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. .

  • 32850


    With the 2019 Reunion fast approaching, it is timely to post a story on the Virtual Yallourn website related to the history of the Yallourn High School.
    It is hoped that former students will enjoy the trip down ‘Memory Lane’ (not to be confused with Meadow Lane, which ran off Latrobe Avenue).

    By 1954, the population of Yallourn (excluding the hundreds of men residing in the various camps) had swollen to about 5580; and the Yallourn High School, which enrolled students from across the Latrobe Valley region, was virtually ‘bursting at the seams.’

    Additionally, the overcrowding of the school was compounded by the fact that the Yallourn Primary School (4085), which was overflowing also, had annexed a number of classrooms in the grounds of the Yallourn High School to cope with an ‘abundance’ of young students.

    Space was at a premium at YHS; and as revealed in the article below, the situation had reached ‘breaking point.’ This article was published in the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ in March 1954; and it explains the strong action taken by various members of the Yallourn Advisory Council to relieve the overcrowding at YHS at that time.

    Note: The newspaper article may prove a little confusing to younger readers because, in Yallourn at that time, there existed: (i) a Town Advisory Council and also (ii) a High School Advisory Council. Both are mentioned in the newspaper report.

    Hopefully, the footnotes attached with this article may clarify certain aspects of the issue.


    OVERCROWDED conditions existing at the Yallourn High School were the subject of a letter which came before the recent meeting of the Yallourn Advisory Council. The writer, the secretary, Yallourn High School Advisory requested the assistance of the Council in alleviating the position. He also pointed out that the school was accommodating 550 High School and 150 State School pupils.
    Cr. Wallace said he was familiar with the conditions which were accentuated by the need to provide for the State School scholars. He believed that the only solution the erection of a High School elsewhere.

    The shortage of space was so acute that the R.S.L. Hall was being used.

    Cr. Hebb recalled the conference held between the Council and the District Inspector, Mr. McIntyre, early last year when the latter had given an undertaking, that the position would be it improved by the time the 1954 school year opened. He pointed out that the District Inspector had then said that if the expected relief did not come from the Consolidated School at Moe, he would seek expansion in Hernes Oak.

    Cr. Lynch reminded councillors that Mr McIntyre had also stated that the transfer of primary school pupils would relieve the State School but intensify the position at the primary school and such a situation had now arisen.

    Cr. Fewster said that the District inspector had stated in effect that if he were in trouble he would come back to the Council for support. He had not done so. After Cr. Harries had suggested another urgent conference with the District Inspector, Cr. Wallace said he understood that district inspectors were meeting soon to discuss educational facilities.

    Council agreed to seek a conference with the District Inspector as early as possible…”

    1. The first meeting of Yallourn High School Advisory Council was held on June 21st 1945. The members at that inaugural meeting were:
    Dr. J. C. Spencer (President), E.G Chisholm (Treasurer), J. W. Botteril; D. Ferguson, J. Lawson, O. Phillips, G. F. Rusden, F. L. Tremain and Cr. D. J. White.

    2. The first meeting of the Yallourn Town Advisory Council was held on January 7th 1948. Mr T. Forristal was the Chairman. Mr Langhorne was the appointed secretary; and the other members were: Brigadier John Field, Mr. J, Collins, E. Chisholm, Mr A. Fewster, Mr. R. Edmondson and Mr R. Hamilton.

    3. Yallourn (town) Advisory Councillors were either nominated by the SECV or elected by the residents of the town. Of the members listed in the above article, Mr W.L. Hebb and Mr A. Lynch were SECV nominees.

    4. The years of service of the above-mentioned members of the Yallourn Advisory Council (ie town not school) were: Mr W.T. Wallace (1949-69), Mr Hebb W.L. (1951-56), Mr A. Lynch (1952-69), Mr A.E. Fewster (1948-58) and Mr F.H. Harries (1951-64).

    5. As can be seen from the above, the nominated / elected councillors were long serving members of the YTAC and were respected and energetic members of the community. From reading the newspaper reports of the meetings, the debates covered a wide range of community issues and were often robust. The last meeting of the YTAC was held on the 29th November 1979.

    6. The following table, regarding population of the township of Yallourn, will give readers some idea of the growth of the town and the steep incline in the number of residents after World War: II. Such an influx of families put pressure on the existing schools of the town; and all welcomed the Education Department’s decision to build new secondary schools at Moe (1953) and Morwell (1956).

