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. .

  • 32745

    Now that I’ve got your attention – have you ever had that sinking feeling? Yes; me too. My latest stomach lurch was brought about by an oh-so-friendly reminder from our hard-working Secretary that my oft-promised contribution about early Newborough days had never quite seen the light of day. In desperation (and no little guilt), I dusted off a “draft” and tarted it up a tad. Better late than never, they say : things can only improve.
    Picture the scene: a grey rainy 1950 mid-September day at Port Melbourne. Included among the somewhat bewildered passengers disembarking from the migrant ship “New Australia” were my dear mum (Gladys) and dad (Reg), sister (Norma) and yours truly, a highly curious ten (but nearly eleven) year old.
    My earliest memory of life in Australia, apart from the dreary day, was going through the arrival formalities, cavernous shed, tables, probably bored officials. My dad, a smoker in those days (it was 1950 after all) was, consistent with the understood practice, bringing in the allowable limit of ciggies for two adults, himself and my mum, a non-smoker. The Customs bloke confirmed the allowance for the two of them and then, because I’m always helpful, I called out in my loudest ten year old voice “But mum you don’t smoke.” I think the Customs bloke gave my dad a look that said something along the lines of “What a dill of a kid! (Re dill comment, see previous reference to 1950) - and waved us on.
    Thoroughly chastened, I boarded a grey SEC bus with the rest of the family and some other disembarking passengers who were also bound for the Valley (although none of this meant anything to me at the time). We drove through the rain, mist and Melbourne suburbia – ah how familiar it was all to become – on through Dandenong and into the green Gippsland countryside.
    We were taken straight to a hostel, in Morwell I think it was, given a meal and then back on board the bus to be dropped off at our respective houses.

    (Photo attached)

    We then drove to East Newborough (in those very early days there was a few core streets in East Newborough plus “old” Newborough – North Newborough started shortly afterwards – nowadays of course it is all Newborough – good thing too). I think there was some surprise when we arrived on a dull, wet and muddy September afternoon to see a raw construction area with some recently completed and occupied houses, some very new and unoccupied houses (filled by our bus load), no fences, mud roads and a dunny (I’d never heard the word before) in a woodshed out the back of each house. None of this bothered me at all, although I suspect it mattered to some of the adults. I can also recall that a kind family, formerly my mum’s pen friends, the Magnussens from Morwell, had placed flowers and prepared afternoon tea in our Delburn Street house. I can also recall there was some concern when a lady from the estate welcoming committee fell through the floor boards on our uncompleted front porch. Fortunately she wasn’t injured and, equally fortunately, there was one of the SEC “heavies” present at the time; consequently the porch was completed the next day. I believe now (although at the time I wouldn’t have cared anyway) that some folk on the buses had thought they were bound for the then comparatively picture post red brick model town of Yallourn! “Life’s full of surprises.”
    The countryside between Newborough and Yallourn was, in those early days, covered in bush. There was a tent camp near the creek opposite Newborough Road, along with a few basic
    Norma & Reg outside 7 Delburn St, Newborough - 1951
    timber and iron buildings and a small camp shop. East Newborough shops came later. Milk was initially delivered to a billy can. My mum and dad bought an ice chest; the Kelvinator came later. Anglican Church services were held in a marquee on Old Sale Road under the dedicated stewardship of Deaconess James. The Rev. Clarke from England took over, later followed by the energetic and popular Rev. Bill Frawley, who subsequently came to prominence as the Chaplain at Pentridge Prison. (My father, who was a carpenter, was a member of the volunteer labour force that built St. Aidan’s Church some time later). There was a construction compound located at the bottom of our street and a nissan-type hut/hall was erected nearby which, over the years, was used for all sorts of functions, including films, concerts, dances and so on. (See later reference to my “Great Raveen” disaster.) Film watching was tricky because the multipurpose hall had a level floor. Additionally, there was also a “picture bus” that used to trundle through the streets of the estate and on to Yallourn Theatre (where there were no level floor issues) and then back to the ‘Borough’ after the show. Fences, road construction, additional drainage and sewerage works plus other community structures including a health centre (which I visited early in the piece for treatment to a spectacular cut on my knee after becoming semi impaled on one of the swings – it’s too complicated to go into details) were all completed in the following couple of years or so. A Scout troop was soon established and we used to meet at a small hall which, from memory, was on Torres Track. I can recall camping for a couple of freezing nights somewhere near Narracan Falls. I also became interested in fishing and used to ride my bike with a couple of other kids to the gorgeous clear waters of the Tanjil – all pre the introduction of the now ubiquitous European carp! Talking of bikes reminds me of a nasty fall off my bike while lairising down Rutherglen Road – but I digress.

