At the heart of the Snowy Mountains lies one of Australia’s highest towns. Adaminaby has a resident population of around 200, although its reputation as a haven for trout fishermen and lovers of winter sports means this pretty little town swells with tourists at any time of the year. It even has one of Australia’s famed “big things”.
But this is not the original town of Adaminaby. In 1957 when Lake Eucumbene, nine times the capacity of Sydney Harbour, was created as part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric scheme old Adaminaby lay in its way. More than a hundred buildings were moved nine kilometres to a new site while the rest were flooded as the lake filled the valley.
Lake Eucumbene is the largest dam in the Snowy Mountains but when drought strikes and water levels drop the old town of Adaminaby begins to reveal itself again.
At first glance the waterline looks like any other, strewn with water-worn pebbles. On closer inspection it’s not just stones which line the shore but evidence of the people who once lived here.
Rusty nails and bolts, shards of china and fragments of glass are washed up on the edge of the lake. In some places these remnants have been gathered up and laid out as if in remembrance of the old town and its inhabitants.
Everything is protected so treasure hunters will be disappointed. But the rest of us can look at these tiny gems from the past and imagine the town that was once here.