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 our way of revisiting our town with our children and grandchildren.

In memory of Mavis & Paddy Mewett, who loved Yallourn so much. We have been able to upgrade our website thanks to the generosity of Kay Hall (Mewett) as a tribute to her parents. Our original software had to quickly be updated and we have now been able to stay in business. Stage 2 Redesign will make the site more user-friendly and even more informative...so please be patient and let's know if you have any suggestions.

See the many photos and house plans, 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 www.yallourn.org and please 'Like' our Facebook page.


MOST RECENT ENTRIES:

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS - 1931 - Trouble at the Power Station - Police - Snr Constable Collier

Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 20/09/2019 - 15:17

TROUBLE AT THE POWER STATION

In the early days of Yallourn, life was demanding and hardly idyllic for the workers on the project; and it is documented that the camps were not without ‘trouble and strife.’ Numerous newspaper reports, of that early period of local history, provide some insight into the ‘comings and goings’ that kept the Yallourn constabulary ‘ever watchful’ and always busy.
The following extract was unearthed in the ‘Weekly Times’; and reported on an attack of a nightwatchman, Peter Wells, in Yallourn in 1931. Fortunately, and thanks to the prompt action of SECV staff, Mr Wells escaped from the ordeal relatively unscathed; and, as the report shows, the trespasser was ‘chased down’ and ultimately arrested.
The footnotes attempt to provide some details of: (i) The subsequent hearing at the Morwell Court of Petty Sessions and (ii) Snr Constable Collier, a police officer of some repute in the district.

____________________________________________________________

MAY 30TH 1931 WEEKLY TIMES PAGE:6

YALLOURN SENSATION

Attracted by cries for help and moans near the Yallourn main office on the night of May 26, three members of the Commission staff, Messrs. H. Ashley, C. Mitchell and C. Muir, found a watchman, P. Wells, lying on the ground while another man brandished a large knife above him. They immediately challenged the intruder, who is alleged to have replied that he was "just having a bit of a fight with his mate."

Wells bore scalp and neck wounds, and was in a state of collapse. His assailant suddenly took to his heels, with Messrs Mitchell and Muir in pursuit. The man tore through a two-stranded barb-wire fence, completely uprooting a post.

Chase to River

The chase led through the bush and close to the Latrobe River, where the fugitive was overthrown and held. It is alleged that while Wells was on duty in his box, a man, brandishing a knife, demanded to be allowed to pass through to the Power House.
The intruder then entered the box, dismantled the telephone, and attacked the night watchman. The police have detained a man who recently arrived at Yallourn.

FOOTNOTES

1. The incident at Yallourn received wide coverage in city papers such as the ‘The Age’ and ‘The Argus’ while a country newspaper paper the ‘Riverine Herald’ led with the headline: ‘Alleged Assailant Arrested’.

2. As for the subsequent court case, the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ (June 5th 1931) provided a most comprehensive report on the matters before the Police Magistrate; and several newspapers mentioned the accused man’s name. One press report stated that he was a member of a gang from the Fitzroy- Collingwood area.

3. It is believed that Mr Peter Wells was 69 years of age when the incident took place. Reports on his condition varied depending upon the newspaper one read. . One local weekly paper said that Mr Wells was lying on the footpath, semi-conscious and suffering from blood loss. Whatever was the truth of the matter, Mr Wells was in a parlous state and he was taken, by ambulance, to the Yallourn Hospital for further treatment…
“Watchman Wells, a South African veteran, was treated for scalp and other wounds at Yallourn Hospital.” Source: ‘Morwell Advertiser’ May 29th 1931 Page: 3.

4. For younger readers the term ‘South African veteran’ may mean that Peter Wells served in the Boer War (1899-1902). Using the AWM archives, twenty-three soldiers with the family name ‘Wells’ were listed but more information was inaccessible about the above Peter Wells.

5. It is unproven but possible that Mr Charles Muir was the same ‘C. Muir’ who was an active member of the Yallourn Glee and Madrigal Society and featured in various musical productions in the town. No further information could be gathered regarding Charles Mitchell or Mr H. Ashley who assisted Mr Wells that night.

6. The arrested man was charged on the information of Constable James Ryan; and he presented before Police Magistrate Mr Downs at the Morwell Court of Petty Sessions on June 2nd.

7. During the hearing, the accused man’s prior convictions were listed and taken into account by Mr Downs in reaching his verdict. The accused man received fines for trespass, damaging property of the SECV and for the charge of unlawful assault he was imprisoned …
“A third charge of being a rogue and a vagabond and being on an enclosed area without lawful excuse…..(he) was given six months imprisonment with hard labour.” Traralgon Record June 4th 1931.

8. One of Yallourn’s best-known police officers of that era, Snr Constable W.M. Collier, was stationed at Yallourn for 12 years. Mr Collier was the police prosecutor in the above hearing and presented the case against the defendant.