    The estate quickly developed a strong sense of community. In those early days there were no wide-bodied aircraft providing large-scale intercontinental travel. No, it was entirely conceivable that migrants leaving the UK (and elsewhere of course) would never see other family members again. I believe this reality, plus the fact that most people were literally starting a new life, encouraged the making of deep and lasting friendships to compensate at least in part for the absence of extended family networks which, in those days, were such a strong part of life back “home.” Remember also, in those days, that families in the UK were much more inclined to live and remain comparatively close to parents and other family members.
    The estate houses were similar in design and appearance. This fact, plus the broad common knowledge of pay and salary conditions at the SEC also, I suspect, contributed to a broad egalitarianism in the community. There were few social tensions. All these comments are offered with the wisdom (if any) of hindsight. I had absolutely no idea at the time.
    One of the first acquisitions my family made following arrival in Australia was a piano (not a new one of course – I suspect that no one we knew had the money for such a luxury). My father was an accomplished pianist and I can recall our house becoming a venue for other musicians, such as an Irish tenor (later, together with his musical family, to become well known in the district), and a Polish violinist. My parents also formed a close-knit group of friends who, in turn, hosted some memorable parties. (I remember returning home from a dance several years later with my great friend Bob Nash to such a party. Following a quick visit (by me at least) to the keg we wowed everyone with our version of “On Moonlight Bay”).
    Reg (dad), Norma & Reg having an ice cream at Camp Shop 1951
    My time at YHS started late September 1950 and finished end school year 1954. It was at first a tough gig. Fresh from being a top dog in Primary School in the Greater Manchester area and then as still a ten year old into a High School class not only half way around the world but also approaching the end of first year took some adjustment. The couple of months until end of 1950 school year became an interregnum before formally starting high school in 1951. Interestingly (to me anyway) I have since come to realize that even though I stayed “down” in order to start in 1951 I think I was maybe still the youngest kid in the whole year group. Somehow or other, perhaps due to the difference in northern/southern hemisphere school commencement dates, I think I missed some schooling. (No wonder I didn’t like maths).

    I should also mention that my sister, Norma, also started at Yallourn High at the same time. While attending YHS, Norma met Alan Marr who, I think at the time was Head Prefect. Norma and Alan were married at St John’s, Yallourn in June 1956. (They had a guard of honour of local Newborough girl guides). Not all readers who knew Alan may be aware that in December 1977, he suffered a very serious accident on a building re-development site in Canberra. Alan never fully recovered. He died in Merimbula in August 1990. Norma now lives near her daughter a few kilometres from Caloundra. I also noticed a recent obituary notice in the Newsletter to Alan’s sister, Mavis. Through Alan I knew Mavis and other members of the Marr family – although contacts were few over recent years. Mavis died in Canberra where she had lived for a long time.
    After coming to terms with a new school environment, I eventually started to quite like High School. Class mates and other kids were pretty much like kids anywhere, I expect, and ditto the teachers, although perhaps one or two of them thought we migrant kids were from Mars (bear in mind that in the early 1950’s it’s unlikely that many of the teachers would have travelled much). I participated in most sports with great enthusiasm and limited ability. I formed the view (and I was not alone) that Yallourn High School girls were the best-looking girls anywhere. [The Editor agrees with this!!] I went to school socials and danced like a block of wood. In those early days, Newborough kids had to find a way to get home from Yallourn – walking over Coach Road hill was not unknown. Dancing skills improved following an interesting visit to a dance class in Morwell. During all this time I would chat away nineteen to the dozen to girls I regarded as friends or “my mates”. When it came to girls I really “liked” however, I had barely a word to say – pathetic really.
    High school years had a certain rhythm. Cricket and swimming early in the year; football in the winter (we migrant kids mostly played soccer football); athletics in the autumn (I can remember my mum asking why I had soil in the turn ups of my new school long pants – the answer, of course, was because I had been practising long jumping at lunch time.) Winter time would also see the senior boys splitting firewood and junior boys carrying the wood to boxes outside the class rooms. (I doubt you’d ever see anything like that these days). High school retention figures were much lower then and, against my mum’s wishes, I left YHS at the end of Form 4 (Dec 1954 – I had recently turned 15). (In the 1970’s, I completed several Higher School Certificate subjects and then slogged my way part time through University, but that’s another story). I find it sad these days to hear about violence and bullying in so many of our schools. I can only vaguely remember witnessing one incident the whole time I was there. In fact, particularly in
    YHS 1954 Form 4B Boys - from L-R: Back - David Baldock, John Jell, Derek Harris, Bob Nash, Reg Penkethman, Peter Butcher Front: Garry Grant, Frank Jewell, John Quinlivan
    Reg & Bob Nash - 1954 Taken at YHS (still good mates)
    Form 4, the boys all seemed either friendly acquaintances or really good friends.
    Before moving on from school days I’ll recount just one more little personal disaster. I have previously mentioned that my father was an accomplished pianist. Well, dad agreed to lead a three piece combo to play at an end of ’54 school dance to be held at the school. The combo was to consist of my dad on piano, class mate Derek Harris on piano accordion and a drummer (an edgy group obviously). To cut straight to the chase, I turned out to be the drummer. It did not go well. A really great friend of mine, if not feeling too well, will occasionally lift his spirits by telephoning to remind me of this and other shortcomings.