    1921 - 138
    1933 - 2520
    1947 - 4119
    1954 - 5580
    1961 - 5010

    7. The Yallourn High School was opened on Tuesday, February 6th, 1945 with an enrolment of about 300 students. Approximately 140 (47%) students were conveyed by bus from Morwell, Moe, Trafalgar, Traralgon, Brown Coal Mine and Yinnar districts. Prior to 1945, secondary education was provided in Yallourn at the Higher Elementary School (which grew from humble beginnings and is another absorbing topic in the town’s history of schooling).

    7. As written elsewhere on this website, the enrolment at the Yallourn High School between 1945 and 1953 doubled. In 1953, there were some 625 students attending YHS; and it is known that in 1953, there were 348 (56 %) students who travelled by bus to the Yallourn High School every day.

    8. The Principal of the Yallourn High School in 1954 was Mr G.S. Ellis. Mr Ellis arrived in Yallourn in 1953 and was principal at YHS until 1960. He was an experienced educator who worked diligently to improve the conditions at the school for staff and students. The following tribute to Mr Ellis was originally published in the Yallourn Assoc Newsletter in 2016…

    “George Ellis was born in Castlemaine in 1904. It is known that he served with the Army in New Guinea during World War:II where he rose to the rank of Major prior to being discharged in August 1944.
    Following the war, George taught at Melbourne Boys High School, Essendon Technical School and he also gained promotion to Dandenong High School. George Ellis became the Headmaster of Yallourn High School in 1953; he succeeded Mr Champion who had been promoted to Wangaratta High School.
    George was greatly respected and his philosophy and style of leadership was warmly embraced by students, teachers and parents.
    A glowing example of George’s approach to life and education can be found in the pages of the ‘The Pylon.’ In the 1953 edition of the magazine, George wrote…
    “The tradition of scholarship is an important feature in a school but perhaps the greatest importance is a record of character training. The school aims to train young men and women who will be able to fill with credit their places in the community and it therefore attempts of diligence, powers of self-discipline and judgement, honesty and sincerity of purpose and unselfish thought for others. Each pupil in the school whether his examination marks are high or low can help to develop the tradition of good citizenship within the school.”
    George Ellis was Headmaster of Yallourn High School from 1953 until December 1960. When he left YHS, to take up the position of Principal at University High School in Melbourne, there were more than 700 students enrolled in the school. He was succeeded at YHS by Mr Coulson.
    It is believed, but not verified, that George Stevens Ellis died in May 1984 and is buried at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery.” Source: Yallourn Association Newsletter 2016.

    9. It wasn’t just the YHS that was experiencing accommodation problems in that period of the town’s history, as the Principal of the Yallourn Technical school, Mr Edgar Scott, expressed similar concerns about overcrowding in his 1952 Annual Report …
    “PRINCIPAL’S ANNUAL REPORT-1952. The Principal, in presenting his annual report to the Council of Yallourn Technical School, emphasised that the 1952 school year had been, owing to insufficiency of accommodation and shortage of teaching staff, a very difficult one…” Source: ‘Morwell Advertiser’ January 29th 1953: Page: 5

    10. As many readers will be aware, the Yallourn High School closed its doors in 1977. As so many of its past students will testify, YHS was a safe and caring place where lifelong friendships began and blossomed. Former student Jean Humphries wrote the following tribute to YHS in 1996…
    “I have many very happy and lasting memories of my school day at Yallourn High school, my old school tie and prefect badge, five Pylon magazines and some school photographs taken with my old ‘Box Brownie’ camera. Hopefully, it is not too late to thank all the teachers who gave so much of themselves in making my High School days so happy and rewarding and who instilled in all of us the desire to go out into the world and continue our education in our chosen fields. Thanks also to fellow friends and classmates who all helped to contribute to the happy educational environment that we worked in.” Source: YOGA Publication: 1996.

    Hundreds of other children, who had the good fortune to attend Yallourn High School, would echo Jean’s sentiments about her school years. As Jean has written, the school was so important in the lives of the young people of the district and it still has a special place in the hearts of so many.

    While the situation regarding classroom overcrowding was problematic at Yallourn High School, in that era, it is also documented that 1072 students attended the Yallourn Technical School in 1953.

