A few years back I went on a road trip between Melbourne and Sydney, and took a detour via the Great Divide to check out the Snowy Mountains Scheme, where I toured the Murray 1 power station. So what is there to see?
Massive pressure pipelines carry water down the hill to the power station.
Inside the water hits the turbines, which spin around and generate electricity.
Which is then stepped up in voltage by transformers outside the turbine house.
And then sent to consumers by high voltage transmission lines that cross the steep hillsides.
Tours of the Murray 1 power station are free – more details at the Snowy Hydro website:
Murray 1 Power Station is the second largest power station in the Snowy Mountains Scheme. There are 10 turbines at Murray 1, each capable of producing enough electricity to supply over 95,000 houses.
Next to the power station is the Murray 1 Visitors Centre. This centre offers an exciting interactive experience with a wide range of displays, “hands on” models and exhibits.
There are BBQ and picnic areas by the water that are open to the public. Light refreshments are available in the Cafe.
All power stations in the Snowy Mountains Scheme are working power stations. There are special requirements for visitors who participate in Murray 1 Power Station inspections. These requirements are in the interests of your safety and security of our facilities. These include:
- Covered footwear must be worn (i.e thongs etc are not permitted in power stations).
- Cameras are not permitted.
- No backpacks or large bags are to be taken into power stations.
- We reserve the right to inspect any hand luggage carried on a tour.
The “no cameras” line must be a new rule, since I was snapping away when I visited.
On the VirtualTourist website I found what looks like an old copy of the Snowy Hydro website, as it mentions tour options that no longer exist.
- Murray 1 Power Station near Khancoban
- Tumut 3 Power Station near Talbingo
- Tumut 2 Power Station near Cabramurra
There is free access to the visitor’s gallery at Murray Group Control Centre near Khancoban, Guthega Power Station and Jindabyne Pumping Station daily between 8.30am and 4.00pm.
Inspections of the Guthega Power Station and Jindabyne Pumping Station may be arranged by contacting the authority’s information centre in Cooma.
Access at all times to viewing points and toilet facilities situated at various power stations, dams and other points of interest.
It is a pity those options no longer exist – Tumut 3 power station dwarfs that at Murray 1.
And Tumut 2 power station is located deep underground, with the tour taking visitors into the cavern that houses the turbines.
The lack of tours makes the visitors centre there rather redundant.
With privatisation of Snowy Hydro an on-again off-again possibility, presumably running public tours of power stations is no longer their top priority.