The Grand Scheme

Words and images by Chris Round

By September 29, 2021October 19th, 2021The Collective

The Snowy Hydro Scheme is widely regarded as the most ambitious industrial project in Australia’s history. Constructed between 1949 and 1972, the system diverts water from the Snowy, Eucumbene, and Murrumbidgee Rivers westward via a series of tunnels, aqueducts, and reservoirs, through the Great Dividing Range for use in irrigation throughout inland Australia. In the process, the water is used by power stations to create hydroelectricity. It’s often referred to as an engineering wonder of the world.

But, on the driest continent on Earth, the story of The Scheme is ultimately one about humans re-shaping the environment to solve one of our most basic needs – that of water preservation. A post-WW2 nation needed vital resources in order to grow and to survive.

Because the Scheme is situated within the pristine Kosciusko National Park, this photographic series is primarily an exploration of the balance between nature and man’s intervention upon it – the vast structures amongst epic landscapes, the re-shaped waterways, and the newly created ones. But The Scheme is also a framework for the exploration of various aspects of life in the region – recreational activities like skiing in winter and walking, boating and fishing in the warmer months; the local towns and residents; and also, people directly connected to The Scheme.

Ongoing since 2016, this series aims to present a contemporary document of a landscape that changed in order for a nation to change.

Chris Round

Chris Round

Chris Round is a photographer based in Sydney. He studied at both Canterbury College of Art and the School of Communication Arts in the UK, and also Sydney College of Art in Australia. Chris has also had a successful career in advertising, winning many international accolades including a coveted Grand Prix at Cannes. From documenting landscapes featuring direct human interventions to exploring ideas of place, Chris’s work primarily investigates our ever-changing relationship with the 21st Century environment. Within these themes he looks for scenes that visually activate their surroundings in strangely compelling ways, fortuitously photogenic environments that he carefully documents rather than photographically exaggerates. Chris’ work has been awarded both locally and internationally highlights include: Shortlisted, World Photo Awards and Winner Australia National Award; Grand Prize winner, PDN Exposure Award; Prize Winner & multiple Finalists, HeadOn Landscape Prize; Exhibitor, Royal Photographic Society IPE prize; multiple Prize Winner, Kodak Salon, CCP Melbourne; Selected Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Prize; Prize Winner & multiple Finalists Perth Centre for Photography CLIP award; FotoFilmic Shortlist & exhibitor; Moran Prize Semi-finalist. His work resides in the Parliament NSW Collection, Macquarie Group Collection, and private collections in Australia, USA, Italy and UK.