This is a 1949 photograph showing the Governor-General, Sir William McKell (1891–1985), officially starting the construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme by pressing a plunger to set off a charge of dynamite. To the left of the Governor-General is the Prime Minister of the day, Ben Chifley (1885–1951), and to the right (partially obscured) is the first Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Authority, Sir William Hudson (1896–1978). The ceremony is taking place on a special platform constructed beside the Eucumbene River, near Adaminaby in the Snowy Mountains. Flags are strung overhead and a few members of the public are visible in the background. On the table in front of the Governor-General is a plaque presented to him by the Prime Minister as a memento of the occasion.
- shows the Governor-General symbolically beginning work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme by exploding the first charge of dynamite – this massive scheme diverted water from the eastern slopes of the Snowy Mountains in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales through pipes and tunnels into a series of dams, for use in power generation and for irrigation in the Murrumbidgee and Murray valleys.
- shows Prime Minister Ben Chifley, who was a major supporter of the scheme and saw it as opening huge possibilities for Australian farming and industry, while providing massive employment opportunities immediately after World War II.
- shows the first Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Authority, Sir William Hudson – Prime Minister Chifley personally chose Hudson to head the construction of the scheme because of his practical approach to engineering and his vision, leadership, and people and project management skills.
- shows the formal fashions of the day – with the men wearing heavy, double-breasted suits; the women in two-piece suits, gloves and hats.
- shows that the main media presence in 1949 was radio, and that the microphones of the day were large and cumbersome.
- reveals that the occasion was considered important by the local people as there are locals in attendance and festive flags overhead – it is possible that at least some of these people came from Adaminaby; many residents of Adaminaby opposed the scheme, as their town and farms were soon to be flooded by Lake Eucumbene as part of the scheme and everyone was to be relocated.