    According to the figures published by the Principal, Mr Edgar Scott, in his report to the YTS Council in April that year: -
    • There were 472 boys attending Day-time Junior Technical School.
    • 40 students were enrolled in Full-time/Day Diploma Courses.
    • There were also 560 apprentices and other part-time students.

    In that post-war period, Yallourn was the educational centre of the Latrobe Valley but change was on the way as the population of the neighbouring towns increased.

    The above story is part of an on-going project regarding the history of Yallourn. The story was researched and written by Roger Spaull and presented and posted by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in February 2019.

    The above article from the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ has been faithfully reproduced. The only amendments to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing, to enhance the article for purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.

    21/02/2019 - 16:42
  • 32849

    Yallourn State Schools’ Mothers' Clubs delegates photographed at the VFMC quarterly conference in Melbourne in 1954.
    From left : Mrs F. White (Yallourn), Mrs A. Davis (Yallourn) and Mrs F. M. Millett (Leongatha South).
    Note: ‘VFMC’ is an acronym for Victorian Federation of Mothers Clubs.
    Source: ‘Weekly Times’ Wednesday 16 June 1954. Page 52

    21/02/2019 - 14:35
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    19/02/2019 - 12:32
  • 32845

    James (Jim) Garvin (1905 - 1963) Jim Garvin was born in Bendigo and educated at Melbourne Working Man's College (later Royal Melbourne Technical College). After teaching in Melbourne, he came to Yallourn in 1926 as a Survey Assistant (salary 231 pounds per year). Single accommodation was provided in four man tents at the Western Camp. In 1929, Jim transferred to an Engineering position with the Construction Section for two years. Jim married Ellen (Nell) McKie in March 1930 and they moved into a two bedroom timber house at 7 Heather Grove in May 1930, where they lived until 1937. During this period, Chris was born in Malvern in 1931 and Bob was born at the Yallourn Hospital in 1935. Jim transferred to Melbourne as a Survey Draftsman for 18 months and during this period, Joan was born in 1938 at Dandenong Hospital. The family returned to Yallourn Iate in 1939 and moved into a two bedroom cement rendered house at 44 Broadway West. In July 1945, the family moved into a larger four bedroom timber house at 64 Parkway. In August 1945, Yvonne learnt to walk toes pointing outward - sad to say she was no good at it. Yvonne is now 69 and lives in Scoresby and Beryl is 75 and lives in Noble Park. They do think fondly of Yallourn and in the autumn particularly, they always go back to those days in their memories. Yvonne met up with Rae Barton at Yanakie a few weeks ago. Beryl was born at the Yallourn Hospital.

    During the war, a number of air raid shelters were constructed in various locations throughout the town, including the back yards of houses. Windows of shops in the town square were protected by concrete block walls and blackout blinds were installed in houses. The headlights of vehicles were covered with hooded slits to give limited lighting for night driving.

