WELCOME TO VIRTUAL YALLOURN - winner of Commendation Award Oct 2015 and Oct 2016 (two years in a row) from Royal Historical Society of Victoria - 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 julie@yallourn.org 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. .

  • 32626


    Virtual Yallourn has recently received two well-worn and fragile original copies of a long-forgotten newspaper called ‘The Trafalgar, Yarragon and Yallourn News.’ The papers (published in January 23rd-1936 and March 13th-1936) were forwarded by Muffy Forsyth, a former a resident of Thorpdale and student of Mirboo North High School, in the hope that they may prove of value in researching the history of Yallourn and district.

    While time has ‘taken a severe toll’ on the quality of the print, the papers carry a number of enlightening articles regarding the township of Yallourn during that era, including:
    • Yallourn Cricket Club.
    • Yallourn Returned Soldiers’ League.
    • Yallourn School examination results.
    • Yallourn Rifle Club.
    • Yallourn Golf Club ( the extract is related to the new club house).
    • Tennis at the Brown Coal Mine (i.e. Yallourn North).
    • Sunday Church Services at Yallourn.
    • Various matters related to the Yallourn Football Club.
    • Yallourn Swimming Club.
    • Notes on the Yallourn Junior Branch of the League of Nations Union.
    • Teachers’ Union meeting at Yallourn.
    • Various other small articles regarding the people and organizations of the township.

    The histories of other local newspapers ‘The Morwell Advertiser’ (established 1888), ‘The Live Wire’ (1925), ‘The Electric Spark’ (1926) and the ‘SEC Magazine’ (1936) are well documented; but there appears to be less known about ‘The Trafalgar, Yarragon and Yallourn News.’ The newspaper was established in 1902; and was printed and published by W.G.T. Rolls at the paper’s office in Contingent Street, Trafalgar. The paper went on sale throughout Central Gippsland for the price of threepence.

    The axiom of the paper was ‘First with the Latest’; and the two copies forwarded by the Forsyth family ran to eight pages of broadsheet with limited artwork and illustrations ( including several photographs).

    Note: The newspaper is not to be confused with ‘The Trafalgar and Yarragon Times’ which was established in 1914.

    A special ‘thank you’ to the Forsyth family for taking the time and trouble to send the newspapers to the Virtual Yallourn website. The two editions of ‘The Trafalgar, Yarragon and Yallourn News’ will be beneficial in unearthing further information about the ‘life of the town’ in the 1930’s. In reading the newspapers, from more that eighty years ago, it is apparent that Yallourn was a vibrant and progressive community.

    Note: The name Forsyth of Thorpdale will ‘ring a bell’ with many readers of the Virtual Yallourn website as Tim Forsyth, the eminent Australian high-jumper, was a member of the Yallourn Amateur Athletic Club for several years…
    “Yallourn schoolboy outshines Games medallists…
    MELBOURNE: A 16-year-old schoolboy overshadowed yesterday the winning performances of Commonwealth Games medallists Jane Flemming and David Culbert in the Victorian track and field championships with an historic win in the high jump. Skinny Yallourn youngster Tim Forsyth overcame a rainstorm delay to win the title with a 2.15m leap at Olympic Park. Forsyth is believed to be the youngest man to win the Victorian high jump title.”
    Source: ‘Canberra Times’ Monday 12th March 1990, Page 24.

    Tim’s father, Jim, was a prominent player in Central Gippsland football and also played for Essendon (VFL) and West Torrens (WAFL) in the period 1963-70.

    This note of appreciation to the Forsyth family was written and prepared for the Virtual Yallourn website by Roger Spaull and Julie George in November 2018.

    07/12/2018 - 10:29
  • 32623

    90 YEARS AGO - 1928

    This newspaper item consisted of nothing more than the scores from the 1927-28 Yallourn and District Cricket Association Grand Final between Yallourn and Mirboo North which was played at Moe on the 22nd April 1928.

    Despite Yallourn’s exciting 13-run victory, the scores were tucked away beneath a report related to the sales at the Melbourne Pig Market.

    Unfortunately, there were no other details of the match provided; and, hopefully, the associated footnotes may shed some light on the fledgling Yallourn and District Cricket Association and some of the notable players of that era.
    Note: The batting and bowling gridlines, as seen below, were not part of the original extract and have been added to assist the presentation of the scores on the website.


