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.


The Fewster Family

Submitted by Lindsay Fewster on Thu, 06/06/2019 - 10:22

The Fewster family moved to Yallourn in the early 1920's. Arthur William Edson Fewster and his wife Hilda Isabell Fewster, along with their six children, the youngest being Alfred Lewis (my father). AWE had served in WW1 as a lieutenant in the Australian Army and then settled in Warragul before moving on to Yallourn as an Engineer. When AWE and hilda arrived they were moved into 8 Northway. AWE was very involved with the progress of the town and a great orchid grower having a large hot house and glass house on the property.

Yallourn Hockey Club YHC - The Beginnings and Inaugural Minutes by Veronica Lacey

Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 31/05/2019 - 15:11

The ‘beginnings’ of YALLOURN HOCKEY CLUB by Veronica Lacey – 1.3.2017
The following article is a brief account of Yallourn Hockey Club which includes available information up to approximately 1984.
The Yallourn Hockey Club was formed in 1956 as a result of the Morwell “Golds” Hockey team (a High School team led by teacher, Mr. Nicholls) resolving to form an independent team and affiliate with the Traralgon Women’s Hockey Association (later becoming the Latrobe Valley Women’s Hockey Association (LVWHA).
Note: The minutes of the Inaugural meeting and following meetings are supplied.
• Life Members of the Club:
Mr. Ted Polkinghorne (1965), Veronica Lacey and Janice Houston (1978)
• Winners of many L.V. Premierships:
“A” Grade Premierships: 1957, 1972,1975, 1977,1978,1979,1980,1981 &1983
“B” Grade Premierships: 1976, 1978,1979
“C” Grade Premierships: 1976, 1979
The Yallourn Town Advisory Council held a Civic Reception for the Club in 1979 in honour of winning all three Premierships, presenting all players with an individual pennant.
• Yallourn players featured in LVWHA Best & Fairest Awards:
The first “A” Grade winner was star winger Pat Middlemiss in 1969, Val Harrigan, Judy Mitchell, Veronica Lacey, Bev Malpass, Jill Williams (Dolphin), Leonie Baxter, Julie Smith (Lacey)
• LVWHA Lightning Premierships:
“A” Grade: 1963,1964,1969,1978 1979,1981,1982 &1983
“B” Grade: 1962,1964,1978,1980 &1982
“C” Grade: 1982
Yallourn regularly entered a team in the Victorian Country Week, winning “C” Grade in 1959, until LVWHA teams were entered.
Many Yallourn players were selected for LVWH Association teams to compete in Country Week, Country Carnival, Inter-Zone Championships and Junior and Senior State & Country teams.
Apart from long term coach, Ted Polkinghorne, Veronica Lacey and Janice Houston held coaching and selectors positions for LV teams.
The Yallourn team were Runners-up to Geelong in the prestigious 1983 Victory Cup losing 1-0.
• Yallourn members have been regulars on the Latrobe Valley Association’s list of Office-Bearers.
Association Presidents include Mr. Ted Polkinghorne (‘65/66), Janice McHenry (‘61), Lesley Grebe (72/73), Anne Stewart (78/79) and Di Kennedy (?).
Association Secretary: Veronica Lacey (72-74 & 80-83), Julie Lacey (?)
Association Treasurer: Veronica Lacey (72-79), Julie Lacey (?)
Match Secretary: Ted Polkinghorne (66-75), Gordon & Anne Stewart (76-80), Dianne Kennedy
Umpires’ Convenor: Gordon Stewart (81-83)
Victorian Country Week Secretary: Veronica Lacey (’82 &83)
• LVWHA Life Members: Mr. Ted Polkinghorne (1967), Veronica Lacey (1976), Gordon Stewart, Janice Houston (1984) and Julie Smith (Lacey)
More details of teams, players and dates will be posted when these can be confirmed by minutes or photos, however at the moment I can only confirm up to 1984.