    AFTER SCHOOL The next two years or so saw employment as a Junior Clerk at the ever present SEC. Highlights there included a stint at the Power Station timekeeping office deep in the bowels of the power station complex. It was always possible to leave the office to chase up attendance record “time sheets” and I always found the old boiler houses and the long, sparkling-clean turbine room interesting. I marvelled that the turbines bore a brand stamp “Metropolitan Vickers Manchester” meaning that those mighty machines and myself had travelled an almost identical journey to that very turbine room (I guess you had to be there). Lunch times were usually spent playing table tennis and snooker at West Camp.
    Weekends were spent playing sport. At one stage my well-known mate, Bob Nash, and I were so fit that we played underage Australian football on Saturday mornings and senior Latrobe Valley soccer in the afternoons. Newborough won the Under 17 football premiership. We may also have won at least a heat of the unofficial world champion filthy song singing competition on the way home. We later had a pie night. Nashie was awarded the “Best Defender” trophy. I was awarded the “Most Rugged Player” trophy. I believe I received this award because I had a tendency to run into people. Given that we won the premiership, you may appreciate that we did have some really good players. The late John Somerville, who later played for Essendon, is but one who springs to mind.
    While working at the SEC, Bob and I were studying Accountancy at night school. After a while, it became clear that Accountancy was not for us so I must confess that, occasionally, instead of attending Thursday night Accountancy classes at the Tech, we would finish work, go to soccer training, scrounge some food and later head off to the “Valley Dance” at Traralgon. We also greatly enjoyed the dances at Shaw’s in Moe and sometimes the RSL in Morwell - suits and ties in those days. Plenty of opportunities for social disasters such as slipping on polished floors - generally great swing music just ahead of guitar based rock n’roll.
    Round about 1956, one of my more idiotic moments occurred at the hall in East Newborough where I attended a performance of a hypnotist by the name (I think it was) of the Mighty Raveen. Like a fool I volunteered to be one of his “subjects” and for days after that people would point at me, cover their mouths and whisper to their companion/s. My father heard about
    SEC Picnic held at Frankston - Jan 1955 - Reg and Miss Butler. “The girl was from Melb. She approached me and asked if I would partner her in the Siamese race. I had never seen her before - we won!”
    it and I don’t think he was impressed. I still think it was all a bit unfair.
    In March 1956 Bob, who had figured in so many of these stories, and so many not told, left to join the Navy. In November that year I too moved to Melbourne in search of adventure (and I found it!) In October 1957, within a year of my leaving the Valley, my parents moved from East Newborough to Mornington. Consequently from that time onwards at weekends or days off I went home to Mornington, rather than to the Valley, and a whole new chapter began.
    There are many names (and many more stories) that probably could and should be mentioned in this piece. Some of you will know who you are. Thanks for the memories. Any errors are purely innocent!
    PS : Proud Yallourn, the model town, has gone. The vigour and optimism that was an integral part of life in the Newborough estates seems also to have gone. It’s not too late though to wander around and reflect. While you may not hear the lilt of an Irish tenor, or the passionate violin sound of a Polish Mazurka, you just might, particularly if a soft summer breeze is blowing in the right direction, hear the voices of two lusty teenagers still sailing along – on Moonlight Bay.