9. Senior-Constable Collier was praised for his brave actions in rescuing the Brock family (and others) during the unprecedented flooding in the area in December 1934.

10. Snr Constable Collier was held in high regard throughout Yallourn and district. He later gained promotion to the rank of 1st Class Sergeant and transferred to Russell Street, Melbourne, in June 1939. In one newspaper report he was described as…
“He (Mr Collier) was stationed in an industrial centre where a lot of tact and ability was required, and in this respect Sergeant Collier had distinguished himself, and he ventured to say that he was esteemed and respected by men he had prosecuted, as well as by all other sections of the community, because in doing his duty he had been straight and fair and never took an unfair advantage of anyone. Source: ‘Morwell Advertiser’ July 6th 1939

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 September 2019.

The above extract from the ‘Weekly Times’ 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.

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS - 1933 - Yallourn - A Sporting Centre For All

Submitted by Julie George on Tue, 03/09/2019 - 16:53

YALLOURN - A SPORTING CENTRE FOR ALL

INTRODUCTION – BACKGROUND TO THE GARDEN TOWN OF YALLOURN
When the report entitled ‘The Establishment of a Township at Yallourn’ was tabled in 1921, the strong emphasis placed in planning for parks, gardens, tree-lined streets, children’s playgrounds and sports grounds in the ‘scheme of things’ was a significant step in Australian town planning.

The SEC’s Chief Architect was *Mr A.R. La Gerche (see footnotes); and he based his plans for Yallourn along the lines of other model industrial garden towns such as Letchworth and Welwyn in the UK. As history shows, Sir John Monash backed the concept of a ‘garden town’ with zeal and his support added great weight to Mr La Gerche’s blueprint…

“Situated on a hillside in full view of an amphitheatre of beautiful hills, residence in Yallourn should be nearly as ideal as possible to make.” Source: Meredith Fletcher in her book ‘Digging People up for Coal’ page 8.

Sir John Monash deserves enduring praise for his drive (despite frequent trenchant criticism from certain quarters) in bringing the project of Yallourn to fruition. At that time in Australian history, Sir John’s accomplishment, in overseeing the development of such a town, for the workers and their families, was avant-garde…
“ …an extraordinary chapter in Australian history when a beautifully designed garden city, with a thriving community of about a thousand families…Yallourn was a model town in Victoria's Latrobe Valley, unique in Australia's planning history. But today it exists only in the memories of those who lived there. Built in the 1920s by the State Electricity Commission to house its brown coal miners in ideal conditions…” Source: ‘ABC Radio National’ June 2008.

One of the most striking aspects of the garden town/model of Yallourn was the provision of outstanding sporting facilities as described in the ‘Sporting Globe’ in July 1933 as printed below. As an historical record of Yallourn, the newspaper extract is significant because it lists the names of some well-known sporting personalities of those times.

The extract also underlines the rapid progress that had been made in establishing the township and highlights the role that sport played in building community involvement and spirit.

Within two decades of settlement, Yallourn’s sporting fields became the envy of all and set the bench mark for all country towns.

Note: Such was the standard of the main oval at Yallourn that a VFL match, between Footscray and St Kilda, took place there in June 1952; and three years later the touring English cricket team, led by Sir Len Hutton, played against a combined Gippsland XI at the same venue.

‘The Argus’ article is testimony to A.R. Gerche’s vision and Sir John’s Monash dynamism; and the fact that such a glowing report could be written, just 12 years after the first sod had been turned in the Yallourn Project, is astonishing.

________________________________________

JULY 26TH 1933 SPORTING GLOBE PAGE 12

CONDUCTED ON LAVISH LINES
Yallourn a Great Sporting Centre
YALLOURN, vortex of the State's mighty lighting and power system, presents an astounding and gigantic spectacle to the layman. From a placid and out-of-the-way little hamlet Yallourn has in the last eight or nine years, grown to a beautiful residential area that has the appearance of Suburbia, but with picturesque and typically Australian bush surroundings.

Too stupendous for description by the layman's pen are the Commission’s works - the powerhouse, briquette works and brickworks. From the open cut more than 12 million tons of coal have been extracted since 1924 - merely a nibble from the vast resources.

Here sport is conducted on almost lavish lines. The happy and sociable community of 3000 inhabitants have shown wonderful enterprise in this direction, making Yallourn a veritable playground for their leisure moments.

Two excellent sports ovals, tennis courts, bowling greens, swimming pools, cricket, golf, football and rifle clubs, speak volumes for the activities of the sporting fraternity. Behind all these organisations is the popular and highly respected general superintendent, Mr. J. M. Bridge, whose word is law in Yallourn. No man ever had the happiness of a community more at heart and his interest in all sporting affairs has been largely responsible for their success. Mr. Bridge is primarily connected with the Moe and Yallourn Trotting and Racing Club, of which he is president.
Mr R. D. Dixon, assistant general superintendent, has been quite as active in his interests, and a patron of all sport the town. He is at Bendigo at present.

