The Snowy Monaro region has a dynamic and unique story.
The region has been home to Aboriginal communities for tens of thousands of years. Over time, a number of Aboriginal groups have been identified as having ancestral connections to the region. These groups include the Bidhawal people in the south eastern parts of the region around Delegate, the Walgalu people in the west of the region, and the southern Ngunnawal people in the far north east of the region. The majority of the now Snowy Monaro region is Ngarigo Country which is home to its people and their stories. The region’s Indigenous history is an important part of our anthropology, both in the past and into the future. Ngarigo culture continues to be shared and celebrated, both on Country and by people living outside the region.
European colonisation began in the region in the 1830s, following exploration by Captain J. M. Currie. By the late 1800s, towns and settlements had established in Michelago, Bredbo, Cooma, Jerangle, Numeralla, Nimmitabel, Old Adaminaby, Berridale, Old Jindabyne, Dalgety, Ando, Bombala, Cathcart, Delegate, and Bibbenluke.
The town of Cooma was first surveyed in 1849. A discovery of gold in the 1860’s at Kiandra, and the introduction of snow sports in 1861 resulted in a permanent increase in Cooma’s population. Furthermore the railway opened in 1889 and by 1900 the town was booming and prosperous.
The design and construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme beginning in 1949, left a lasting imprint on the geography and social fabric of the region. Construction of the Scheme brought an estimated 100,000 migrant workers from over 30 nationalities together in what is now recognised as the birth of multiculturalism in Australia. Cooma’s population approximately quadrupled between the 1940’s and 1960’s as hundreds of new homes were built to accommodate workers and support staff associated with the Scheme.
Discover the fascinating story of the Snowy Scheme at the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre. Or ‘Go to Gaol’ at the NSW Corrective Services Museum. Be captivated by unique views and vistas on a country drive. Savour the delights of our coffee shops & restaurants and definitely don’t leave without sampling our very own locally roasted ‘Snowy Mountains Coffee‘ or ‘Snowy Mountain Estate‘ Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
We welcome you to wander, explore, discover and enjoy all that our Snowy Monaro region has to offer.