Minutes of the Inaugural Meeting of Morwell Golds Hockey Team.
Held 9th November 1955 in Room 16, Yallourn High School.
Mr. Nicholls as Convenor in the chair.
Mr. Nicholls, Misses B. Gust, L. Gust, L. Gunn, M. Harry, R. Phillpot, A. Van der horst,
C. King, J. Rust, C. Stitson, O. Maconichie, J. Wallace, E. McConnell, S. McConnell, E. McLaren
After declaring the meeting open, Mr. Nicholls explained that the meeting was called to discuss the future of the Morwell “Golds” Hockey Team in respect to the 1956 season.
It was then moved by B. Gust and seconded by E. McLaren, that….”This meeting of members of the Morwell “Golds” Hockey Team of 1955 resolve to form an independent hockey club and to apply for affiliation with the Traralgon Women’s Hockey Association for 1956 season.”
The motion was carried.
It was moved by J. Rust and seconded by C. King that the membership shall at present, be open only to those who were regular playing members of the Morwell “Golds” Hockey team of the 1955 season and that the question of the admission of additional members be considered at the next General Meeting.
This motion was carried.
Moved by B. Gust and seconded E. McLaren, that “A President and Secretary be elected pro-tem” Officers for 1956 to be elected at an “Annual General Meeting.”
Election of President:
Nominations were then called for, for a President. They were as follows:
B. Gust - nominated by L. Gust, seconded by E. McLaren
E. McLaren - nominated by B. Gust, seconded by S. McConnell
S. McConnell - nominated by E. McLaren, seconded by L. Gunn
As a result of the subsequent ballot, B. Gust was declared elected and took the chair and called for nominations for Secretary.
Election of Secretary:
Nominations were as follows-
A. Van der Horst - nominated by R. Phillpot, seconded by C. King
E. McLaren - nominated by J. Wallace, seconded by J. Rust
S. McConnell - nominated by E. McLaren, seconded by O. Maconichie
As a result of the election which followed, E. McLaren was declared elected.
It was moved by L. Gust, seconded by J. Wallace, that the Annual General Meeting be held not later than March 1956.
This was carried.
It was moved by R. Phillpot, seconded by J. Wallace, that the President and Secretary prepare a draft Constitution for consideration at the next General Meeting.
This was carried.
It was also left to the President and Secretary to make inquiries for a ground on which to play.
The meeting was closed at 12:45pm.
Signed: E. McLaren (tem.sec)
B. Gust (President)

To read the Minutes of the General Meeting of the Yallourn Blues Hockey Club - March 1956 - please click on the title above and then click the pdf link below.

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS - 1945 - The Yallourn Women's National Emergency Fund (YWNEF) - Yallourn War Workers

Submitted by Julie George on Wed, 29/05/2019 - 12:05

The following article was published in a column entitled ‘Between Ourselves’ in the ‘Weekly Times’ in 1945. Someone simply known as ‘Margaret’ edited that particular page; and it seemed to be a potpourri of observations about celebrities and other snippets of news from ‘around the traps.’
Although the article is brief, it is an important item in the history of Yallourn as it highlights the work undertaken by the Yallourn Women’s National Emergency Fund during World War: II.
Little is known or has been written about the YWNEF and the footnotes, which accompany this story, attempt to explain the work of the organization in that period.
Note: In Queensland, the group was known as the Women’s National Emergency Legion.

The Yallourn Women’s National Emergency Fund has reason to be proud of its efforts for patriotic funds during the past six years. It held its first meeting on September 11, 1939 and recently disbanded, after raising £8260 for patriotic organisations.
As well as this excellent total, a large number of knitted goods have been distributed. One of the chief activities was the opportunity shop held each Friday in Yallourn, which raised £1765 in the two years. Sales during the past year amounted to £961. Since early in 1942, the fund has supported the Australian Comforts Fund to the extent of nearly £1000, and at its final meeting, the bank balance of £40 was donated to the A.C.F. Christmas Hamper Appeal.
During the fund's existence, Mrs R. A. Hunt was president and Mrs Drummond was secretary. Now that they have disbanded, the emergency fund members are planning to form a Red Cross branch, as they consider the work of Red Cross will continue for some years although the war emergency is past.

1. The Yallourn Women’s National Emergency Fund was most innovative in raising funds to assist troops. The YWNEF secured money via: (i) waste product collection, (ii) weekly contributions of residents, (iii) special events and (iv) street stalls.

2. It is recorded that the YWNEC distributed more than 3000 parcels to those serving in the armed forces and other worthy causes.

3. The total amount of money raised by the YWNEF was extraordinary (see the press cutting posted with this article). £8260 (pounds), as mentioned in the ‘Weekly Times’, is equivalent to $584,000 in today’s currency. It is a staggering amount for a country town to raise in six years.

4. In Prue McGoldrick’s book ‘Yallourn Was’ it is written that the final (ie at the end of the war) figure given for the amount of money raised by the YWNEF was £8795 (pounds) which equates to almost $622,000 in 2019.

5. According to the ‘The Argus’ (September 16th 1939; page: 7) the
Officers of the Yallourn Women's National Emergency Service in 1939 were:
• President: Mrs. R. A. Hunt.
• Vice-Presidents: Mesdames P. J. Armstrong, E. Dann and L. Oakley.
• Secretary: Mrs. B. T. Drummond.
• Treasurer: Mrs. T. E. McGowan.