LIBERAL FEE
The annual subscription of 25/- entitles members of the tennis club to play at all hours, on the electrically-lit courts, and includes a free supply of balls.

This club, with a membership of 120, has three teams entered in the Central Gippsland Association, a competition which embraces eight other towns. H. M. Ashley, club president, is past president of the association. H. Martin was one of the founders of the club, and is an energetic official.

Mead Cox, president of the Cricket Association, captains the Yallourn team, and also skippered the district team that won the B-grade pennant against Dunmunkle in the finals of Country Cricket Week in 1928.

In 1931 Yallourn played with Traralgon in the final and drew with Warrnambool. Two old-time stalwarts are Freddie Rusden and Doug Thomson. Doug, played football with St. Kilda in 1918. D.J. Alston, one of the founders of the Association, is a life member, and held the presidency for three years.

FIRST SECRETARY
With V. C. Colvin, he originated the scheme for the bowling club, and was its first secretary, a position now occupied by Jock Lawson. With six electrically lit rinks of perfect green, the club is modern in layout and numbers a membership of 80.

One of the most popular and esteemed sportsmen in Gippsland is W.H. ‘Dad’ Brewer – father of sport in Yallourn. ‘Dad’, one of the foundation members is president, a position he has held since its inception in 1923 —a past president of the football club and football and cricket associations.

Mr Brewer arrived first arrived in Yallourn shortly after the turning of the first sod in the open cut and his other many sporting connections include vice president of the gun club and member od the Sports Oval Trust.

Premiers in the Central Gippsland Association in 1931, Yallourn Football Club entered the Gippsland League last season and again secured the premiership, losing only one match throughout the season. S. E. Comber, a prominent player, is the club's capable secretary.

G. D. Jones, captain of the golf club last year, and original secretary, is the greatest worker of that body, and laid out the attractive nine-hole course. An additional three holes are at present being included - a rather Herculean task as the ground must be cleared of scrub and ploughed. The sand greens arc claimed to be equal to the famous Bendigo greens.
A strong Rifle Club is captained by Jim Garvin, a prominent shot at local and metropolitan fixtures.

DELIGHTFUL POOL
A delightful swimming pool attracts great numbers on hot days and was recently the venue of some of Australia’s leading swimmers on the occasion of the Yallourn Club's carnival on Jan. 7. A pool of Olympic dimensions is in course of construction in the heart of the town.

Other identities include Don W. Neil a supporter of bowls and cricket, and incidentally the driving force in the local orchestra - and Dixon Brown, a generous patron whose gifts of trophies to sporting bodies have been an added incentive to the performers in their various spheres.

Winner of a £200 special prize in The Herald Ideal Town Competition, it is small wonder that Yallourn conducts itself so meritoriously in all it undertakes in the Sporting World.

FOOTNOTES
1. The original article was difficult to read in places and my apologies for any errors in transcription (Roger).
2. Mr La Gerche was the SEC’s Chief Architect from 1919 until 1937. In some texts he is known as Alan but there is evidence to suggest that his name may have been Alfred Romeo (see footnote: 3).
3. Readers interested in the life and times of A.R. La Gerche may also enjoy reading about an architect who was/is quite an ‘unsung hero’ in the story of Yallourn. Mr William Elliot Gower (1898- 1996) was an adroit architect who played a principal role in the design and construction of the township of Yallourn. His story can be found on a website called ‘Built Heritage.com .au’ …
“ Working under Alfred Romeo La Gerche (1873-1948), who was Chief Architect to the SEC, “Gower and his colleagues were involved not only in the layout of the township ( Yallourn ) itself but also the design of virtually all of the buildings therein, from individual dwellings through to administrative offices and commercial facilities. Amongst the structures for which Gower can take design credit were a memorial to Sir John Monash……the new township's picture theatre. The last of these projects was widely published at the time and later caught the attention of a young Robin Boyd, who praised it in the pages of his first book, Victorian Modern (1947).”
4. ‘The Argus’ newspaper article was accompanied by the sketch (as shown above) of some of Yallourn’s sporting personalities as mentioned in the ‘Sporting Globe’ article including… J.M. Bridge, Dixon Brown, G.D Jones, Jim Garvin, H. Martin , Doug Thomson, Mead Cox, Fred Rusden, ‘Dad’ Brewer, S.E. Comber, Don. W. Neil, R.D. Dixon, Jock Lawson and H.M. Ashley.
5. The newspaper article was published just two years after the death of Sir John Monash; and Sir John’s family would have been most gratified and indeed proud to have read the complimentary words as penned by the unidentified journalist of the ‘Sporting Globe.’
6. Not a story about the playing fields of Yallourn could be complete without mention of Mr Jock Lawson and his dedicated staff…
“ The people of Yallourn were chuffed that the Australian Cricket Board had chosen ‘their oval’ as the venue for the tour match; and it is fair to say that Dick and Ken were ‘local heroes’ around town.
The visit by Len Hutton’s team generated a deal of interest in Yallourn; and, as a consequence, there were several articles regarding the town and the picturesque oval in the local and metropolitan newspapers.
Yallourn’s Curator of Parks and Gardens, Jock Lawson, received accolades for the outstanding job that he (and his staff) had done in preparing the turf pitch, outfield and surrounds …
“The English cricketers, visiting pressmen and commentators, Australian and international, had nothing but praise for the Yallourn Oval, which they described as the best country ground they have ever seen on tour.” ‘Morwell Advertiser.’
In 1970, Jock Lawson was awarded an MBE for his services to the town of Yallourn; and he will always be remembered, by cricket lovers far and wide, for the world-class standards of the pitch and outfield for the match that year.” Source: Virtual Yallourn website article (January 2018).
7. Most former residents would concur that Yallourn was an exceptional place to live as it appeared that there always ‘some game to play’ or ‘some organization to join’ to enhance the lives of families.
8. There were ‘sports of all sorts’ and the friendships and fun that emanated from the various sporting clubs of Yallourn are still spoken about with pride today (eg Veronica Lacey’s wonderful recollections of the Yallourn Hockey Club or Lois Gust’s vivid memories of swimming for Yallourn - see this website).
9. It wasn’t just the major sports (football, cricket, swimming tennis, soccer) that were well organized and patronized. With the rapid growth in the town’s population, after World War: 11, other sports such as badminton, croquet, boxing, hockey, marching (girls), softball, vigaro, water polo and rifle shooting flourished and became popular pastimes for the residents of Yallourn.
10. For those people interested to read more about the available sports and the celebrities of Yallourn teams/clubs simply click the tab ‘Groups’ at the top of this page. The various articles and photographs related to swimming, athletics, hockey, cricket, vigaro, soccer, football, tennis, badminton, basketball and rifle shooting will further underscore the reason why Yallourn was somewhat of a ‘sporting citadel.’

