Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority employment records

The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme began in New South Wales on 17 October 1949, and was an extraordinary engineering and construction accomplishment, taking 25 years to complete.

As the Australian population in 1949 was only 8 million people, migrants were needed to fill the demand for engineers, technicians and tradespeople. People came from all over the world looking for employment and a new life following World War II. Of the 100,000 people who worked on the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme between 1949 and 1974, more than 65 per cent were migrants from over 30 countries.

Most of the workers were men, having left wives and children back home to come to work on the Snowy. Many workers were employed by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, and a number of employment cards and files are held in the National Archives’ collection. The majority of these records have not yet been listed on our collection database, RecordSearch. Anyone interested in obtaining employment records of Snowy workers should contact our Reference Service. 

Item title Date range Series number
Employee history cards 1949–91 A11395
Personal history files 1949–98 A11394

In addition to those employed by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, some people were contractors employed by companies such as Utah, Theiss Brothers, Selmer Engineering and American firm Kaiser-Walsh-Perini-Raymond (Kaiser). We do not hold the employment records of these contractors.