Skip to main content

Drought buoys town

In the midst of Australia's drought, many small towns were frightened of disappearing completely. Only one re-appeared.

Falling water levels in Lake Eucumbene saw the shores of the man-made lake revealed ghosts of its past. Old forests poked their way out of the water (below) and local fisherfolk hooked rusted pieces of machinery as often as the celebrated trout.
The small town of Adaminaby was moved to make way for the Snowy Mountains Scheme. In 1957 most of the towns 100 buildings were picked up and plonked roughly 50km from whre they were originally built. Along with Jindabyne and Talbingo, the tiny township would be flooded to make way for the hydro-electric scheme that still supplies power to NSW and neighbouring states.

The towns re-emegence has seen new tourists going out to sift through the ruins buried in the long grass along the water's edge. The foundations of St Mary's Church have returned spooky some superstitious folk who think it's more than a coincidence that the house of worship is "trying to tell us something" especially as the relocated church in new Adaminaby was burnt down only a month earlier. Locating other buldings is literally needles of farm machinery in the haystack tangle of surrounding grasslands, but there are other foundations to seek out if you're interested in keeping up with the Indiana Joneses. Recent rains may even have swallowed the they call Old Adaminaby, but the site is well signposted.

It's more than 50 years since the move and most townspeople have grown used to their new town. There's a small museum that observes the move in the new town's main street which includesit's fair share of propaganda about the hydroelectricity's clean green benefits. The ghosts of the old town migh not be so enthusiastic.

The new town is best known for the Big Trout, a fibreglass whopper that leaps from drained-dry pool and is a compulsory photo pose for passing tourists.