6. In 1939, the Melbourne ‘Herald’ carried a headline: ‘3000 HAMPERS FOR MEN ON SERVICE FIRST BATCH ALREADY’ and listed among the donors was the Yallourn Branch of the Women’s National Emergency Service. On that occasion, the YWNEF forwarded £3.0.0 (pounds) to the Australian Comforts Fund.

7. On 19th December 1939, a recital was given by the pupils of Miss Irene Fregon in the Presbyterian Hall, Yallourn and all the funds, raised during the night, were in support of the Yallourn Women's National Emergency Fund.
Note: It appears that Miss Fregon was a member of the Music Teachers’ Association and was qualified to teach Pianoforte, Harmony, Musical Perception and Percussion. At that time, Miss Fregon’s business address was listed as 30 Hillside Yallourn.

8. In August 1940, the YWMEF contributed £25.0.0 to the Red Cross Drive. It is also known that the YWNEF forwarded donations to the Lord Mayor’s campaign during those years.

9. On the 8th May 1941, The Yallourn Orchestral and Choral Societies presented a Musical Comedy entitled ‘The O’Brien Girl’ at the Yallourn Theatre. Admission was 2/- (shillings) per ticket and the proceeds were to aid the Yallourn Women’s National Emergency Fund.

10. Another musical comedy to assist the War Effort was ‘The Dumb Waiter’ in 1942…
“…Yallourn Orchestral Society has great pleasure in announcing that the net proceeds of the performance of ‘A Dumb Waiter" recently staged at Yallourn was £101/5/7. This wonderful sum has been distributed equally with the Australian Defence League, the Yallourn sub-branch of the Returned Soldiers' League and Yallourn Women's National Emergency Fund…” Source: ‘Morwell Advertiser’ July 16th 1942. Page: 5

11. It is recorded that the Yallourn Band assisted in fund raising activities with the YWNEF.

12. During the disastrous bushfires of February 1944, the YWNEF received great praise for the support it gave to victims of the inferno. The fires that had swept across Gippsland and the Western District, caused a dreadful loss of life and property (with 32 people being killed and 700 homes razed to the ground)

13. Stories about the impact of the firestorm at Yallourn, Hernes Oak and Morwell Bridge were major news articles in all newspapers that month…
“RELIEF EFFORT AT YALLOURN Food, Clothing Distributed: YALLOURN, Friday— Bush fire local relief is well under way. The Yallourn women’s national emergency fund has readily responded to the urgent call by police and doctors to assist at the local hospital to cope with the emergency and are still functioning. They are also assisting by sending women to assist in periods of 8-hour shifts. Mobile canteens are operating at Morwell River and the open cut. They have also established a receiving centre at the R.S.S.A. I.L.A. hall for clothes for the fire refugees at Morwell Bridge and Hernes Oak.” Source: “’ The Age’ February 19th 1944; page 3

14. Mrs Hunt was the wife of the General Superintendent of the SECV at Yallourn, Mr Ralph Hunt. (He was later to be appointed to the position of Chairman of the SECV from 1949-1956). Mrs Hunt was a most active resident in the affairs and organizations of the township.

15. A story about the Drummond family, written by Mrs Ashmead, can be found on this website; and several photographs of the Dann family can also be seen on this website.

16. Mrs Jan Armstrong was a dynamic person in the history of Yallourn; and was renowned for her enduring work with the Yallourn Branch of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind for some forty years.

17. Mrs Armstrong was the Honorary Secretary of the Yallourn Branch of the RVIB for two decades. She appears to have been an indefatigable worker for many causes; and was the President of the Food for Britain Ladies’ Committee, which operated during the war years. Mrs Armstrong was also a devoted member of the Yallourn Methodist Church.

18. The caption under the photo (above) reads:
‘Committee of Yallourn Women's National Emergency Fund, which has sent 1380 parcels to local servicemen and women, and 2600 knitted garments for the Red Cross and A.C.F. : Mesdames B.T. Drummond (sec.), W.G. Monteith, R.A. Hunt (President), H.W. Lynch, R. McGowan (Treasurer), C. Tinker, C.M. Smith, C.T. Habich, E. Madden, W. Kerr, C.F. Jolliffe, L. Dann.”
Some of the names listed below the photograph were difficult to decipher and apologies for any errors made in transcription of family names. (Roger).
Source: ‘The Weekly Times’ August 11th 1943. Page: 11

The research and footnotes for this story were completed by Roger Spaull and presented-posted by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in May 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.

