Snow is probably the most unreliably documented weather phenomenon. On 19 August 1996 there were widespread light falls throughout the ranges of NSW. Reports of up to 20 cms were received from the Barrington Tops. Hunter Springs had 15 cm on the ground at 9am on the morning of 20 August 1996. Light falls extended to Stanthorpe, on the Granite Belt of southern Queensland. Although this fall was the most widespread for a few years, it no way matched some of the events in the past.
Major Snow Event 1: 28 June 1836
The earliest reported snowfall and the only significant fall in Sydney's history occurred on the morning of 28 June in 1836. According to the report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the city experienced freezing weather "of a type never before occurring in the colony." At 6am the temperature was 32 degrees F (O degrees C) and light snow continued to fall until mid morning with little change in the tempertaure. By mid morning, the hills down to the shores of the harbour were white and the SMH report went on to say that "the terrified state of the natives indicated the rare nature of such a visitation." An examination of the records indicate that this was the only real snowfall in the city's history although press reports indicated that snow fell again on 2nd and 5th July 1836 - it must have been a very unusual week.< /h4>
Major Snow Event 2: 5 July 1900
Perhaps the single most exceptional snowfall in the state's history dumped up to 1 metre of snow on the central west of NSW at the turn of the century. The snowstorm of 5 July was described by the Government meteorologist at the time, Mr H.C. Russell as "a phenomenal snowstorm, in some instances the experience unprecedented, in which all the higher parts from the northern to the southern boundary of the state participated. Railway traffic became paralysed, passengers being shut up in their carriages, unable to reach hotels, by snow in places up to 8 feet (2.5 metres) deep on the rails. Telegraph wires were down everywhere... Bathurst had the unique experience - all business was suspended, roofs, verandahs and lightly constructed buildings collapsed under the weight of snow." Some depths of snow reported at the time would cause amazement today. Forbes had 25 cms on the ground, Parkes 10 cm and Mudgee 55cms. Blayney had 68 cms, Carcoar 90 cms, Bathurst 70 cms and Rockley 80 cms, while Orange, despite it higher altitude, escaped with just 45 cms - still more than they have ever recorded since.
Other Significant Snowfalls in NSW
Other "snowy days" in NSW have been 18 July 1949, 27 August 1949, 26 June 1959, 22 October 1959, 19 July 1960, 26 September 1960, 21 August 1962, 18 July 1965, 17 August 1970, 1 September 1970,19 July 1982, 4 July 1984.... and watch this page for more details on these events.