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.
Special thanks for support given by Latrobe City & Public Records Office Victoria in preserving the history of Yallourn for all to share.
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MOST RECENT ENTRIES:

  • 31794

    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:57
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  • 31795

    I am there, as is my mum and dad, a family called Melbourne (Mick and his wife) from Hernes Oak; May and Dunk, two Scots who emigrated on the same ship as us and lived in Newborough. Interesting how many people dressed up for the day including somebody wearing a tie. I wonder if the Queen remembers us?
    ...Stefan Tomasz

    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:57
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  • 31796

    I am there, as is my mum and dad, a family called Melbourne (Mick and his wife) from Hernes Oak; May and Dunk, two Scots who emigrated on the same ship as us and lived in Newborough. Interesting how many people dressed up for the day including somebody wearing a tie. I wonder if the Queen remembers us?
    ...Stefan Tomasz

    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:56
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  • 31801

    The royal carriage?

    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:56
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  • 31800

    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:55
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  • 31799
    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:53
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  • 31798

    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:52
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  • 31797

    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    1954
    24/06/2017 - 15:51
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  • 31793

    Late 1953/early 1954 - Fountain in the square - you can just see the corner of the YPT

    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    1953
    23/06/2017 - 11:30
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  • 31791

    PREMIER JOHN MCDONALD VISITS YALLOURN

    This newspaper article describes the visit of the Premier, John McDonald, to Yallourn in June 1952. The report was front page news in the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ and serves as a strong reminder of the importance of brown coal (and Yallourn) to the economy of Victoria in those post-war years.

    The story of John McDonald is inspiring. Born in Scotland, he rose from humble beginnings to become the Premier of Victoria. Mr McDonald’s life is a ‘rags to riches’ story which seems to have been ignored or overlooked in the ‘passing parade of history.’

    Throughout his active life, John McDonald never revealed (to the public) that he had been seriously wounded at the Western Front during World War:I; and the nature of the surgery that he underwent, (one hundred years ago) will surprise readers.

    The footnotes that accompany this article attempt to give a brief background to John McDonald, while the footnotes (6-13) relate to the Chairman of the Yallourn Town Advisory, Mr Tom Forristal.
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    JUNE 12TH 1952 MORWELL ADVERTISER PAGE : 1

    PREMIER AT YALLOURN

    Prior to addressing a political meeting at the Yallourn Theatre on Tuesday night last, the Premier, Mr. McDonald, was entertained at dinner at the Yallourn Hotel by the chairman of the Yallourn Advisory Council, Mr.T. Forristal.

    In extending the Premier a welcome to Yallourn, Mr. Forristal referred to the drastic effect of the loan cuts on power and fuel development in the Latrobe Valley and invited the Premier to give a brief half-hour on the following morning to inspecting the new power station construction at Yallourn so as to inform himself first hand of the present position of that work.

    After thanking Mr. Forristal and the Yallourn Advisory Council for its welcome and hospitality, Mr. McDonald made the point that the brown coal resources of the Latrobe Valley could well be a means of creating a better understanding with our near neighbours by promoting trade and goodwill in its exchange for their surplus commodities, such as tin, rubber, etc.

    Recent research, continued Mr. McDonald, both in Australia and abroad had shown that Gippsland brown coal was much richer in by-products than ever previously believed. It was known that high octane spirit, petrol, tar and phenols in excess of Australian requirements could be extracted from Latrobe Valley brown coal.

    In conclusion, Mr. McDonald promised he would exhaust every possible financial resource to ensure that Victoria did not lose the Lurgi gas making plant ordered, through inability to find the purchase price, £1M.