    The Yallourn Rifle Club was officially opened on 12 April 1930. The officials were: President J M Bridge, Vice-Presidents RD Dixon, RA Hunt, W Brewer, C Boehm, G DixonBrown and T Evans, Secretary RC Saunders, Treasurer A Wyatt, Captain JT Garvin and ViceCaptain A Lawrence. Undisputed club champion was Jim Garvin who in 1936 won this title for the sixth time. He was also champion shot in the No 19 Central Gippsland Union. In 1939 officials were: President EJ Hassett (brother of Australian cricketer Lindsay), Secretary JT Garyin, Treasurer T Hodson, Captain SJ Gardiner, Committee members: PJ Curtin, GK Botten, G Evans, Auditors W Jones and N Hodson. Other names to feature in various events were: W Boag, J McKean, M Harvey, A Lawrence and S Broberg. Yallourn became one of the most successful clubs in Australia. In 1951, the Club had three members in the State Team of eight - Fred Farmer, Jim Garvin and Allan Schroeder, who travelled to WA. (Jim also represented Victoria in Tasmania (1949) and in NSW (1950). The range was closed in 1953 because the danger area encroached on Coach Road, the final shoot being held on 25 July. The Yallourn Club shot at the Moe Rifle Range until July 1964 when it was disbanded and its assets and members transferred to the Moe Rifle Club. We were all educated at the Primary State School (4085), Higher Elementary and Technical schools. We joined the Brownies and Cubs, enjoyed swimming in the pool and going to the 'sandbank' on the Latrobe River which was warmed by the cooling waters from the power stations, loved our family outings on Sundays, going to local areas and picking mushrooms or blackberries in season. Chris was a pupil of Myee Huddy's Dancing School; Bob played schoolboy soccer and later took up rifle and small bore shooting. Beryl played Netball. Nell was a member of CWA and played croquet for many years. As for many families, our doctor was Dr Jim Andrew, who made lots of house calls. Chris worked as a tracer in the Main Office. Bob was a Survey Trainee in 1952 and then worked as a Cadet Engineer in Prahran, Yallourn and Monvell. Joan worked in the National Bank and Beryl went to Bunruood Teachers' College and taught in various primary schools in Victoria. Chris married Geoff Flower in St John's Church in July 1950. Bob married Marie Byng in September 1958, lived in ‘White City’ Morwell, whilst working for SEC and left Australia in July 1959 to work on Ocean Island, Central Pacific, Joan married Toy Newell in St Andrew’s Church in December 1959 and Beryl married Brett Wadley in St Andrew’s Church in January 1966. Minor irritations arose in the town when the wind blew from certain directions; the coal dust which affected our eyes and covered our washing with grit and then the smells from the Maryvale Paper Works, which were quite unpleasant; however these nuisances only occurred on some days and we became accustomed to them. Jim held many engineering positions in the Yallourn and Yallourn North Open Cuts and was Superintendent of Yallourn Open Cut when he died at home on 12 October 1963. In 1964, Nell moved to a two bedroom timber house at 47 Parkside (opposite the ovals) until 1972 when she moved to Frankston. All in all, we enjoyed our
    upbringing in Yallourn and all the facilities that were provided, together with the benefits of living in a friendly small town. it is good to remember milk and cream deliveries by Davies Dairies (Morwell Bridge) into billies left at our front gate, house deliveries of fruit and vegetables by Mr Cincotta, being given lollies at the grocer's shop when mum purchased provisions, after school buying 1 penny's worth of broken biscuits at the grocer's shop from Mr Amos Wood's (also a JP) who was held in awe by those children who were served by him, the temporary shops built after WW2 near the National Bank, which lasted for 20 years. School friends and neighbours included Fay White, Pat Shaw, Russel Pruden, lvan Harris, Alan Flannigan, Tony & Owen Smith, Bruce King, Brian Boyes, John Jones, John Hutchinson. Bob remembers the frequent school trips to Melbourne in a Bedford Bus, chanting: "Who are we, you may guess, we are the boys of the YTS Roll 'em, bowl 'em, pitch them in the tar, we are the Tech boys,ya ya ya !!

    18/02/2019 - 18:37
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    Marion Kossatz (O'Hara) YHS 1947 Wrote to say it has been a long time since she has received such a lovely surprise in the mail (or anywhere else!!) and that was our Newsletter. Marion transferred in from NSW to YHS Form 3 and spent some of the happiest years of her life there. In 1949 and 1950, she was Captain of Flinders House, a Prefect and the Editor of the Pylon. She gained her Matriculation Certificate in 1950. For some months, she lived on a farm at Morwell North, walking to the APM, catching a bus to Morwell and then waited for the next bus to YHS. Her times were 6.1Sam leave home (dark in the winter) and about 6pm arrive back (dark again). However, she stayed healthy and never missed a day's school. Later, her family moved to Yinnar, where travelling was so very much easier. She remembers having the bus driver pick her up along the Driffield Road, and as she walked, she would recite memorised poetry - Chaucer and Shakespeare - set for the Matriculation class by Mr Mee. Many miles were covered on foot doing this. Marion's two younger brothers, Robert and Denis, were at the school after she left. (Pam Bryan was there too, and later married Robert.) Marion has been in Canberra since 1971 and was not aware of any other ex- Yallournites except the two Marr boys, Fred and Allan. Fred and Marion were in Form 4 together. Marion came to the Back-To in Moe and thoroughly enjoyed herself

