The History of Jindabyne
The original town of Jindabyne was settled in the 1840’s. It was a picturesque village on the banks of the Snowy River established because of its location as the main river crossing for cattle travelling between the Monaro and Gippsland.
Here the Snowy River flowed through a broad grassy valley, its banks lined with poplars and willows. In 1860 a gold rush at Crackenback brought prosperity to the small settlement and the Jindabyne Hotel was built. After construction of a bridge over the river in 1893 the village thrived and by the 1950’s there were three churches, several stores, the old Jindabyne Hotel, a public school, a post office and even a Mobil petrol station.
In 1959 the 250 residents started preparing for the relocation of their town to allow the filling of Lake Jindabyne, an important part of the great Snowy Scheme. Eight years later the waters started to rise by which time everyone had been moved out of the original village and into modern houses in the new town.
A few houses were relocated to the new site while all other buildings were demolished leaving only the foundation stones and some steps, such as those at the old Roman Catholic Church which appear when the lake drops to a low level. As well as some houses, the headstones in the cemetery, the memorial gates and all recoverable human remains were relocated.
As a symbolic farewell to the old town a pageant was organised on December 19th 1964 and the town’s people ceremoniously crossed the old bridge for the last time and travelled up the hill to their new homes. In 1967 an army demolition team then blew up the bridge with gelignite and many people cried to see the link with pioneering heritage blown to pieces.
In spite of this the move was taken in a positive spirit and most people were happy to have new houses with electricity, sewerage and modern kitchens and bathrooms. Within three years the new town’s population had doubled and land sales surged due to the fledging skiing industry’s demand for accommodation.
Since the relocation and the great growth in the snow industry, Jindabyne is now one of the most popular hubs for the snowfields during winter and offers guests a variety of accommodation, restaurants, nightlife and easy access to the snow.
Jindabyne continues to thrive and is one of the few rural towns in NSW which experiences annual growth. With the outdoors activities becoming more popular every year Jindabyne is now a very popular year round destination.
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