The Snowy Mountains, known informally as "The Snowies", are the highest Australian mountain range and contain the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches 2,228 metres AHD.
The range contains Australia's five highest peaks, all above 2100 metres. They are located in southern New South Wales and are part of the larger Australian Alps and the Great Dividing Range. This is mainland Australia's only true Alpine region with large natural snowfalls every winter. Snow normally falls the most during June, July and Early August. Most of the snow has melted by Late Spring. The Tasmanian highlands are the other Alpine region in Australia.
It is host to the confusingly-named Mountain Plum-pine, a low-lying type of conifer suspected of being the world's oldest living organism. It is one of the centres of the Australian snow industry during the winter months.
In 1840, Edmund Strzelecki ascended Mount Kosciuszko and named it after a Polish patriot.
Part of the mountains known as Main Range contains mainland Australia's five glacial lakes. The largest of these lakes is Blue Lake, one of the headwaters of the Snowy River. The other four glacial lakes are Lake Albina, Lake Cootapatamba, Club Lake and Headley Tarn.
The project began in 1949 employing a hundred thousand men, two-thirds of whom came from thirty other countries during the post-World War II years. Socially this project symbolises a period during which Australia became an ethnic "melting pot" of the twentieth century but which also changed Australia's character and increased its appreciation for a wide range of cultural diversity.
By 1974, of underground tunnels and of aqueducts connected the 16 dams, seven power stations (two underground), and one pumping station. The American Society of Civil Engineers has rated the Snowy Scheme as "a world-class civil engineering project".