    18/02/2019 - 18:36
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    John Langford YHS 1949 (brother of Ruth Young) Recalls some of his school years: "High School was like a burst of sunshine after Primary School. Mr Champion was the Headmaster. He rode a bicycle to and from school at negative velocity. Other early 50's teachers I remember were Mr Mee, Miss Hanna (on whom I had a crush) who worked hard to encourage me in the execution of those dreaded English essays due in on Monday morning; the Wynnes, Messrs Stewart, Young, Mitchell, Duffy and Farrelly. In the later years, Mr Ellis assumed command and the teachers that I most recall, or is it revere, are Messrs Lugg, Dawson, Homann and Nicholls. Whilst I matriculated in 1955, Mr Ellis convinced my father that another year at school would benefit me and I did win a Commonwealth scholarship. 1956 was a great fun year together with the fact that Mr Don Lugg, the chemistry master, went off for about four weeks, leaving me to teach the Matric chemistry and organise the practical classes. The combined good teaching resulted in several 1st & 2nd class Matriculation Honours in that subject. Regrettably, one of these Honour students, Terry Stewart, died of peritonitis from a burst appendix just before university commenced. Mr Lugg, who was an excellent Mr Ellis. During Mr Lugg's sojourn, experimentation in the chem lab was intense. I recall when a group after school was studying the interaction of alkali metals with water. I think it was Gordon French (or was it Ken Scott - neuron plaque is a problem) who placed a large chunk of sodium in the bottom of a wet beaker. The beaker disintegrated with a large explosion filling the storeroom with fumes. The other students dematerialised leaving me to explain to Miss Joy Simms that everything was OK. My wife, Beatrice (Smith) attended Moe HS (1955) and later worked in Central Stores as an optometrist. Two of her sisters (Mary & Agnes Smith) and a brother (George Smith) attended YHS also. Mary attended in 1951 now lives in Mandurah and works in infant health with Public Health WA. She did her nurses training (1956) as Nurse Coutts at Yallourn Hospital (there were too many Smiths!) Her husband, Peter Armstrong, attended Tech 1950 and did an apprenticeship with the SEC, died in 1983. Agnes (Nancy) attended in 1957 now lives in Williamstown and works in Melbourne at Esso's head office. Agnes worked in the Yallourn Library on leaving school. My 'brother, Bill Langford, lives in Victoria Park 'WA. He- keeps in contact with Joy Simms and John Tremain, who were YHS teachers in the mid 50's. The Tremain’s live in Geelong and their house is called 'Yallourn'. We keep in contact with Barbara Elliott (Park) and her husband Doug, who live in Kalamunda. She is the only person that I have contact with locally who is from Yallourn and if there are others in this state, I would be pleased to hear from them. We have a large house in the hills area outside Perth with plenty of spare bedrooms. There is a supply of accommodation and a warm welcome to old associates venturing west. Victorians I communicate with include Kerry Prendergast (Hank) YHS 1956 who lives in Sandringham with wife Jo. Hank was active around the hospital in 1956 (his father was the Hospital Engineer.) Other contacts I have are Bob Molloy YHS 1954 and Walter (Robin) Hughes YHS 1951. (John has sent a photo of some lads on an excursion to Canberra in 1954 but it won't reproduce, so we'll keep it for our next booklet - they are Murray Wigg, Max Eakins, lan Lawson, Max Williams, Les Campbell, Gordon French, Bryan Campbell, Kevin Golding and Ray Stalworthy.)