    19/01/2019 - 11:54
  • 32744

    Lance White YTS 1956 wrote with this small, but significant question which appeared in Albury/Wodonga local paper “The Border Mail” in August 2012:
    Q: Who said, “Knowledge is Power”? Of course this was our motto under the YTS / YTC’s blazer badge which many of us proudly wore.
    A: Sir Francis Bacon ( 1561-1626).
    “We all knew the motto very well, but I wonder how many students knew who this was attributed to or from where it originated. An interesting enough item which many OB’s might appreciate.
    I cannot recall ever being told this - maybe the phrase was coined by an early local student, teacher or someone and this fact is mere coincidence. Food for thought!! (Maybe one for Graham Beanland to help with?)
    Those “ Pylon” issues are great to read. We at the Technical School had “The Current Call” run along the same lines. What great memories they elicit from that wonderful past we shared at Yallourn.”

    19/01/2019 - 11:52
  • 32743

    Take a Walk on the Wild Side - Julie George (Francis) YHS 1966
    “In November 2011, Frank Wild completed his final journey from Johannesburg, South Africa to the Whalers’ Cemetery in Grytviken, South Georgia, when his ashes were placed by me in a grave next to that of his long-time friend and ‘Boss’, Sir Ernest Shackleton.
    So, following a memorial service in the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Grytviken where Shackleton’s funeral service had been held in 1922, I found myself leading a procession of 80 or so people along a rugged path, surrounded by penguins, feisty fur seals and elephant seals, and carrying a casket containing Frank’s ashes to the Grytviken cemetery. With me were two of my brothers, Brian & Martin Francis, my niece Carina and husband Ian, and my husband, Steve. To get to South Georgia, we had flown to Buenos Aires, and then to Ushuaia (the southern-most city in the world)

    (Photo attached)

    Where we boarded the Russian flagged, “Akademik Ioffe”, a modernised ice-strengthened vessel originally designed for polar research and built in Finland. A BBC-produced 1-hour documentary called “Frank Wild: Antarctica’s Forgotten Hero” is soon to be released which tells the story of this voyage, the memorial service and burial, and of Frank’s achievements as a polar explorer.
    Frank Wild was one of the greatest Polar explorers, the only man to have served on five expeditions to the Antarctic during the Heroic Age and also one of only two men to have been awarded four bars to his Polar Medal. In 1901, Wild joined Scott’s Discovery expedition, in which he served with distinction. In 1907, he joined the Nimrod expedition and was chosen by Shackleton as a member of the four-man party, which attempted to reach the South Pole. They got to within ninety-seven miles of the Pole when they were forced to turn back. In 1911, despite pressing invitations by Scott to join him on his fateful Terra Nova expedition, Wild joined the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) and was chosen by Mawson as leader of the eight-man party, which established the Western Base on the Shackleton Ice Shelf and spent 12 months exploring Queen Mary Land. In 1914, he joined Shackleton’s Endurance expedition in an attempt to cross the Antarctic continent via the South Pole. The Endurance became trapped in the ice in the Weddell Sea, where eventually she was crushed and sank. After many months on the ice, all the expedition members reached Elephant Island, where Wild displayed outstanding fortitude and leadership when Shackleton left him in charge of the 21 men for 4½ months, while he and five others sailed the James Caird to South Georgia to seek help. Upon returning to the UK in 1916, Wild was commissioned Lieutenant in the RNVR and served in various capacities in Russia until the end of the 1914-18 War, after which, he and his great friend Dr James McIlroy departed for Nyasaland to try their hand at farming. In 1921 Wild and McIlroy received a telegram from Shackleton asking them to join him on the Quest expedition. Sadly, on 5 January 1922, while in Grytviken Harbour, South Georgia, Shackleton died of a heart attack and Wild took over the leadership of the expedition until its completion in September 1922. In 1923 Wild emigrated to South Africa to farm cotton. After many hardships during the great depression, and various occupations, Wild died in Klerksdorp, Johannesburg in 1939.
    On our trip, the penguins, seals, dolphins and whales (even a few reindeer) were fascinating to see, but the best experience for me were the icebergs – they were so big and blue and we spent many hours drifting in our zodiacs amongst the floes taking in the peacefulness of Antarctica.
    Our homeward crossing of the Drake Passage rated an 11 on the 1-12 Beaufort Scale, where 12 is a hurricane. At the Captain’s Dinner on our last night at sea in the dining room, I needed three dinners as the first two slid off the table to my feet. Fortunately, my chair was secured but not so for brother Martin who joined Alexandra Shackleton’s table twice uninvited along with glass of wine in one hand and a bottle in the other, quite proud of saving both each time – there were roars of laughter amid gasps of horror as we rocked from side to side. The trip was a memorable one all round.
    Two new traditions have now begun: Every ship’s captain to sail into Grytviken walks up to the cemetery and toasts both Shackleton and Wild, takes a sip and then throws the remaining whisky on both gravesites; and at approx 3pm every Saturday afternoon, Joy Francis (now 94) the last “Wild Child”, and Julie toast “Uncle Frank” with a tot of whisky, replicated from the supplies found under the floorboards in the Ross Sea Depot (laid for Shackleton and his men had the Endurance not been crushed in sea ice) and found nearly 100 years later – a most pleasant tradition!”