    FOOTNOTES RE: JOHN MCDONALD & TOM FORRISTAL
    1. Mr John Gladstone Black McDonald served as the Premier of Victoria, in two stints, between June 1950 and December 1952. He was born in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1898; and his family migrated to Australia in 1912 and settled at Shepparton.
    2. At only 17 years of age, John McDonald enlisted in the Army and saw action at the Western Front during World War: 1….
    “Posted to the 37th Battalion, he served on the Western Front from November that year until he was shot through the chest in February 1917. While in hospital he had a lung removed: he kept his condition a secret for most of his life. Discharged on 4 January 1918, he returned to Shepparton where he established an orchard in partnership with his brother Rodney ADB Vol: 15. MUP 2000.
    3. During his time as a parliamentarian, John McDonald was a member of the Country Party; and he was knighted in 1957. There is much to Mr McDonald’s absorbing life-story and his substantial achievements are worthy of further investigation (see reading list below).
    4. In an interesting coincidence, mention was made, on same page of the newspaper, of a well-known Gippsland politician, Herbert Hyland. Mr Hyland’s name was often heard in matters regarding the town of Yallourn as he held the portfolio of Minister of State Development during that era.
    5. Sir John McDonald died at Mooroopna in 1977…
    “Survived by his wife, son and two daughters, McDonald died on 23 April 1977 at Mooroopna and was cremated. One week later a state memorial service was conducted at Shepparton. An undistinguished portrait of Sir John, painted from a photograph, is held at Parliament House, Melbourne.” Australian Dictionary Biography. ANU Volume 15: 2000.
    6. Tom Forristal’s name appeared quite regularly in researching this article. Mr Forristal was the first chairman of the Yallourn Town Advisory Council which was formed in 1948. Mr Forristal (OBE) was not elected by the residents of Yallourn but was appointed by the State Government to ‘chair’ the YTAC.
    7. It is known that Mr Forristal was, at one time, the Accountant to the State Treasury. He was first appointed to the Victorian Public Service in 1909.
    8. Throughout his long career in the Victorian Public Service, Mr Forristal held several positions including the State Coordinator of Works and State Statist and Actuary. His name can be found in press reports regarding various administrative and bureaucratic matters of the Victorian Government of those times.
    9. ‘The Argus’ (12th May) shows that a certain ‘T. Forristal’ was one of a long list of Victorians honoured with being awarded a Coronation Medal in 1937. The commemorative medals were presented to ‘leading citizens’ (as described by ‘The Argus’) throughout all the states of Australia; it seems reasonably safe to assume that Tom Forristal (later of Yallourn Town Advisory Council) was a recipient.
    10. Mr Forristal served as the Chairman of YTAC for twenty-one years and stepped down from that position in 1969. An interesting aspect of his involvement in the affairs of Yallourn was that he was not actually a resident of the town. It is said that he lived in Melbourne and travelled to Yallourn to chair meetings and carry out his other duties .
    11. In 1954, Tom Forristal represented the residents of Yallourn when he accepted a cheque presented by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks, …
    “On Thursday last, Cr. T. Forristal, Chairman of the Yallourn Advisory Council acting on behalf of the public of Yallourn, was summoned to Government House and presented by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks, with a cheque for £1000 won by the Borough of Yallourn for having raised the most money of any municipality in Victoria – pro-rata to population - for the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Trust Fund for Mothers and Children.” ‘Morwell Advertiser’ December 9th 1954.
    12. ‘The Argus’ (1957) reported that Mr Forristal was re-appointed, by the Victorian Government, for a further term as Chairman of the YTAC…
    “Yallourn chairman….Mr. T. Forristal has been re-appointed chairman of the Yallourn Town Advisory Council for the fourth successive three-year term…. Mr. Forristal is the State Treasury's chief accountant. He joined the public service in 1909 and has held his present job since 1947.” ‘The Argus’ January 16th 1957
    13. Tom Forristal was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 1957 New Year’s Honours list for his lasting service to Victoria including the key role he played in organizing the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. ‘The Argus’ on the 1st January that year carried the following…
    “…Thomas Forristal: Victorian Treasury representative on the Olympic Games Organising Committee, he has been accountant to the Treasury since 1937; member of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into industrial life assurance in 1938. Since 1951, he has been a member of the ' Victorian Central Planning Authority and a director of the Gas and Fuel Corporation…”
    14. The Lurgi method of producing gas from coal was first pioneered in Germany in the 1940’s; and the Morwell plant, despite the financial concerns expressed by Mr McDonald in 1952, commenced operation in 1956. The Gas and Fuel Corporation installed a high pressure pipe line that carried the gas to Melbourne (and suburbs) for industrial and domestic consumption.
    15. The Yallourn Hotel (mentioned above) was opened in October 1928 and was one of the finest hotels in Victoria. A columnist (Mrs H. Yelland) described it as… “a model hotel, completely electrified and equipped with every comfort…”
    16. There are numerous photographs of the Yallourn Hotel on this website; and to visit these pages simply type the word ‘Hotel’ into the search field at the top right hand corner of the page and press the ‘Enter’ key.

    READING LIST.
    John McDonald’s life was ‘above the ordinary’ and it is disappointing that his service and contribution to Victorian life seems to have been disregarded with the passage of time. The following reading list, as provided from the Australian National University, maybe a good starting point for those who are interested in learning more about John McDonald’s life and times.
    • K. West. ‘Power in the Liberal Party’ (Melb, 1965).
    • L. G. Houston. ‘Ministers of Water Supply in Victoria’ (Melb, 1965).
    • R. Wright. ‘A People's Counsel’ (Melb, 1992).
    • ‘Countryman’ (Melbourne), 4 Sept 1936, 14 Nov 1952, 22 July 1955.
    • ‘Herald’ (Melbourne), 4 July 1970.
    • ‘Age’ (Melbourne), 11 July 1970, 25 Apr 1977.
    • ‘Shepparton News’ 25 Apr 1977, 8 July 1983.

    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 George and Roger Spaull for the Virtual Yallourn website in June 2017.
    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.

    22/06/2017 - 13:48
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