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- DescriptionThe Swy Mountains Scheme changed Australia forever. A country founded on stolid British stock almost overnight became one of the world's great pancultures. Tens of thousands of workers from more than 30 lands poured into what was the undisturbed pastoral realm of the high country stockman, the southern Outback. As they drilled and tunnelled into the mountains their energy and skills gave the country a mighty push into the vanguard of the twentieth century. The vibrant interaction of their many diverse cultures and the scale of the project in terms of techlogy made the Scheme an engineering wonder. In 1967 and again in 1997 the American Society of Civil Engineers ranked the Scheme as one of the great engineering achievements of the twentieth century. Most of the people who built the Swy Scheme came from war-torn Europe and many had been recent and bitter enemies. But by and large they left their hatreds behind in their determination to grasp this opportunity of a second chance. Dispossessed by war, they worked with great energy and entrepreneurial drive to better themselves and their new homeland. The building of the Swy Mountains Scheme put Australia at the forefront of world construction techlogy; an incredible feat for a young country with an ecomy then based primarily on agriculture. If ever there was a national monument from which a people could draw pride and confidence it is the Swy Scheme. It has been admired the world over for its political vision, its social achievements and its engineering excellence - yet recent generations of Australians have grown up barely conscious of its existence. Perhaps this is because it has operated faultlessly and without fanfare for more than half a century and perhaps also because its most extraordinary features are hidden beneath the mountains - out of sight of the thousands of people who annually flock along its access roads to ski slopes. The Swy Scheme was the product of people with vision, from a time when people had the courage to dream and build on those dreams. The imagination and strength of Prime Minister Ben Chifley, his Minister for Works, Nelson Lemmon and Sir William Hudson, the engineer, gave wings to a vision that emerged in the nineteenth century and which is w projecting into the twenty-first century. As humanity faces an uncertain future from global warming through the Greenhouse consequences of burning fossil fuels, hydro-electricity remains one of the cleanest renewable sources of power. In the first decade of the 21st Century the Swy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme was offsetting an estimated five million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year and was crucial to Australia's initial efforts to meet its international obligations on greenhouse reductions. The Swy Scheme's two main elements, one based on rivers feeding the Murrumbidgee River and the other based on those feeding the Murray River, involved the blasting of 12 tunnels through the mountains, the building of 16 dams and seven power stations - two of them deep underground. Today almost thing remains of the settlements where men and women lived, worked, dreamed and died, and built t just dams and installations, but the foundations of a new nation. Their homes and workplaces have been returned to the bush. But there remains a powerful human legacy. The Swy was unique in bringing together people of every creed and culture and calling them all, Australian. The lesson of the Swy is that when the dispossessed are given the chance to rebuild their lives, they enrich and advance their host society. The construction of the Swy Scheme changed Australia from a country that was agricultural and British to a country that was industrial and multicultural. That legacy lives on as the Scheme continues to provide a historical, techlogical, and intellectual measure of Australia's progress as a nation. In the last decade of the twentieth century the Swy Scheme went through a painful cul
- Author BiographyBrad Collis is one of Australias most credible historical writers. In addition to the enduringly popular SNOWY history, he is also the author of the acclaimed history of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation -- Fields of Discovery, launched in 2002 by the Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who noted at the time that Collis had mastered, compellingly, the history of the two most dominant influences of Australias development as a modern nation; the Snowy Scheme and the CSIRO.
- Author(s)Brad Collis
- Date of Publication05/04/2015
- SubjectEngineering & Technology: Textbooks & Study Guides
- Place of PublicationMelbourne
- Country of PublicationAustralia
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