While Dalgety is known throughout Australia as a peaceful township situated on the banks of the Snowy River – as well as the only town locally that didn’t require a snorkel after the infamous Snowy Hydro-Electric Scheme floods – it would be interesting to consider what would have happened if it had become Australia’s capital.
When a site was being chosen for Australia’s national capital, Canberra wasn’t the only candidate. The honour almost fell to the town of Dalgety. In 1903 a Federal Royal Commission named Dalgety as the location for Australia’s national capital city. The choice was based on criteria including climate, food supply, land ownership and ability to support major industries, and was formalised in the Seat of Government Act 1904.
In an early demonstration of Sydney-Melbourne rivalry, the decision was immediately opposed by the Parliament of New South Wales which argued that Dalgety was too close to Melbourne and too far from Sydney. A more practical objection was the distance to the main Sydney-Melbourne railway line and the expense involved in constructing a spur to the proposed capital. These objections were resolved with the passage of the Seat of Government Act 1908 which passed over Dalgety in favour of Canberra.
Here are some of the changes that we believe may have eventuated if Dalgety had been given this prestigious title:
VB as the national drink could have changed
As the Dalgety region is renowned for its top quality microbreweries, using home planted hops and the pure water of the Snowy River, if it had become the nation’s capital there’s a good chance that VB as the national drink might have changed, being replaced by boutique beer. While hipsters would have applauded, there would have been many Aussie males turning in their graves at the mere suggestion of this!
Tours of Parliament House would have been replaced by winery tours
If you’ve ever toured Parliament House it’s likely you would have been enticed by the idea of replacing this rather tedious activity with a winery tour. If Dalgety had become the nation’s capital this may have been the result, as there are many fantastic wineries available, such as the Snowy Vineyard Estate.
Sheep tackling could have been the major sporting event
While the nation’s capital of Canberra is known as a host for the Rugby League World Cup, if Dalgety had claimed this title, the major international sporting event may have been changed to sheep tackling.
Llama racing may have become more popular than thoroughbred racing
As Dalgety has a thriving llama population, if it had become the capital, national thoroughbred racing may have become obsolete, to be superseded by llama racing. Which means the “race that stops a nation” would have been far more exciting as the llamas competing would have all been spitting on each other, which to be honest is not a far cry from many professional Australian athletes, all things considered.
The township of Beloka and Beloka Water wouldn’t have existed
If Dalgety had ended up being the nation’s capital then it’s very likely that the township of Beloka would have looked completely different. The local cafe culture wouldn’t be thermos and a biscuit, as it is presently! But if this had occurred then our pure Australian mineral water from Kosciuszko’s National Park would not have been discovered either, which would have been a terrible tragedy.
These are just some of our ideas on what we believe could have changed if Dalgety had become the capital of Australia. Don’t forget to try our sparkling water, which is available in many Australian restaurants and hotels and regarded as superior.