When developing the mythology of Heart of Millyera, I drew inspiration from some of the more unusual stories and events in Australian History. There have been various discoveries of underwater “ghost towns” from around the world, however I based Millyera’s aquatic world was the true tale of Adaminaby.
Adaminaby was established during the Kiandra Gold rush in 1861. The Australian government of the time offered a monetary incentive to encourage settlement in the area, which was nestled in the complex landscape of the Great Dividing Range, and would have been hell to journey to by horse and carriage. Nonetheless, by the early 1900’s the newly settled town had a police station, a court house, a theatre and a church.
Almost ninety years later, the government announced the new Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme; A plan to construct a hydroelectricity dam was part of one of the largest infrastructure development plans in Australia. The dam would require that the mining town of Adaminaby be flooded to make way for Lake Eucumbene.
The plan to flood the township required thorough forethought and planning. New Adaminaby was to be built 7km away. The town was painstakingly re-located, with some buildings being demolished re-built at the new location. In July 2007, Lake Eucumbene dropped to its lowest water levels on record, which resulted in the reemergence of the almost 150-year-old town.
Although the uncovering of Old Adaminaby revealed nothing more than the original foundations and remanence of the early buildings, the story captivated my imagination. The town which Ida, Gil and Celeste visit was flooded mysteriously, and only around forty years after the settlers had finished building their post office, school, police station and church.
Unlike the town of Adaminaby, the story is that there was no forewarning of the flooding. The resulting lake was named Lake Millyera.