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Built on the wave of a goldrush in 1860, the town of Kiandra was once home to thousands of people and survived for 100 years.

Although gold was the reason Kiandra arose, the town became best known as the birthplace of Australian skiing.

Kiandra lies 85kms north-west of Cooma on the scenic Snowy Mountains Highway. Gold was discovered in a creekbed in 1859, and soon 15 hotels and 30 stores stood ready for the rush, which lived up to all expectations. A 9kg nugget was extracted from ancient river deposits under the basalt cap of what became known as New Chum Hill.

"Although gold was the reason Kiandra arose, the town became best known as the birthplace of Australian skiing."

Although skiing began as a pastime in Kiandra, it soon became an important skill for the townspeople as they came to terms with living in an area that was often isolated by deep snow.

By 1861 the main rush was over and the population dropped to around 200 miners. In the years that followed, the efforts of large gold companies returned only small amounts. By 1937 gold-mining operations had ceased.

The area is rich in pioneer history, with relics such as the water races built by the miners and the old cemetery. Heritage walks take you past some of the significant sites in their wilderness setting.

Visit the Kiandra Historical Society website to find more detail on the history of skiing, mining, grazing, archeology, fishing and families in Kiandra.

Image courtesy of Destination NSW.

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