On the 28th of May 2013, a group of 40 excited boys boarded a bus that would take them on the trip of a lifetime to explore and discover one of Australia’s most beautiful features, the Kosciuszko National Park and the Snowy Mountain Range. This is a portfolio highlighted the different things that we have learnt from this experience and the things that we will take away from it.
History of the People, Place and the Literature
Every summer for thousands of years, Aboriginal tribes would leave and cross their tribal boundaries, travel hundreds of kilometres and meet on the highest peaks of the mountains. They came from as far as the coasts of Victoria and South Australia to meet in the alpine region, performing celebratory intertribal corroborees, celebrating marriages, settling intertribal disputes and trading with each other. When it got cold again in the winter, the people would disperse, going back to their traditional areas.
The Australian Alps were home to Aboriginal people way before the 1800’s when European settlers discovered the area and laid claim to it. For thousands of years beforehand, the Aboriginal people passed through the Alps and made no obvious environmental impacts to the area. But, when European graziers arrived to the fertile soil in the Alps, they started to graze cattle and put up fences, destroying the natural flora and fauna. When gold was discovered in the Alps, it saw a surge in population that had long term environmental impacts to the area, such as the destruction of sphagnum moss that the corroboree frog uses as its habitat. Only until 20 years ago was cattle grazing banned in the Kosciuszko National Park by the NSW Government.
Many pieces of literature and poems have been written about the Snowy Mountain Range and the areas around it such as Jindabyne. For example, Banjo Paterson's 'Man from Snowy River' is a famous piece of Australian literature that outlines the beauty and the serenity of the natural environment. Another poem by Banjo Paterson called 'Brumby's Run’ is set in the area around the Snowy Mountain Range. Sydney Jephcott was an Australian who lived in the Snowy Mountains and he wrote a poem called 'Thredbo River'. Thredbo River is close to Jindabyne and Mt. Kosciusko and it is the river that Thredbo Village relies on.
Flora and Fauna
During the summer, colourful flowers wild flowers carpet the area while in the winter there is a landscape blanketed by snow. Most plants are long lived perennials and these are able to winter-over under the snow. The most obvious plants during winter are the native Snow Gums. Their low, broad branches are able to bend under the weight of winter snow. The wildflowers in summer produce a tapestry of colour in white, yellow, purple and orange. Groups of enthusiasts introduced brown and rainbow trout to the fast flowing streams of the Snowies in the late 19th century. Since then this fish has prospered, especially in the dams which attract thousands of anglers each year. The Mountain Galaxia is a native fish which averages only about 13cm in length, and survives in the smaller streams above the treeline through its ability to jump out of the water and clamber up steep rocks and waterfalls. The native Corroboree frog lives in the wet and spongy sphagnum moss, which is under threat because of local hikers and limited amounts of water.
The Frog and the Lyrebird is an Aboriginal Dreamtime story from the region around the Snowy Mountains. Indigenous people believe in two forms of time; two parallel streams of activity. One is the daily objective activity, the other is an infinite spiritual cycle called the "dreamtime", more real than reality itself. Whatever happens in the dreamtime establishes the values, symbols, and laws of Aboriginal society. It was believed that some people of unusual spiritual powers had contact with the dreamtime.
The Snowy Mountains doesn’t have one specific group of indigenous