John, Mary & Peter Hutchinson
WELCOME TO VIRTUAL YALLOURN - journey back with us to the old township of Yallourn in Latrobe Valley, Victoria – a unique town built between the 1920s and 1950s by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) to house their workers and then dug up by the same SECV for the coal beneath in the 1980s. This is the only way we can revisit our town with our children and grandchildren.
See the many photos and house plans, navigate around our 3D Town, read information, memories and stories. Most of all, play a part in it with us by adding your own photos and memories and help us name the various people in existing photos - for everyone to share. (To contribute, contact email@example.com to set up an account.)
Ex-residents, please also take the time to add your family to the map (HERE).
For more information, visit YALLOURN ASSOCIATION at http://www.yallourn.org and please 'Like' our Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/yallournassociation.
Special thanks to the support given by Latrobe City and Public Records Office Victoria in preserving the history of Yallourn for all to share.
MOST RECENT ENTRIES:
John, Mary & Peter Hutchinson
Readers of the Virtual Yallourn website will be deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Yallourn resident and identity Peter Hutchinson.
Peter passed away on 17th September 2016.
In an article regarding John Hutchinson and his family on this website in April 2013…the following comments were recorded regarding Peter …
“…Peter, matriculated at YHS and, like John, was a Prefect and also the House Captain of Mawson. Peter is one of the most celebrated footballers to have ever played in the VAFA. Peter played 363 games with Power House FC. He captained the team for six years and won seven club Best & Fairest awards. Peter is a Life Member of the VAFA and was recently named a "VAFA Legend”. Peter also coached Camberwell Grammar Old Boys in the VAFA.”
Everyone at the Virtual Yallourn community extends their deepest condolences to John, Mary and Peter’s family.
Those readers who knew Peter are warmly invited to forward memories or tributes to post on the Virtual Yallourn website.
The photograph is John (left), Mary and Peter Hutchinson
A MIGHTY WIN FOR YALLOURN
In 1932, Yallourn was a special prize winner in the ‘Sun’ newspaper’s ‘Ideal Town’ competition. The results of the quest gained wide coverage in various country newspapers; and there was a great deal of prestige associated with the towns that featured in the awards.
For many country towns of Victoria, the competition was seen as important; and despite the hardship caused by the economic downturn of those times, the various campaigns conducted by rural communities, were successful in creating collective action and civic pride.
The ‘vision splendid’ of Sir John Monash of Yallourn to be developed as a model garden-town with well-maintained dwellings for workers , tree-lined streets, spacious parks, recreation reserves, children’s playgrounds and attractive home gardens had been realised by that time.
The results of the collective hard work (of the SECV, the town’s various clubs and organisations and the residents) in transforming a bush settlement into a town of such unique character would have had an immediate and powerful impact on the judges of the competition.
12TH FEBRUARY 1932 MORWELL ADVERTISER PAGE: 3
IDEAL TOWN QUEST
PRESENTATION OF PRIZE
The date of the visit of the Sun Newspaper Officials and Colonel Merritt, Chairman of the Judging Committee, for the presentation of the special prize of £200 awarded to Yallourn in the recently held Ideal Town Quest, has been fixed for Thursday evening, 30th February.
The party, which will include Messrs MacPherson, Manager of the Sun Newspaper Company, and D. Bayley, Organiser of the ‘Quest,’ will be the guests of the Commission, at dinner at the Yallourn Hotel, and at 8 p.m. will make the official presentation at the Band Rotunda.
Mr J. M. Bridge, General Superintendent will receive the prize on behalf of Yallourn.
1. Considering that the first electrical generator went on line at the Yallourn Power Station on June 15th in 1924, the development of the township, to the point of winning state-wide recognition as an ideal town, less than eight years later, was astounding.
2. The ‘Ideal Town’ competition involved people collecting and forwarding ‘Sun’ coupons to the newspaper’s head office. The residents of Yallourn were active in collecting coupons and they embraced the campaign with enthusiasm.
3. Each coupon was worth one vote; and the SECV entered into the spirit of the campaign and donated 1000 newspapers (i.e. coupons). It is fair to say that the SECV took more than a passing interest in the competition and as Meredith Fletcher wrote…
“Acting General Superintendent Dixon sent a letter to each household reminding residents not to overlook things such as weeds behind fences…” ‘Digging People Up for Coal.’ Page : 90
4. The win in the quest was a ‘feather in the cap’ for the SECV because the ‘Yallourn Scheme’ was not without some vehement critics in those early days…
“ It was freely asserted that the undertaking was a white elephant, that it had been extravagant and vastly exceeded the original estimates of cost, and that huge losses would be made. All that criticism did harm. It tended to take away public support from the undertaking.” ‘The Age’ December 21st 1925.
5. It is well documented that the people of Yallourn were conscientious in their efforts to ‘spruce up’ the town and considerable time was set aside in making the town ‘ship-shape and Bristol fashion’ for inspection by the judges.
6. The committee, the SECV and the townsfolk were well prepared for the judges’ tour of inspection of Yallourn; and from the positive comments, made by the panel, there is little doubt that the judges were highly impressed with the township.