    19/01/2019 - 11:50
  • 32742

    On a cold and blustery day in Morwell recently, we gratefully accepted a State Government grant to help further fund our historical project - Virtual Yallourn...I’m sure you have noticed the data being inputted from the Electoral Rolls of the 1960s in an endeavor to get every house in Yallourn connected to at least one family and soon you will see some major visual improvements...so please continue to support the website, dig out the old photos and add generously - help solve some of the queries and read what our newly appointed “Mayor Brogan” (Kevin Brogan) has to say - if he doesn’t know the answer, it didn’t happen!

    (Photo attached)

    19/01/2019 - 11:48
  • 32741

    My brother Ray died of lung cancer aged 62. Far too young to die but he managed to live a full life for the years he had.
    After leaving school he spent the obligatory few years trying out various jobs and generally having a good time until he grew up (a bit) and ended up in the public service.
    He spent the early years in Melbourne then a few years in Darwin where he met Julie (also a public servant) and had a son Michael, then they moved to Canberra where he spent the last twenty years or so. Ray and Julie split up about ten years ago.
    He never lost his love for fishing and it was a constant source of pleasure. He went back to Darwin once a year for a fishing trip with old mates, still fished in Gippsland and had lots of trips to Eucumbene and like most fishermen, was capable of slight exaggeration: on whatever topic was being discussed. Obviously he loved and ate a lot of fish.
    We all learnt to play the piano with Mrs Ross in Church Street and Ray kept up with it all his life. He was a folkie and became involved with early Australian folklore; history, stories and music. We all went to the National Folk Festival in Canberra for many years and camped for the five days, but he also went to many small bush festivals and loved sitting around a campfire singing bush ballads and reciting poetry. He was a lousy singer but he made up for it with his enthusiasm and his piano, guitar and ukulele playing.
    Needless to say, he liked the odd drop of red and had a large circle of friends with the same affliction and as many of them were also public servants, this enabled them to easily solve the problems of the world with each passing bottle. When he was diagnosed with cancer just before his sixtieth birthday, he decided to celebrate each birthday with a party and all the wine in his cellar became 'drink now'. So he had three memorable birthday parties and went out in style.
    ….Leola Taylor (Loft) YHS 1955
    (Photo attached)