The research and writing was undertaken by Roger Spaull; and the posting and presentation of photographs and of this article were completed by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in August 2019.

The above extract from the ‘Sporting Globe’ 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.

IMAGES OF YALLOURN - 1978 - The Third YOGA (Yallourn Association) Meeting

Submitted by Julie George on Wed, 28/08/2019 - 11:36
Year
1978

1978 - THE THIRD YOGA REUNION

This photograph was taken at the third gathering of the Yallourn High School ‘Old Girls’ (as it was then known) which was held on March 4th 1978. It was published in the ‘Contact’ Magazine (March edition-1978). On that occasion, the reunion was held at the Latrobe Valley Visitors’ Centre in Morwell.

Those pictured above are:
Back Row: Winnie Watkinson, Nita Spittall, Joan Harris, George Bates, Val Kerr, Tess Whitehead, Nell Hewitt, Maidi Smith
Front Row: Sonja Bates, Nola Trethowan, Charles Trethowan, Lucy Crowe

Save Yallourn

Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 09/08/2019 - 15:52
Relationship

The final Save Yallourn Committee was the President, Joe Dell, Treasury, Honor Crane, and Secretary, Ted Hopkins. The two boxes of the entire information of Save Yallourn Committee was provided to me. As such, the boxes were placed in a shed of Greville Street 48-54 accommodation and offset printing places. A terrible problem occurred when the shed and boxes were fire burned (1979?). Just a selection of items were still available for the SLV and my residence.
....Ted Hopkins 2019

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS - 1940 - Charles Burton Boehm

Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 19/07/2019 - 15:29

1940 - CHARLES BURTON BOEHM

Charles Burton Boehm came to Yallourn in 1922 following his period of service in the Royal Australian Navy during World War: I; and he worked with the SECV until his retirement in 1950. During those years, as a resident of Yallourn, he served on a long list of sporting and social committees with indefatigable enthusiasm.

The following article was published in ‘The Argus’ in November 1940 and deals with Mr Boehm’s appointment as the Engineer in Charge of Briquette Production at Yallourn. The article is also interesting because it provides some insight into Charles’ background prior to his arrival in Yallourn.

Note: The footnotes accompanying this article attempt to provide some measure of Charles’ disposition to serve as an office bearer in various Yallourn organizations.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOVEMBER 1st 1940 ‘THE ARGUS’ PAGE: 6

PRODUCTION OF BRIQUETTES
Mr. C. B. Boehm's Post

Mr. C. B. Boehm has been appointed engineer in charge of briquette production of the State Electricity Commission. Mr. Boehm joined the commission in 1922, and was appointed manager of the briquette factory at Yallourn in 1924.

Briquettes were placed on the Victorian market in December 1924, and he has superintended the manufacture of this fuel from the production of the first briquette at the experimental factory (when the output was only 300 tons a day) to the present commercial production, with an output of 1,200 tons a day, seven days a week.