7. Nineteen towns entered the ‘Sun’ quest and each was inspected by the panel of judges from the ‘Sun’ newspaper. The prize winners in the competition were:- 1st: Beechworth. 2nd: Frankston and 3rd: Swan Hill.
8. Because Yallourn was deemed a ‘planned or government town’ it was placed into a special category by the judges. The ‘Sun’ adjudication panel, led by Colonel Merritt, was glowing in its comments about Yallourn. One panel member, a well-known artist named Harold Herbert, remarked…
“ …set in an extremely dark and dingy part of Gippsland…Yallourn sparkles with colour…Never were trees and gardens so well provided for or so well planned to achieve colour effects.” ‘The Live Wire’ November 19th 1931.
9. According to other country newspaper reports, towns that impressed the judges across the various divisions of the quest, included: - Ararat, Bright, Yackandandah, Geelong, Sorrento, Kyneton, Warrnambool and Alexandra. It is known that the judges also travelled to Bairnsdale as part of their tour of inspection.
10. The prize of £200 (pounds) was put to very good use by the people of Yallourn…
“…Yallourn won a special prize in the ‘Sun’ Ideal Town competition and used it to fence sports ovals on what had been the old Melbourne swamp, drained and filled two years earlier.” ‘Brown Power’ by Cecil Edwards Page:121.
11. It appears that the people of Yallourn had ‘quite a say’ in deciding how the prize money should be used…
“…every case, these awards are paid to the local governing body, which in Yallourn, is the State Electricity Commission. The allocation of the money at Yallourn, however will, with the consent and approval of the Commission, be decided by the townspeople themselves.” ‘Morwell Advertiser’ January 15th 1932.
One of the projects considered to be undertaken with prize money was an up-grading of the swimming pool.
12. It was difficult to discover the names of all the members of the Yallourn Ideal Town Committee; but it is known that SECV engineer Ken Murray, who had arrived in Yallourn in 1929, played a major role in the organisation of the campaign to enter (and win) the quest. It appears that Ken was active in community affairs and was member of the Yallourn Self Government Delegates Committee which was formed in June 1944.
13. A point of interest in relation to the competition, as revealed by Meredith Fletcher in her book, was that the judges experienced car trouble on the journey to Yallourn. Although things were thrown awry, the panellists ticked all the required boxes for Yallourn to become a finalist in the quest.
14. Mr J.M. Bridge (mentioned above in the article) was appointed as Engineer-in-Charge of coal winning in the Yallourn project in 1920. He later became the first General Superintendent at Yallourn. In reading the history of Yallourn, Mr Bridge was also a member of various organisations including the Yallourn Bowling Club, Anglican Church and Yallourn Rifle Club. When Mr Bridge stepped down as General Superintendent, Mr R. D. Dixon was promoted to that position in 1934.
15. According to the ‘Alexander and Yea Standard’ newspaper ( December 16th 1927), the winners of the competition in 1927 were:-
• A DIVISION: Bairnsdale, Castlemaine, Warrnambool, Ararat, Sale and Hamilton.
• B DIVISION: Frankston, Beechworth, Nhill, Euroa, Dimboola and Port Fairy.
• C DIVISION: Woodend, Yea, Jeparit, Yackandandah, Berwick and Alexandra.
16. The first homes in Yallourn were constructed in Maiden Street in 1922; and by 1924, it is documented, that more than 120 houses had been built. Obviously, Yallourn was in no shape to enter the inaugural ‘Ideal Town Quest’ in 1927; but in the next five years, a model garden-town took shape and prospered. The township of Yallourn, as envisaged by Sir John Monash, was a master-stroke in planning, design and construction.
17. According to the information on this website…
“ The report on the establishment of the town of Yallourn was drawn up by 15th December, 1921. The architect was A.R. La Gerche, the State Electricity Commission’s own architect. His plan was influenced by those of Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, England. ( June 2012)…
18. As history shows, the town of Yallourn became…
“ …one of the brightest but briefest flowerings of the garden-city movement as interpreted and applied in the Australian countryside .” Extract is taken from: ‘Historic Environment’ Vol:1 No:4 1981’.
This story is part of a history project entitled ‘From the Newspapers’ and a full list of titles in this series can be obtained by contacting Julie George. The research, writing and presentation of this article were completed by Julie George and Roger Spaull for the Virtual Yallourn website in September 2016.
The above extract from the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ has been faithfully reproduced. The only amendments to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing, so as to enhance the story for the purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.
Caption: Footscray Football Team left Melbourne for Yallourn where it will meet St Kilda today. In this parlour coach are:
(front, from left): D. Reynolds, E. Whitten, A. Abbey, B. Smallwood
(Back Row); A. Linton, A. Edwards, F. Aked
SOURCE: 205401904 ‘THE AGE’ SATURDAY 14th JUNE 1952 PAGE : 8
Click on the title above and then click the link below the picture to view the full magazine (pdf format).
Can anyone add any names. Ken Williams is brother of Geoff, who is featured in FROM THE NEWSPAPERS below.