Yallourn War Workers

Submitted by Julie George on Wed, 29/05/2019 - 12:02

This rare photograph was unearthed in the ‘Weekly Times’ under the heading of ‘Yallourn War Workers.’
Caption: ‘ Committee of Yallourn Women's National Emergency Fund, which has sent 1380 parcels to local servicemen and women, and 2600 knitted garments for the Red Cross and A.C.F. : Mesdames B.T. Drummond (Sec.), W.G. Monteith, R. A Hunt (President), H.W. Lynch, R. McGowan (Treasurer), C. Tinker, C.M. Smith, C.T. Habich, E. Madden, W. Kerr, C.F. Jolliffe, L. Dann.”


Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 10/05/2019 - 15:49

This photograph will bring back many pleasant memories about life and times in Yallourn. The picture shows Mr Wally Lacey, a most popular barber in the town for some 40 years, cutting Ray Cordell’s hair - supposedly the very last hair cut in Yallourn by Wally.

The photograph was taken in 1981, just before Mr Lacey closed his shop in Yallourn and relocated to new premises in Rutherglen Road in Newborough. Those who remember Mr Lacey will recall his great love for the outdoors and the game of chess.

Wally’s daughter, Veronica, has kindly assisted this website article by forwarding information about her family and also her recollections regarding growing up in Yallourn. Veronica was born in December 1945 at the Yallourn Hospital; and is one of seven children born to Wally and his wife Susannah. Veronica’s memories add another colourful chapter to the social history of Yallourn.

Note: All members of the Lacey family were actively involved in the various organizations of the town; and a list of website links has been added, at the conclusion of the article, to give younger readers an idea of the cultural and sporting life of Yallourn in earlier times.

Walter Lacey was born in 1915 on a farm at Haddon (Ballarat). At the age of 14 his father, a mine manager, died whilst working in Malaya. Due to the widespread hardship caused by the Great Depression, Wally, like so many other young children, during those austere years, was forced to leave school and seek employment.

Despite the challenging times and the scarcity of work, Wally was fortunate to undertake and complete an apprenticeship in hairdressing in Ballarat. Little did he know, at that time, that it was the beginning of his career as a hairdresser, which would last for more than half a century.

On completion of his training, Wally set up a business in the south-western Victorian town of Ararat and he worked there for seven years. His next stop ‘along the way’ was at the Flinders Naval Base (later to be renamed HMAS Cerberus) where he honed his ‘short back and sides’ skills on hundreds of men (mainly sailors) involved in Naval duties.

Veronica stated that Wally arrived in Yallourn during 1940; and worked initially, as a barber, for Mr. O’Shannasey. The shop was located on the upstairs floor of the building situated on the corner of Broadway and Centreway.

With so many men living in the camps at Yallourn, Wally was always busy; and he made many new friends and learnt much about life in Europe when speaking with the men who came into the O’Shannasey’s hairdressers. It is no secret that some amazing topics are breached, via the barber’s chair, and Wally’s days would have been far from boring.
A clever man once wrote….
“Therapy is expensive …get a haircut instead!”

....to read the article in full, click on the title above the photo and then click the pdf link below....

FROM THE NEWSPAPERS - 1933 - A Season to Remember for Yallourn Football Club YFC

Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 03/05/2019 - 16:57


It wasn’t long after Sir John Monash turned the first sod to commence the SECV’s ambitious project at Yallourn, that the Yallourn Football Club came into being. Wherever there are men, such as in the camps at Yallourn, one will usually find a football match, of some code, being played. Consequently, with hundreds of workers being employed in the Yallourn Project, it was only a matter of time before (i) a football team was formed and (ii) matches between neighbouring towns were organized.

Yallourn Football Club was founded in 1922; and, under the leadership of Pat Kennelly (later to become a Senator in the Australian Parliament), the club won its first premiership in 1925.

In the period 1922-1940, the club won eight flags including a hat trick of flags in 1931-32-32. This was Yallourn Football Club’s ‘Golden Era’; and the like of which would never be repeated.

Not only did the YFC win the widespread admiration of country football followers in that period but also many of the club’s players etched their name into the record books for their ‘on and off’ the field contribution in building and strengthening YFC.

….TO CONTINUE READING…click on the title above the photo and then the pdf link below the photo.

IMAGES OF YALLOURN - 1976 - Yallourn Madrigals

Submitted by Julie George on Fri, 12/04/2019 - 14:43

To read this article in full, click on the title above and then click the link below the picture to view the full magazine (pdf format).

This photograph of the Yallourn Madrigals was taken in 1976; and it is an important image, in terms of the history of Yallourn, as it places on record the names of the members of the choir at that time.

From the left in the back row: Gwynne Elliott, Linda Hibbert, Ruth Hibbert, Dorothy Cairns, Colin Harvey, Kenneth White, Nancy Embleton, Lois Kemp, Elsie Maddern, Richard Gubbins, David Cousins, John Brown, Bill Adams, Faye Waterson, Sue Bailey and Franz Onger is the conductor.