In 1966, hailstorm hit town ~ hail stones as big as golf balls – roofs were punctured, motor cars dented, windows smashed, foliage shredded.
I remember this event very well. My wife Therese had given birth to our first child Catherine Bell on 20th December 1966 at the Yallourn Hospital. I arrived a few days later and parked our Volkswagon Sedan in the car park. As I was walking from the car the rain increased.
I quickly went to Tess's room and almost immediately the window beside her bed broke and the curtain whoosed inside horizontally.
The light outside was quite darkened but I could see these enormous balls of hail through the gloom.
Tess thankfully was OK.
Later I looked outside to the car park and saw the (amalgamated) hailstones, some definitely as big as cricket balls, bouncing off the car park and the car roofs. Fortunately our VW 'beetle' suffered only barely noticeable and very small dents and did not require repair. Some other vehicles such as station wagons with much thinner and flatter roofs were not so lucky.
However the major damage for this storm were the gaps in home roofing. I seem to recall some power line damage also but I'm not sure of that now.
Tess recall's that the event occurred on Christmas Day. I thought it may have been the day before, but Tess's recollection must be correct as it is supported by other evidence.
Please refer to found by web search for "Hail Storm Yallourn Vic 1966" which, in part, provides the following: -
"[ Jane G 04/04/2008
I have been contacted by a reader of my website who is seeking information regarding a severe weather event she experienced. I couldn't find anything in Google, and hope that someone might be able to point her/me in the right direction.
The event occurred on Christmas Day in 1965 OR 1966. She was living near Yallourn in the Latrobe Valley at the time. This is how she described it:
"We had the usual very hot Christmas Day. Being one of 8 children it was our ritual to play cricket on the front lawn in the afternoon. I recall my father standing on the front verandah, looking beyond us on the front lawn to the western hills yelling “Game over! Everyone inside NOW!” Looking over my shoulder we all gasped as we saw this huge & low licorice coloured cloud rolling towards us. We secured all windows and doors and took refuge in the central hallway with all connecting doors closed.
The banging started, followed by the sounds of smashing glass as the cricket ball sized hail stones battered our house. It was terrifying as the ice bounced off concrete paths, only to spring up and smash windows."
I've suggested she may like to get in contact with Historical Societies in the area, or perhaps try the newspaper archives in the State Library. I don't know if the Bureau have online archives going back that far. Can anyone suggest anything else?
Cheers,. . .Jane G. ]"
Christmas Day 1966 visiting friends in Tanjil Cres when the clouds looked very ominous. I sought the best view of the wet from the junction of Tanjil Cres. and Tanjil place and was enthralled by the cloud dynamics and the frontal roll cloud with nothing but dark matt grey behind. Suddenly there was a clunk behind me and as I turned another to the side. When I saw the size of the hailstone I made a dash for the verandah passing Murray Phillips in his hard had racing to garage his FX Holden. When the spectacle was over I selected the largest I could readily find which measured 4 1/2 inches across its widest diameter, not being completely spherical.
The next day revealed many patches to the fibro cement roofs and pockmarked cars.
Hi David, Thank you for sharing your story regarding the hailstones. I remember the incident very sell. I was a child living in Yallourn North. I've always told people over the years about these hailstones but couldn't find anything on the internet. Sadly people presume these events are modern day events. Kind regards, Wendy Sestokas (born at Yallourn and attended Yallourn High School and remember Yallourn very well.)
Thank you for sharing your story regarding the hailstones. I remember the incident very sell. I was a child living in Yallourn North. I've always told people over the years about these hailstones but couldn't find anything on the internet. Sadly people presume these events are modern day events. Kind regards, Wendy Sestokas (born at Yallourn and attended Yallourn High School and remember Yallourn very well.)
Re the Christmas Hail Storm
We had been in South Australia, visiting grandparents and returned to Yallourn, being greeted by the bizarre site of windows boarded up and damage everywhere. Fortunately, neighbours had taken pity on us and boarded up our damaged windows. I think there were on average five shattered windows per house throughout the town and it kept glaziers and tilers busy for weeks
I remember that hailstorm. My sisters Christine Melbourne and Terry Widdows caused it! It was a stinking hot day so they did a rain dance on the front lawn of our house in Banksia street but it was their first rain dance and their inexperience caused them to dance a bit too long. Don't tell the insurance company 😊. Cheers Frank