JINDABYNE - SOME HISTORY
Welcome to Jindabyne. Jindabyne is a new town
created after the original settlement was drowned by the Snowy
Mountains Hydro-electricity Authority in the late 1960s.
Nestled at the end of Lake Jindabyne (which was
completed in 1967 and has a capacity of 689 790 ML) modern day
Jindabyne owes its
continuing existence to its proximity to the major ski resorts
Thredbo and Perisher Blue in the Snowy Mountains and the superb
facilities it offers to trout
fishermen. Located 61 km from Cooma and 462 km from Sydney it is
991 metres above sea level. It lies below the snowline but is close
enough to the Perisher-Blue Cow ski runs to be an ideal accommodation
spot for people not wanting to stay in the chalets on the snowfields.
Modern day Jindabyne has a number of original and interesting
new churches including the unusually named St Columbkillies Catholic
Parish Church and the Uniting Church both of which are perched
on the hill overlooking the town and the lake.
The Bicentennial Statue of Paul Strzelecki on the foreshore of
Beside Lake Jindabyne (and easily seen from the road) the Australian
Polish community have built a huge statue of Count Paul Strzelecki
who explored the wilderness of the Snowy Mountains and named Australia's
highest mountain. The plaque on the statue reads:
'Sir Paul Edmund Strzelecki. Born in Poland on 20 July 1797. Arrived
in Australia on 25 April 1839. From 1839 to 1843 he explored and
surveyed vast areas of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
While exploring in the Snowy Mountains region he discovered and
climbed Mt Kosciuszko which he named in honour of the Polish leader
and patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko. He discovered gold and silver in
New South Wales, coal deposits in Tasmania, investigated the possibilities
of irrigation, measured the heights of mountains, carried out soil
analysis and collected and identified many fossils and minerals.
Geology, meteorology, zoology and mineralogy.'
But Strzelecki was hardly the first explorer or settler in the
area. Jindabyne is associated with the earliest settlers in the
Snowy Mountains - the Ryries and the Pendergasts. It is thought
that the Pendergast brothers, sons of an ex-convict, arrived in
the area as early as the 1820s and certainly by the late 1830s
both the Pendergasts and the Ryries had runs and were raising sheep
and growing a little wheat. The Ryries actually built a flour mill
in the area in 1847.
The goldrush in 1859-60 gave the area a brief boost which resulted
in the establishment of a general store and a post office (1862)
and in 1882 a school was opened at Jindabyne with a Police Station
being constructed the following year. The decision to release Rainbow
trout into the Snowy River in 1894 was the beginning of a fishing
tradition which continues today.
The tiny settlement of East Jindabyne has grown up on the far
side of the dam and is located directly above the site of the old
township. In fact some of the roads in East Jindabyne still disappear
into the lake to continue as underwater roads in Old Jindabyne.
The departure of Old Jindabyne under the waters of the Snowy River
inspired the poet Douglas Stewart to write 'Farewell to Jindabyne'
with the doggerel:
Let us lament for Jindabyne, it is going to be drowned,
Let us shed tears, as many as the occasion warrants;
The Snowy, the Thredbo and the Eucumbene engulf it,
Combining their copious torrents.