    07/12/2018 - 10:28
  • 32625

    1954-55 Ken Grant & Dick Sagar selected in the Victorian Country XI vs MCC

    23/11/2018 - 15:41
  • 32624
    23/11/2018 - 15:39
  • 32622


    The caption below the photograph says:
    ‘A load of fodder on the way to the hill camp at Yallourn.’

    Source: ‘Weekly Times’ Saturday 25 December 1926. Page: 38

    15/11/2018 - 10:17
  • 32329

    Senior & Junior Softball
    Back Row: Gail Fairclough, M Locke, M Griffiths, Helen Lawton, J Morris, Miss Grace Catchpole (teacher), Judy Scharinger, G Hulbe, L Mulgrew, Edith Jones
    Front Row: Ann Vincent, S Castleton, S Oliver, Jenny Scott, M Jenkins, B Sewell, Sue Bush, Diane Morrison

    Possibly in the exchange team with Nunawading High School

    15/11/2018 - 10:16
  • 32621

    In 1950, the towns of Yallourn and Yallourn North hit the front page of ‘The Age’ (and other national newspapers) when a massive landslide occurred at the open cut. The landslide not only threatened human life but also had the potential to cause catastrophic damage to homes, livestock, personal property and infrastructure.

    Three bakery horses were lost, local families were forced to evacuate from the disaster area and the huts of mine workers were also imperilled.

    During the calamity, a young girl, Nellie Rowan, was forced to make a dash to safety. Other people mentioned in the press report are: Mr Mills (store owner), Jack Kelso and Arthur Pearson. Arthur was extremely fortunate not be taken in the landfall as the ground slid from under him.

    As is so often the case, front page stories are rarely ‘good news’; and this disaster caused great concern and dislocation for the residents at the Yallourn North settlement.

    The photographs posted with this article were published in the ‘Newcastle Sun’, ‘Daily News’ (Perth) and the ‘Melbourne Herald.’ The story was ‘big news’ throughout Australia and featured prominently in at least a dozen national newspapers.

    JUNE 30 1950 THE AGE PAGE 1

    Huge Land Slide Causes
    Stir at Yallourn
    From Our Special Reporter

    Tens of thousands of tons of brown coal and clay slid 350 feet into the north open cut at Yallourn yesterday morning.
    The area affected forms a small part of the older sections of Yallourn North settlement and is well away from the area now being developed by the Electricity Commission as a permanent township. Operation of the Yallourn North open cut has not been seriously interrupted.
    Eleven families with about 30 children were hurriedly evacuated from shops and dwellings above, the fall. Late last night S.E.C. engineers watched anxiously as new fissures in the cliff face widened ominously.

    The first fall occurred at 8.40 a.m. Another took place at 8.30 p.m., when a huge block of earth shifted half an inch forward. This ground is expected to fall this morning.
    Fifteen-year-old Nellie Rowan was placing a tray of cakes in the window of Meadow’s Bakery when the main fall occurred. She dropped them and dashed from the building. Other residents fled their homes as the earth crashed into the mine.
    Immediate emergency measures were taken to evacuate migrant workers from several huts in the nearby North Yallourn hostel.
    The main crack appeared 70 feet from the edge of the cut and the fall took fencing material also section of Post Office-place, a road along the top of the cliff.
    Fifty S.E.C. men worked continuously all day shifting furniture and personal belongings from doomed houses near the cliff. P.M.G. technicians worked late last night a storing broken telephone lines. Two bowsers were removed from the front of Mr. T. C. Mills’ store. Others had to be left when the ground again showed signs of giving way.

    Leap to Safety
    The second fall at 8.30 p.m. took several men on watch by surprise. Arthur Pearson, S.E.C. foreman, was standing on the edge when the earth moved, but he managed to leap back to safety.
    Another foreman, Jack Kelso, released three bakery cart horses from their stall near the edge. They bolted, and have not been sighted since.

    Thousands of tons of clay and coal blocked a railway shunting line at the bottom of the mine, but it is not expected that coal for railway and industrial purposes will suffer. S.E.C. men watched anxiously throughout the night as cracks widened in the earth and nearby buildings.
    Some of the families who were evacuated were housed by friends. Others were placed in incomplete prefabricated bungalows a quarter of a mile away. An emergency post office and bank was set up in the Y.M.C.A. hut in the camp.