    18/02/2019 - 18:36
  • 32842

    Henry Winters YHS 1954-58 then Tech Trade Part Time and Night School 1959-62. His form was 1C in Room 10 - an army style portable building west of the main quadrangle. For a fresh-faced, unsophisticated and naive 11Y" year old, Henry thought his form teacher - Shirley Mason (now McCasker) was so absolutely gorgeous - a person with such command and elegance. Some of the students of that year were Peter Bavington, David Sloan, Noel Sonerman, Russell Williams, Terry Comber, Brian Wallace, Sidney Goidois and Jessie Grima ... girls weren't an interest in those days - it was billy carts and bicycles. ln those early days, Henry would cycle up to Yallourn North from Morwell via Tom's Bridge and aim to make a faster overall point to point time each venture on weekends. Transportation to school was via Latrobe Valley Buslines in either a 'federal' bus, a 'white' bus or the 'Reo' semi-trailer. Henry met the La Mode lndustries Reo semi at the bottom of Church Street Morwell after it disgorged the working La Mode girls at the factory. lt entered the La Mode factory at the Collins St (west side) driveway and the school kids waited inside the grounds to start the pick up route to YES. The interesting make up of the rear seat of the semi was a pecking seat order. From the passenger (kerb) side corner sat Tom Griggs, then Henry, then Geoff Wigg, his brother Murray Wigg, then Geoff Pickburn and in the driver side corner was John McCarrick. This pecking order came about as the majority, except Tom Griggs, started with the Reo semi at La Mode. Henry graduated to the rear seat by about third form. Somehow the return home was done in different makes of buses. The old 'white' was the slow coach and had to be nursed by the driver, whereas the 'federal' was a flyer. The girls up front coaxed the drivers to get up a bit of speed and race past the other buses back to Morwell. School dress was the regulation uniform and an annoyance to the Prefects at bus afternoon collection was the school cap. The idea was to order it a size smaller and if possible, wash it so it shrunk and always carry it in one's back pocket. When checked by a Prefect, one could pull out this small unit that sat on the hair like a pimple. The Prefects gave up in disgust after trying a blitz of wearing correct attire. Henry well remembers a classmate who had a long trip to get to school. He was Noel Sonerman whose parents had a small dairy farm 10 acres on the foothills of the Jeeralangs between Boolarra and Yinnar. After getting up with the sparrows and helping with milking, to get to school he rode his bicycle to the Midland Hwy, caught a bus, which brought children into Morwell, to connect with the bus to YES. The school day was a long one for Noel as milking awaited him when he got home. On cold frosty mornings, he filled the handlebars with boiling water with corks in the ends, but the water was cold before he got to the bottom of the hill to meet the bus. The class ratio boys to girls was fairly even in 1C and 2C. After becoming dux in 2C, Henry was 'elevated' to 3A where he joined David (Jimmy) Wallace, Daryl Raggart, Geoff Wigg, Ray Stewart, Tom Griggs and Ron Rawiller, and the topic of conversation on Monday mornings was a complete review and taking off of the expressions and bylines of the previous night's (Sunday) Goon Show. The teachers and senior students Henry remembers involved in the annual production of a Gilbert & Sullivan play were Jean Birt (English teacher) lsobel McLaren, John Tremain, Val Pyers and Tom Dooley. A memorable aspect of YES wintertime activities was the cookery classes output of soup for 6d per enamel mug each day (or was it 3d?). The cookery teacher managed the soup and it was served through a window off the verandah in the south west corner of the quadrangle to the south of the main staff room and main quadrangle. Some other teachers Henry remembers were Mr Cass and Mrs Parsons. They gave him the subject presented in such a way to make it understandable and enjoyable.

    18/02/2019 - 18:35
  • 32841

    Marie McFaul (Elmar) (YHS 1947) Wrote with the following news and memories, which I'm sure she won't mind sharing with you: "I did enjoy the barbeque at Mr & Mrs Esler's property at Nicholson once again. My friend, Ann Roughead (Griffiths) from Leongatha was able to come with me for the day. We only attended YHS for the Leaving and Matriculation years in 1947 & 1948, but found the Principal, Mr Menadue, and staff and the people of Yallourn just so friendly that we have very happy memories of our time there. I would also like to send best wishes to Bev James; Kath Fitzpatrick (Hayes) of Cowarr; Margaret Reid; Claire Gratton and Gwynneth Griffiths (whereabouts unknown to me). I remember the mixed-breed dog who took up residence in the quadrangle in spite of the daily voice of Mr Menadue booming out to - "get that dog out of here!" I came across a cutting from the paper giving details of 1948 Speech Night at which Mr Mee (English teacher) had organised a play, presented by the Matriculation students. I wonder if the audience enjoyed watching as much as we enjoyed participating. John Barnes and Gwynneth Griffiths really starred. Marion Dawson - Mrs Trigg gave many students a great love for hockey and our sports trips to Sale, Traralgon and Warragul were always an event of the year. We always remember also Fae Lawson playing Rustle of Spring on the piano and our great arguments with Mr Menadue in Geography class over the merits of Yallourn vs Horsham. Leon Melbourne was a great stirrer and kept our spirits up when exams were nigh. Best wishes too to Sonja Ostlund - she was a great house captain. Elsie & Betty were great friends who came from Moe - their surname escapes me. Then there were the Moller twins, Mr & Mrs Jack Vinall, Arthur Webb, Gavin Edmondson, Diana Thomas, Allan Turnbull and so many names come to mind. The school building may be gone but the memories will last forever. Keep up the good work and I hope ex-students continue to support you (YOGA).

