With the Winter Olympics in full swing, skiing is in the news. Is that why the Powerhouse has a pair of ski stocks in a foyer showcase?
Well, no. They are on temporary display to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Snowy Mountains Scheme. And yes, sunny Australia does receive snow in a few locations.
It snows in Tasmania, our island state, and in some high parts of the mainland. Tasmania is largely powered by hydro-electricity, courtesy of its reliable rain and snowfall.
The Snowy Mountains Scheme, centred on Cooma in southern NSW, was established with the twin aims of supplying irrigation water and hydro power. Turning the waters of the Snowy River inland in order to do this began in earnest in October 1949.
The Powerhouse borrowed the stocks along with a pair of skis to display in an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Scheme. They had been used by Norwegian-born Hans Berents, an engineer who worked on the Scheme, and helped us portray an important aspect of both working life and leisure. In 2005, the objects were donated by Peter Berents, son of Hans, and so were available for our modest 60th anniversary display.