The Gateway to the Snowy Mountains, Cooma once bore the mantle of Australia’s most cosmopolitan town because of the diversity of nationalities represented among the workforce of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority (SMA). Its rich and dramatic history of can be revisited at the SMA Information Centre, where there is a permanent display and relief model of the landscape reshaped during the course of the huge engineering undertaking. The theatrette screens films tracing the history of the project.
Tens of thousands of the men and women who worked for the SMA returned to Cooma in 1999 for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the launch of the hydro-electric scheme.
In earlier times, the first European settlers were attracted to the Monaro grasslands and later still as part of the gold rush.
Today there are many wonderful historic buildings classified by the National Trust in Cooma and the Lambie Town Walk takes visitors down the fascinating heritage trail. And, of course, the town is a staging post for forays north and south into the wild and wonderful Kosciusko National Park and the snowfields. During winter, visitors may need wheel chains for icy roads in the alpine areas which can be hired in Cooma.
Things to do
Lambie Town Walk - self-guided walk past heritage buildings, the Old Gaol, Cooma Hospital and beautiful churches. Brochures available from Visitors Centre
Cooma Railway Station - no longer operates but visitors can take an historic railcar trips- from Cooma to Bunyan on weekends
Centennial Park - the 'Time Walk' with 40 mosaics of the district's history in ceramic tiles, Sharp St.
Southern Cloud Park - with the remains of the Southern Cloud aircraft which crashed in 1931, Sharp St
Snowy Mountains Authority Information Centre - Yulin Avenue, with displays and film about the Snowy Mountains Scheme and a commemoration of the more than 100 people who were killed during its construction
Transylvanian Winery - Monaro Highway for cool climate organic wines
Austrian Teahouse - Heidi's Tea House, Mt Gladstone
Visitors Information Centre - 119 Sharp St, Cooma
In the area
Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument - a bicentennial gift from the Federal Council of Polish Associations to commemorate the discovery of Mt Kosciuszko
Lookouts - Nanny Goat Hill Lookout - with its own nanny goat sculpture, Mt Gladstone Lookout - for views and mountain bike trails
Wadbilliga National Park - including a 3 km walk from the Cascades to Tuross Falls