    18/02/2019 - 18:35
  • 32840

    Warren Wilson YHS 1950: I really enjoyed reading Reg Penkethman’s article in the Jan 2013 newsletter, which brought back a lot of memories. Reg was one of my fellow students at YHS during the years 1950-1953. I remember Reg as a good scholar, which is reflected in his interesting article. I also remember some of the boys’ names – Bob Nash, Frank Jewell, John Quinlivan, Anthony Dawson, Murray Wigg, David Munro, Brian O’Connor and Barry Gust to name a few. I do agree with Reg that the YHS girls were the best looking girls anywhere but I will hold off on naming any names. For those who may remember me from YHS, I moved to Melbourne (from Trafalgar) working for the National Bank. I then moved to Darwin (7 years but not with the bank), then to Adelaide (7 years), Hobart (4 years), Hong Kong (17 years) and then back to Adelaide, where I have lived for the past 19 years. Cathy and I travel a lot and we also have 12 grandchildren between us to spread our time. I am still to get to the annual reunion despite Julie George’s efforts over many years to get me to attend. 2014 will be my next opportunity and that sounds like a good year to me!

    18/02/2019 - 18:34
  • 32839

    (Photo attached)

    Thelma was born in Yallourn to Richard (Syd) and May Sharman, who lived in Yallourn North and who both worked at the SEC.
    Thelma, affectionately known as ‘Sharman’, was the middle of two siblings, older brother Frank and younger sister Janet who both grew up in Yallourn North. Times were tough for the Sharman family in those early years, not only was there the Depression to deal with, but nature also intervened regularly with devastating floods and bushfires, not unlike what many country towns have to deal with today.
    Thelma attended the Brown Coal Mine State School and then Yallourn High School up until Form 5. She was a keen netballer who also tried her hand at football! In the book titled "The Old Brown Coal Mine", Thelma’s photo appears as a member of the Brown Coal Mine single women's football team of 1944/45. They played the married women's team. It is not recorded who won but Thelma said that she caught the ball at a boundary throw in and thought that she could stop to take a kick! The story goes on to say that someone yelled out that the umpire was ‘one eyed’ whereupon he promptly pulled out his glass eye to prove it! The team only played once and so it was back to netball for Thelma.
    A swimming pool cut into a bend on the Latrobe River was very popular and close to the mine. That’s where Thelma learnt to swim and loved every minute of it as she was a strong swimmer.
    Thelma’s first job after leaving school was performing secretarial duties with a Mr Langhorne at the Yallourn Advisory Council, but this only lasted for 2 years. In 1949 she applied and was accepted for nurses training at the Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. This was a big move for Thelma, leaving family and friends, however the challenge and excitement was what she was after, so with hugs and kisses all round, off she went to the ‘big smoke’. She recalled that there was a wonderful camaraderie existing in the nurses’ home. She excelled in lectures and derived great satisfaction in caring for sick, dependent children. She easily won the confidence and cooperation of children separated from their families. She was a born carer, not only for children, but also to people from all walks of life. It’s here that because of Jeff’s fastidious and detailed recording of family history, the following transcript exists of Thelma’s early nursing memories:
    “The 6 months adult component of the training spent at the Children’s Hospital added another dimension to my nursing career. I enjoyed the experience very much. I became very aware of how important our observation skills are especially in the nursing of children. Adults could be specific and descriptive in describing their condition, pain, complaints, symptoms, whereas in children’s nursing the nurse's observations were of immense importance and value.”
    Thelma returned to Yallourn and took up a posting at the local Hospital. Significantly she was now nursing with Dr Andrews, the Doctor who had delivered her into the world back in 1930. For experience and to again whet that appetite for adventure, she then took an opportunity to spend all of 1954 at the Winton Hospital, some 180km north west of Longreach in Central West Queensland. Barbara Watt, also from Yallourn, went with her.
    Returning to Yallourn in early 1955, Thelma again took up her post at the Yallourn Hospital and was back with family and friends.
    The Red Cross offered Thelma the opportunity to accompany an elderly patient to England on the SS Himalaya. She arrived in London in December 1955 after 4 weeks at sea. The task of caring for her patient successfully completed, she took up residence in Paddington where a New Zealand friend from Yallourn, Marie O'Sullivan, was living. Also staying was Marie's cousin, Shirley.
    After meeting her future husband, Jeff, through a mutual friend, she was invited by Jeff to accompany him and a group of friends who would be hiring a car to do the “Grand Tour of
    Europe”. However, there were only 2 spare seats left in the car, leaving Thelma the unenviable task of having to choose between her 2 friends for the last seat. She was of course very keen to go, but only if both Marie and Shirley could go too. That was Thelma’s nature, always wanting to please everyone, so she reluctantly told Jeff that she couldn’t choose between her 2 girlfriends. Needless to say, and going against Jeff’s usual strict observance of rules, he relented and told Thelma that all 3 girls were welcome as long as they kept their luggage to a minimum! So with the car overloaded, they all set off commencing on Anzac Day 1957. Sadly, Thelma had to leave the tour in Vienna due to the arrival of a telegram alerting her that her father was terminally ill. She was quickly on a plane back to Melbourne. Her beloved father died 6 weeks later.
    Not long after this, Thelma was chosen to be the face of “Miss Penny Parade”, an honour bestowed for raising money for the Hospital’s Appeal and also for being the best looking nurse in the competition! September 1957 and Jeff was back in Melbourne. It wasn’t long before he was on the country train to Yallourn every second weekend for a couple of years to see Thelma. On 3 January 1959, Thelma and Jeff were married at St John’s in Yallourn and then set up home in Kennedy Street, South Oakleigh. Judy was born in 1960 and Michael a couple of years later.
    After 9 years of being a stay-at-home-mum to rear the two children, Thelma eventually returned to work. The family at this time were living in Greensborough, actually on the rural/urban fringe and reminiscent in a lot of respects to her early life in the country.
    Thelma spent 6 years or so nursing in the Spinal Unit at the Austin Hospital where she dealt daily with the trauma and tragedy of her patients and their families. Following this period in her life, Thelma went on to run the Austin’s Staff Clinic.
    In late 1977 Jeff was offered a one-year work posting with Siemens to Munich in West Germany which included the family. Thelma was obviously thrilled to have the opportunity to take the family overseas for a new adventure, which included touring many European and Scandinavian countries, countless weekend trips around Bavaria and a skiing adventure or two. But all good things must come to an end and it was back to Melbourne for the family, but with more lifelong friendships and great memories.