Mr. Boehm is a native of Williamstown, but he received most of his engineering education abroad, and holds the Diploma of Mechanical Engineering. A returned soldier, he is one of the original members of the Yallourn branch of the R.S.L. of
which he has been chairman for the last three years. He has been chairman of the S.E.C. Safety Council since its inception.

FOOTNOTES REGARDING CHARLES BOEHM

1. A search of the family name ‘Boehm’ uncovered that Herman Bohm /Boehm was born in 1853 at Newmark in Prussia (now present-day Northern Germany-Poland). He sailed from Hamburg on 11th May 1879, aboard the vessel ‘The Sophie’, which docked in Adelaide on the 22 August 1879. Herman was listed as being a cabinetmaker. There is no direct evidence that Herman was related to Charles and it is difficult to trace Charles Boehm’s date of birth and lineage.

2. A search of the Nominal Roll of World War: I failed to throw any further light on Charles Boehm’s service record. Of the six family names of ‘Boehm’ registered on the roll, the name Charles Burton does not appear. However, a lone source of information states that Charles Boehm served with the Royal Australian Navy in New Guinea and with the AIF in France.

3. There is no existing proof, but perhaps it was in France that Charles Boehm first crossed paths with General John Monash who was in command of the 3rd Division AIF in 1916. General Monash later took charge of Australian Corps in 1918.

4. Newspaper articles, which refer to Mr Boehm, can be traced as far back as 1927. One item in May that year, reported that Mr Boehm had travelled to Germany on a fact-finding mission regarding the techniques of briquette production. Further research on Charles’ trip to Europe (above) uncovered the fact that Sir John Monash had specifically directed Charles to…
“…make himself conversant with the technicalities associated with factory equipment.” ‘Daily Standard ‘(Brisbane) January 18th 1927.

5. In her book ‘Yallourn Was‘, Prue McGoldrick states that…
“For many years he (Charles) made a daily round to talk with each man in the briquette factory ….Acutely aware of the inherent danger of factory explosions from the fine coal dust-from briquette making-and in lieu of danger money, he set up a compensation fund of one penny per week each week.” Page: 178.

6. Charles Boehm was president of the Yallourn SEC Athletic Club in 1933; and it is known that he played a leading role in organizing a night of weight-lifting, boxing and wrestling at the St John’s Hall in July that year…
“S.E.C. Athletic Club…On Friday evening last in St. John's Hall, a most appreciative audience witnessed a display of weight lifting, wrestling and boxing which was without doubt the best entertainment of its kind ever held at Yallourn. The Melbourne Branch of the S.E.C. Athletic Club were represented by some 25 of the finest sportsmen one would ever wish to meet ...” ‘Morwell Advertiser’ July 20th 1933.

7. Charles was, at one time, the President of the Yallourn Orchestral Society.

8. In 1930, Charles was the SECV appointee on the recreation reserves/ovals that were used by the various sporting bodies of Yallourn.

9. Charles was founding member of the Yallourn Band Committee which came into being in November 1925. The Patrons of the Yallourn Band were Sir John Monash and C.H. Kernot. Charles had a lengthy involvement in the town band and the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ reported that was elected President of the Yallourn and District Band in 1934.

10. In 1934, Charles Boehm played a leading role in outlining the production of briquettes to a group of visiting engineers from the Australian institute of Engineers. The meeting/forum was held at the Yallourn Fire Brigade Hall.

11. Charles also represented Yallourn RSL at the Gippsland Bridge (cards) Championship which was held at Yallourn in 1935. It appears as though teams from various towns throughout Gippsland participated in the event and the winning team received a silver cup, which was donated by *Fred Hesse Pty Ltd.
*Note: Fred Hesse took over Sharpe’s Emporium in Traralgon in 1932. Fred Hesse was a well city-based known tailor.

12. Charles Boehm was mentioned in ‘The Age’ when he was elected to Civic Association of Yallourn in 1935. The Civic Association was the first-ever body in Yallourn to represent the residents in discussions and negotiations with the SECV regarding civic matters…
“The Initial election of councillors to the newly formed Civic Association resulted:- Dr. J. Moore-Andrew, Messr: Beanland, C. B. Boehm, A. J. Ross, W. P. Brown, L. K. Warfe, W. K. Murray, W. H. Brewer, C. J. Poglar, A. M. Rudge, Rev. E Franklin-Cooper, and Mrs. II.- Taylor. The council has chosen Mr. C. H. Beanland president, and Messrs. Murray and Ross secretary and treasurer, respectively. Matters which are to receive the early attention of the council include reduction of local electric light charges, house rents, town hall, sewerage for township, street lighting and the establishment of a bureau for the registering of entertainments.” ‘The Age 11th December 1935. page 16.

