruins and abandoned diggings. In the 20th century, the focus of Skiing in New South Wales shifted south closer to the Kosciuszko Main Range.
The Kosciuszko National Park came into existence as the National Chase Snowy Mountains on 5 December 1906. In April 1944, following the passage of the Kosciusko State Park Act, the Kosciuszko State Park was proclaimed. It then became the Kosciuszko National Park in 1967.The name was miss spelled as Kosciusko until 1997.
The construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme between 1949-1974 saw much of the area explored, brought improvements to roads and resulted in the construction of several dams and tunnels across the Park in one of the world’s largest engineering achievements.