In 1939 Yallourn Blues played Leongatha in the Central Gippsland FL Grand Final at Trafalgar.
In the above photo, Ken Williams is probably the player fourth from the right in the back row. He is standing next to Col Webster. The captain of the team in that CGFL Grand Final was Bert Downes ( formerly of Fish Creek FC).
The final scores were:
Yallourn: 16. 12. 108 defeated Leongatha: 9.9. 63
Goal kickers for Yallourn: Batson 7 Barton 5 Comber 2 Beulke 1 Williams 1
Best players for Yallourn : Webster Downes Piggott Barton Batson Cosgriff Ashmead Edwards.
The field umpire was Jim Cummins and the gate receipts were £120.0.0. The game was broadcasted by 3UL .
1.Yallourn’s star forward that day was George Batson (ex- Warragul) who played 4 games with St Kilda in 1933.
2: In those years, Yallourn FC had two senior teams known as the Blues and the Golds.
1942 - A SOLDIER FROM YALLOURN WINS RECOGNITION
This news report was written during World War:II and tells of a letter which was forwarded to the Chairman of the Apprenticeship Committee of Yallourn regarding Geoff Williams and his outstanding work as a tradesman and soldier.
The letter was written by Captain Bardsley of the Australian Army Field Workshops and was published in the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ on the 22nd January 1942.
The footnotes that accompany this story may assist readers in appreciating the nature of Geoff’s duties and also refer to his family who lived in Yallourn.
January 22nd 1942 MORWELL ADVERTISER Page: 8
YALLOURN SOLDIER'S INITIATIVE
RECOGNISED BY WAR OFFICE
It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce that Lance Corporal Geoff. Williams, son of Mr and Mrs Williams of Yallourn (formerly of Morwell, and brother of Ken, A.I F.) has won recognition for his prowess by inventing an instrumental device in the manufacture of modifications for W.D. vehicles.
These have proved very efficient and have been passed and accepted by the War Office as standard equipment throughout British Forces.
Capt. G. Bardsley of the No. 4 Aust. Recovery Section Aust. Army Field Workshops, in a letter to the chairman of the Apprentice Committee S.E. C. Yallourn, says "The Live Wire," recognised Geoff's fine work generally as a soldier and tradesman.
It is very pleasing to know that Geoff's apprenticeship in Yallourn has stood him in good stead and he is congratulated on his fine effort.
An extract from Capt. 'Bardsley's letter stated –
"I have to advise that this soldier has completed 12 months service with his section as a fitter and turner, during which term his work has been of the highest standard, and he has given every satisfaction. He has shown all the initiative and efficiency attributable to a first class tradesman.
In fact he has been instrumental in the manufacture of modifications for W.D. vehicles, which have proved highly efficient and have been accepted and passed by the War Office and are now standardised throughout the British Forces. The fact that L/Corpl Williams has received promotion in this section and is in line for further promotion also speaks highly of his efficiency both as a tradesman and a soldier." (Sgd.) G. (BARDSLEY (Capt.)
1. According to The World War:II Nominal Roll, Geoff Williams enlisted on the 19th June 1940 and served in the Army until his discharge on the 5th September 1954. Geoff rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and his last posting was given as the 2/121 Brigade Workshop.
2. Military records indicate that Geoff’s brother Ken (mentioned in the above newspaper report) also served in the Army during World War:II. Ken enlisted at Yallourn on the 23rd August 1940 and was discharged in December 1945.
3. A search of the available VFL records shows that it is probably the same ‘Ken Williams’ who played 12 games with Collingwood in 1940. Ken made his debut against Melbourne at the MCG in Round:5 at the MCG. During his VFL career Ken kicked 2 goals. He was 22 years of age when he played his last game for Collingwood. A photograph of ‘K. Williams’ can be found in the Yallourn Blues team (circa 1938-39).
4. Using the information, as provided on the Virtual Yallourn website, the Williams’ family (John Henry and Muriel Zenna) lived at 2 Green Street.
5. It is believed that Captain Gilbert Bardsley, who wrote the above letter, was born in Waterloo (NSW) in 1902 and served in the Army 1939 until October1945. At the date of his discharge, he was Captain at the 2nd Australian Field Workshops.
6. The soldiers of the Recovery Section ( a unit of the Royal Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) were in charge of recovering, towing and repairing broken down motor vehicles and other machinery.
7. According to the AWM the acronym WD stands for…
“… the American acronym for War Department used during the Second World War. This acronym was applied to all manner of objects including American vehicles serving with Commonwealth forces under the lend-lease arrangement.”
The Virtual Yallourn website would like to thank Mike Etzel (Assistant Curator/ Military Heraldry & Technology Section of the Australian War Memorial) and John Hutchinson (former Yallourn resident) for their kind assistance with various aspects of this extract.
This story is part of a history project entitled ‘From the Newspapers’ and a full list of titles in this series can be obtained by contacting Julie George. The research, writing and posting of this article were completed by Julie and Roger Spaull for the Virtual Yallourn website in August 2016
The above report from the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ has been faithfully reproduced. The only amendments to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing, so as to enhance the story for the purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.