13. 1935 was an extremely busy year for Charles as he was elected to the position of President of the Yallourn Football Club. In a somewhat disappointing end to that season, Maffra defeated Yallourn in a thrilling Grand Final at Sale. One of the great stalwarts of the YFC, Peter O’Neill, was the club captain that season.

14. As mentioned above, Charles was elected President of the Yallourn RSL sometime in the late 1930’s; and, among his other duties, he played a pivotal role in caring for returned servicemen and their families. It is believed that Charles Boehm served as President of the Yallourn RSL until 1944.

15. In 1937, Charles was elected president of Yallourn First Aid club….
“A first aid club has been formed at the briquette factory. Three months' courses will be held, and at the end of each quarter there will be examinations. Officers elected were: President: Mr C. Boehm. Vice-Presidents: Mr H. G. Nairn. Honorary Secretary: Mr H. Graham. Hon. Instructor: Mr F. Nunweek.” Morwell Advertiser August 5th 1937

16. Charles was again elected President of the Yallourn Swimming & Life Saving Club in 1939…
“Mr C. B. Boehm was elected president for the fourth successive year” ‘Weekly Times’ November 18th 1939.

17. He also attained a peculiar title of ‘King of the Army’; and the following newspaper extract may help to explain his so-called ‘crowning’ at the Yallourn Ball in 1941...
“…At the coronation ball in the Military Hall, Yallourn, attended by more than 500 guests, the king of the army, Mr. C. Boehm, was announced winner of the three king carnival. Lieut. McDonald as king of the air force, was second; Mr. E. Given, king of the navy, third. About £500 raised at the carnival will be donated to patriotic funds.” ‘The Age’ September 6th 1941.

18. In his capacity of Chairman of the School Council, Charles was a keynote speaker at the official opening of the new buildings at the Yallourn Technical School in 1942. The new additions to the school included a science laboratory, clay modelling room, sheet metal and electrical wiring workshops.

19. It is reported in several sources that Charles was an active member of the Yallourn and Morwell Gun Club.

20. Charles made the news when he gave evidence before Judge Streeton at the enquiry into the fires in the Open Cut in 1944…
“ High praise for the manner in which the staff of the briquetting factory at the Yallourn open cut worked to prevent the fires extending to that part of the under- taking on February 14, was expressed by Charles Burton Boehm, engineer in charge of briquette production, when the inquiry into the Yallourn fires was continued today before Judge Stretton, Royal Commissioner. Mr Boehm said that his experience on that day had confirmed his conviction that the fire-fighting measures in the area under his control were sound. and he did not think they could be improved upon.” ‘The Argus’ March 4th 1944.

21. In April 1946, Charles gave an address at the Morwell Rotary Club in which he outlined the extent of coal deposits in the Maryvale area. In his speech, he cited the following interesting contrast between coal, won at the Yallourn mine, compared to that at Morwell…
“It takes four tons of raw Yallourn coal to make one ton of briquettes, while three tons of Morwell coal will make the same quantity. The Melbourne market consumes at present 4,000 tons of briquettes daily, but this consumption; rate' will probably increase in 15 years to. 8-10,000 tons a day. The Morwell plan will cost £12,000,000. and the life of the plant is estimated at 40 years.” ‘Morwell Advertiser’ April 11th 1946

22. On October 7th 1948, the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ carried a most comprehensive article which ran to more than 2000 words about Charles Boehm. The banner headline stated… ‘Yallourn Diggers Farewell C.B Boehm…Affectionate Tributes from Old Comrades’.
Included in that newspaper report was Charles’ response to a presentation that was made to him on that auspicious occasion…
“Mr. Boehm, whose rising was greeted with sustained applause, expressed his sincere appreciation of the night and the opportunity to partake of the atmosphere of the club. He could not recall ever having felt so embarrassed. On many other occasions, he had made the presentations and the speeches, but on that night the positions were reversed. ….He had been one of the fortunate ones and, because of that there was no need to be harsh towards others not so fortunately placed. Every' self-respecting man and digger would have done the same. He had always taken the view that he worked with men and not over them. No great praise was due to him for helping diggers.”

23. According to records of the State Records of NSW it documented that Charles Burton Boehm died on 7th 1965. Further, the archives at the State Library of Victoria, indicate that Charles had lived at Merimbula in later years and passed away the Bega Hospital.
A FINAL TRIBUTE TO CHARLES BY PRUE MCGOLDRICK
Prue McGoldrick’s tribute, regarding the contribution that Charles Burton Boehm made to the workers at the briquette factory and the people of Yallourn, is a succinct summary of a man who gave much to the town…
“His (Charles Boehm) influence and the common danger shared with his men, helped build a great family spirit among briquette factory personnel. When he retired in 1950, he had also taken a leading part in the social and sporting activities of the town.” ‘Yallourn Was’ Page: 178.