    In 1981, Thelma and Jeff moved to a new home in Balwyn which was the family home for 32 years.
    Thelma’s final job was the pinnacle of her illustrious nursing career. She was appointed the Deputy Director of Nursing at Cedar Court Private Hospital. A major task she was involved with was the Hospital’s first ever accreditation, a project that she led from start to finish and which was achieved to the exacting specifications demanded.
    In 1987, Jeff was asked to establish an office for Siemens Telecommunications in Wellington, New Zealand. Jeff and Thelma found a beautiful house overlooking the picturesque Wellington Golf Club in Heretaunga. Thelma now had no other option than to turn her hand to another sporting challenge, this time learning to swing a golf club. When not playing golf or socializing with her many great friends, Thelma became proficient at embroidery and anybody that’s visited home can bear witness to how good her talents were with this craft. They returned to Melbourne in 1991 after more than 4 years away.
    Contracting Parkinson’s Disease some 6 years ago was a shock and a setback, but one that she overcame with time. She was challenged but she dealt with it in her own inimitable style. She never dwelled on it and after a while, returned to her happy-go-lucky self. She was always an optimist and always saying she was fine, even when she wasn’t.
    In February 2012, Thelma’s health took a catastrophic turn when she suffered a stroke which limited her speech and movement. Thereafter she needed the type of care that only a residential facility could provide and she was admitted to the Noel Miller Centre in Glen Iris.
    Thelma died on Sunday, 7 April 2013 at the Noel Miller Centre with Jeff at her side. Her funeral was held at the Balwyn Anglican (St. Barnabas) Church on Friday the 12th April 2013. Over 150 people attended the service, a testament to the love felt towards her by so many and to the many lives touched by her beautiful presence.

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