    1. This story echoed throughout Australia. Newspapers in Cairns, Launceston, Warwick (NSW), Broken Hill, Sydney, Ipswich, Echuca, Maryborough (Queensland) and Adelaide were just some of those that reported on the event.
    2. Landslides are not rare occurrences in mining operations; and the history of winning coal at the Yallourn mine is dotted with such incidents. In August 1925, ‘The Argus’ reported…
    “A landslide of considerable extent occurred on Friday at the Electricity Commission's new open-cut at Yallourn. The Bucyrus steam shovel used in coal-winning operations escaped damage, but a large quantity of overburden was precipitated into the open-cut.” August 17th 1925.
    3. In 1927, Yallourn made the news again when a worker at the Yallourn mine died in a landslide…
    “LANDSLIDE AT YALLOURN.-With a roar that startled every miner in the coal pit, about 1,000 tons of earth crashed into the pit at the brown coal mine at Yallourn on July 6. Eight men were working in the vicinity, and one was killed, .while the others had remarkable escapes.” Source: ‘The Australasian’ July 9th 1927
    4. It is known that the name of the worker who sadly died in the 1927 landslide was Mr. W. Grace.
    5. In December 1934, a water conduit tunnel collapsed at the Yallourn power station with severe implications for power generation.
    6. A brief news report regarding landslide at the State Coal Mine, at Morwell in 1919, was uncovered during this research…
    “Another landslide at Morwell coal mine. Melbourne. Friday. Late last night an earth-slide, being the second within a fortnight, occurred at the state coalmine at Morwell. The storeroom and mill room were wrecked, and traffic on the railway line for trucks was blocked. One man was slightly injured.” Source: ‘The Sun’ (Sydney) September 19th 1919.
    7. Unfortunately, despite all the OH&S regulations that now exist in Australian workplaces, the dangers of mining are ever-present. In 2015, it was reported by the ABC, that four miners had died in various accidents in mines in Queensland. Coalmines are subject to fire, flood, landslips and mechanical mishaps and, as former residents of Yallourn know too well, there was nothing worse than an accident at the mine, in the power station or at briquette factory.
    8. Some of the other stories, which relate to mine accidents and landslides, can be found on this website at:-
    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 and writing of this article were completed by Roger Spaull and presented and posted by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in October 2018.
    The above extract from the ‘The Age’ has been faithfully reproduced. The only amendments to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing, to enhance the story for the purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.

    23/10/2018 - 13:31
  • 32594

    When reading about the history of Yallourn ,information related to the various workers’ camps and hostels can be confusing. The list and the map (below) attempt to clarify where (and when) the camps were established for workers in the Yallourn area.
    In the period 1887-1971, there were camps for workers at the Brown Coal Mine, Yallourn and near Hernes Oak.
    • North Camp: 1887-1959
    • East Camp : 1920-1928
    • West Camp: 1921
    • South Camp: 1921-1939
    • Eastern Hostel: 1949-1971
    • Yallourn South Migrant Workers Hostel: 1950-53
    • Married Quarters. (Down towards the Latrobe River)

    The map of the camps at Yallourn was originally published in Joseph Sestokas’ book entitled ‘Welcome to Little Europe. Displaced Persons and the North Camp’ - Little Chicken Publishing - 2010.
    The camps are an intriguing part of the history of Yallourn as they provided rudimentary living quarters and some sense of community for thousands of workers (many of whom had come from far-flung corners of the world seeking a new life in Australia).
    As can be imagined, life in the camps during the depths of winter and the height of summer would have been taxing. The nature of the work, in the early years of the Yallourn Project, was onerous; and the Spartan accommodation and conditions, provided for the men, were also a test of fortitude.

    The following photographs try to give some understanding of the various camps in and around Yallourn throughout the years. The photos are taken from various sources such as the State Library of Victoria, newspapers of the times, Prue McGoldrick’s history of Yallourn entitled ‘Yallourn Was’ and the Museum of Victoria collection.


    22/10/2018 - 09:51
  • 32620

    Caption: TODAY'S PICTURE FROM NORTH YALLOURN shows workmen dismantling the bakehouse almost on the brink of the 300ft. open cut where the landslide occurred last week. It is a race against time, as the cliff face of the open cut is slowly slipping.
    Source: ‘Herald’ (Melbourne) Monday 3 July 1950. Page: 3.

    22/10/2018 - 09:47
  • 32619

    Caption: THIS STREET in North Yallourn Victoria, ends nowhere — a landslide carried 100yd of if into an old open cut. Pegs in the road indicate where new cracks have appeared 50 ft from the edge threatening buildings.

    Source: ‘Daily News’ (Perth) Tuesday 11 July 1950. Page: 10.

    22/10/2018 - 09:46