APOLOGIES & CAN YOU HELP?
1. The digital copy of the above newspaper extract was extremely difficult to read and apologies for any spelling errors of family names in the above footnotes.
2. Every attempt has been made to verify the above footnotes about Charles Boehm, particularly about his military service and family background. Any further information and clarification about his life would be welcomed.
3. Despite an extensive search of several of texts (including references at the State Library of Victoria), a photograph of Charles Boehm could not be found for this article. It is hard to believe that a photo of such a notable figure in Yallourn’s history cannot be found. Hopefully, a reader of this story may be able to assist in forwarding a photo of Charles to Julie for posting on the website.
4. Special thanks to Kylie Best at the State Library of Victoria for her thorough and painstaking efforts in trying to secure a photo of Charles for Virtual Yallourn-it was greatly appreciated. (Roger and Julie).
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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 were undertaken by Roger Spaull; and the posting and presentation of photographs and of this article were completed by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in July 2019.
The above extract from the ‘The Argus’ 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.

IMAGES OF YALLOURN - 1945 - Brigadier John Field 1899-1974

Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 05/07/2019 - 16:02
Year
1945
Relationship

Caption: ‘As the officer escort for Japanese military and naval commanders at the official surrender ceremony at Torokina, New Guinea on September 8th 1945.’

This rarely seen photograph is part of an article in a ‘Contact’ magazine related to the life of Brigadier John Field. Brigadier Field was the General Superintendent of the Latrobe Valley Region of the SECV from 1951-1964 and a resident of Yallourn (at 23 Reservoir Road) for many years.

To read more about Brigadier John Field and the ‘Yallourn connection’:

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS - 1930 - Yallourn's Gloomchasers Orchestra & Jock Sloan

Submitted by Julie George on Thu, 27/06/2019 - 13:47

YALLOURN’S GLOOMCHASERS ORCHESTRA & JOCK SLOAN

The following brief advertisement was published in ‘The Advocate’ in 1930; and refers to a popular local orchestra known as ‘The Gloomchasers’ being the main attraction at Yallourn Catholic Church’s Annual Ball.

The background information regarding the Gloomchasers is interesting; and underlines how the group became ‘much sought-after’ for social functions throughout the district. The Gloomchasers Orchestra played a major role in the social gatherings in Yallourn and other nearby towns during those years.

The orchestra was established sometime in the late 1920’s. The name of the group may have originated from the type of music that endeavored to chase away the gloom that burdened so many people during those austere times of the Great Depression.

The footnotes, which accompany this article, attempt to provide some background information regarding the death of a local musician named Jock Sloan. Jock appears to have been a popular figure in the Gloomchasers and a vibrant personality in and around Yallourn.

September 25th 1930 ‘ THE ADVOCATE’ Page: 25
YALLOURN. On Tuesday next, the Annual Catholic ball will be held at Yallourn, when a record attendance is expected. The committee has engaged the services of the famous ‘Gloomchasers’ orchestra, which has become so popular at functions of this kind.
The catering arrangements are being planned on a lavish scale by the ladies' committee. Secretarial duties will be in the hands of Mr. A. V. Slater.

FOOTNOTES
1. ‘The Advocate’ was a Melbourne based newspaper that was first published in 1868. It was once described as the ‘Australian Illustrated Weekly’ with a major emphasis upon news from Ireland and, in later years, it was published for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.
2. The first documented record of the Yallourn Gloomchasers Orchestra (or band as it was sometimes called) was in February 1929 when the group performed at the Morwell Ladies’ Croquet Club Grand Ball at the Mechanics Hall….
“The hall was tastefully decorated, the floor in excellent order and good music provided by the "Gloom chasers" Orchestra of Yallourn. Supper, provided by Meadows, was served and nothing was left undone to ensure all present spending an enjoyable time.” Source: ‘The Morwell Advertiser.’ 1st March 1929.
3. It seems that the orchestra was well-accepted for its entertainment value and, according to the newspaper reports of the time, had a steady stream of bookings for functions in Yallourn and the surrounding district.
4. Advertisements of that era highlighted that the orchestra could provide music for both old time and modern dancing. Perhaps the size of the group depended on: (i) The nature of the event and (ii) How much local clubs and organizations could afford to pay for professional musicians in those grim times. It is difficult to establish the number of members in the group and the complete range of instruments that they played. In those days, most bands comprised at least a piano, drum, accordion and perhaps a wind instrument (eg saxophone).
5. From studying the papers of that era, it was discovered that the orchestra played at various clubs and venues throughout Gippsland including…
• Trafalgar Rovers Football Club Annual Ball
• Morwell Tennis Club Ball
• The Hibernian Ball
• Morwell Spinsters at Home Gathering
• St Theresa’s Church Hall - fund raising dances at Yallourn
• Yallourn Football Club End of Season Ball
• Mirboo South Grand Ball
• The ANA dances at the Yallourn Fire Brigade Hall
• Brown Coal Mine dances
• The Yinnar Wanderers Football Club Annual Ball
• St Mary’s Church of England Building Fund Grand Ball (Morwell)
6. The list goes on; and documented reports, from the various functions, indicate that the orchestra always gave spirited and energetic performances. One press report described the music of the orchestra as ‘delightful’ while another comment was ‘excellent.’
7. It is known that the Gloomchasers Orchestra and another local musical group called ‘The Sundowners’ provided continuous dance music, from 8.30pm until 2.30am, at the Foundation Ball of the Australian Natives Association which was held at the St John’s Hall in Yallourn in January 1933.
8. One of the special events at which the orchestra featured was the Yallourn Grand Charity Ball in October 1930. The function was organised by the Yallourn and Brown Coal Mine Benevolent and Distress Society and all proceeds were donated to those local residents who suffered hardship (ie due to unemployment). The evening was a resounding success and the Gloomchasers Orchestra, together with the Yallourn Brass Band, received great praise for their contribution in assisting the organizers to raise more £140.0.0 (pounds)….
“The "Gloomchasers" Orchestra afterwards took up the strains and modern and old-time dancing was indulged in to excellent ta music provided by them till the early hours of the morning.” Source: ‘The Morwell Advertiser.’ 31st October 1930.
9. There is no evidence to support the following idea but perhaps there were many talented musicians among the hundreds of men in the camps at that time.
10. The names of the musicians were difficult to uncover but it is known that one of the principal members of the Gloomchasers, in earlier times, was a young man named Jock Sloan. Unfortunately, Jock died in the most tragic of circumstances. On the morning of 20th August 1930, Jock was hit by a train while crossing the railway line on his way to work one morning near the Yallourn Power House …
“Jock passed away, death being due to internal injuries. Deceased, who was 22 years of age, was a member of the well-known Yallourn Gloomchasers Orchestra, whose services have been much in demand for some considerable time past-both at home and abroad. He was also a member of the Morwell football team and took part in second semi-final match played at Mirboo North, on Saturday last. He was a sober, industrious young man, and was held in high esteem by all with whom he came in contact.”
11. Furthermore, in the same article…
“Much sympathy is expressed for the deceased's father and brothers in their sad and sudden bereavement. The coffin was carried from hearse to grave by members of "Gloomchasers" Orchestra, whilst the President, Secretary and other members of Morwell Football Club were the pall bearers. Among the many floral tributes were beautiful wreaths from Morwell Football Club, Gloomchasers Orchestra, Comrades, and others.” Source: ‘The Morwell Advertiser’ August 22nd 1930.
12. ‘In Memoriam’ notices, regarding Jock’s passing, were placed in local papers in 1932 and 1933. The 1933 notice read as follows…
“In Memoriam SLOAN. In fond remembrance of our much-loved comrade and esteemed member of our orchestra-Jock Sloan, who passed away on August 20th, 1930. “Gone but not Forgotten." -Inserted by members of the Gloomchasers Orchestra, Yallourn. Thanks.” Source: ‘The Morwell Advertiser.’ 24th August 1933.
13. There appears to be no obvious references to the Gloomchasers Orchestra in Gippsland newspapers after 1934. However, the same name ‘crops up’ again in an item published in the Crookwell CWA Gazette in 1937…
“In 1937 ….A baby show and C.W.A ball were held to raise funds for the rest room. The "Gloomchasers" orchestra was engaged for the ball. (What a lovely name for an orchestra, particularly considering the state of the economy at that time!)”
Note: Crookwell is a small town located on the Southern Tablelands of NSW about 240km South-West of Sydney.
14. The name Gloomchasers Orchestra appears regularly in various New South Wales newspapers in the period 1920-50. It seems fair to suggest that there was more than one Gloomchasers Orchestras.
15. ‘Gloomchasers’ is also the name given to a band that was formed by Australian guitarist Nic Dalton (born 1964).

CAN YOU HELP WITH FURTHER INFORMATION?
Jock Sloan was the eldest son of Mr D. Sloan (a Yallourn resident). Perhaps relatives or friends of the Sloan family may be able to add to the above story of the Gloomchasers Orchestra. Please contact Julie if you can provide further information for the website. Thank you.

The footnotes for this story were researched and written by Roger Spaull and the article was presented and posted by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in June 2019. The above advertisement from ‘The Advocate’ in 1930 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.

IMAGES OF YALLOURN - Stan Brown & Doug Brown - Yallourn Football Club & Yallourn Tennis Club

Submitted by Julie George on Tue, 11/06/2019 - 12:06

STAN & DOUG BROWN

The first photograph (taken in 1969) shows a former popular sporting identity of Yallourn, Stan Brown with his son, Doug. Stan Brown was a star for Yallourn Football Club and played in the club’s last premiership in 1948. That season, Stan won the Kevin Comber award for the Most Improved Player.

Stan won a string of awards at YFC including the Most Consistent Player trophy in 1954 which was the inaugural (and momentous) season of the Latrobe Valley Football League.