    19/01/2019 - 11:46
  • 32740

    John Gloz YHS 1965 - re Alex McAlister's article about his time in the Scouts in the Jan 2011 edition, I thought the article was great. I have a couple of minor corrections to the names for the photo he submitted (P7) of the Rovers. Back row, far left is my dad Jack Gloz (not Gloss); and front row far left is George Toye (not Eddie Toy). Unfortunately dad never seemed to have any photos of his time in the Rovers, so I am unable to add any enlightenment as to who the other unknowns were. Thanks Alex for reviving some more memories! My dad was in the Capt Hurley Rover Crew very early in its existence, I'm not sure if he would have been counted as one of the founding members. Dad's involvement with the crew included helping with pre-fabricating the original Mt Erica ski hut (J. W. McMahon Ski Lodge), but he never actually made a trip up Mt Erica with the crew of his time. It wasn't until the early '70s (30 plus years later) that he actually made the trip, and that was to be present for the scattering of Doc Andrew's ashes (that task was given to me, [being then a member of the crew and the son of one of the early members] and the crew leader at the time Steve Morgan). The crew was named after Capt Frank Hurley, photographer of some renown as official photographer with Mawson's Antarctic expedition and later Shackleton's, then official war photographer in both WWI and WWII. An interesting note is that Frank Hurley gave a small Union Jack to the crew (presented personally at the official naming ceremony, for which I believe dad was present), a flag that had actually been part of the 'equipment' on either Mawson's or Shackleton's expedition. It was in a display case, and proudly hung in a prominent place for many years. Do any of the post-1973 Rovers know of its current whereabouts? (It just hit me that it would now be over 100 years old if it went with Mawson) My own involvement with the Scouts went the whole gamut from Cubs to Rovers from 1962 through 1973. During those years, the Scout hall and Rover den were located on Lakeside Drive (or was it Lake Ave?) past the tennis courts and opposite the basketball/badminton hall (it was hardly good enough to be called a stadium!), and in close proximity to the Small-bore Rifle range and one of the WW II anti-aircraft gun emplacements, with the Rover den behind the Scout hall. I believe that it had been a drill-hall for the army during WW II. I certainly remember some good times during those years, and I gained a great appreciation for outdoors activities (hiking, camping, rock climbing & fishing), and made some good friends as well. One activity that I'm sure would be frowned upon nowadays was the 'bottle-drives' where as many dads as possible that had trailers would front-up at the Scout hall on the nominated Saturday morning and be sent to various parts of town with a car-load of Cubs or Scouts, who would then door-knock asking for used beer bottles (some people sure had good-sized stacks). Said empties would then be re-stacked in the Scout (side) hall for later collection by the brewery once there were sufficient to make a truck-load. This seemed to be one of the preferred fundraising methods, and was one of the pre-cursors to today's recycling. I think it was while I was in Senior scouts (possibly Rovers) that we 'invented' the game of "Stone-age Basketball" - played with a medicine ball (try dribbling with one of those!) and where the only rule seemed to be "Thou shalt not kill" - I seem to remember even that one got tested more than once! We played for our own individual score, there were no teams. We all would get very sweaty and come away with more than one scratch from someone else's fingernails. We also sometimes used to ride our bikes inside the hall after meetings, something that we embraced with much greater enthusiasm once the floor had been varnished. It was our leader, Vern Collings, who introduced us to rock climbing, with more than one weekend away at the Cathedral Range near Marysville and at least one expedition to Hanging Rock. Vern also used to take us on a 'major' hike between Christmas and New Year each year, 2 that I remember well were up and over Mt Bogong from somewhere near Mt Beauty village, and Mt Hotham to Mt Feathertop along the razorback ridge.

    Another hike we did was along the beach from Mallacoota Inlet to the Vic/NSW border in early winter; good fun.

    During my time in the Rovers, we decided that it was time to embark on the 2nd phase of the J. W. McMahon lodge improvements (1st phase had been done in the late '50s - early '60s), and
    we were very fortunate that the original Yallourn hospital (Latrobe Valley Community Hospital) was being demolished at the same time, so we were able to acquire all the timber that we needed (in abundance!) at very reasonable cost - i.e. pocket money almost. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for the corrugated iron for the roof - that had to be bought new. We were also fortunate that one of the members (Ron Collis) had a small truck to transport all the materials to the Mushroom Rocks car park, so we didn't have to pay anyone else for that. Bruce Jones was very involved with the Latrobe Valley Aero Club at the time, and tried to wangle a helicopter to air lift the hardware the rest of the way - at no cost to us of course. Needless to say that idea fell over, so we were left with no other option but to lug it on our shoulders, and our heads where the corrugated iron was concerned! (All with suitable padding of course, but then maybe that explains some things about us now?!) We were very ambitious about it, and I remember that we initially thought that we could do the whole job in one weekend (including lugging the gear up the mountain), boy were we wrong on that! I think it ended up taking about 3 or 4 months and we only just got it all finished in time for the snow season. The attached B&W photos were all taken in March '73, I didn't get any photos of the completed work until I returned 12 years later (colour photo - Aug 1985) with my own children in tow, even though I did make several more trips there that year while we finished it. Members that I remember being involved with that re-build are: Steve Morgan, Ron Collis, Tim Apps, Ian Castell, Colin Gray, Peter Gray(?) Craig Swindon, Bruce Jones, myself, and also 2 of the Newborough crew (Howitt Rovers?) Ray Bates & Perry Black. Cheers,...John Gloz

    19/01/2019 - 11:45
  • 32739

    Helen Fischer (Hender) YHS 1967 wrote:

    WASHING DAY... Mum having to wash the clothes in the “copper” in the laundry. Everyone had the double concrete sinks in the old days – a wringer was attached to one of them. The fire was lit under the copper to heat up the water, then the clothes were put in to be washed in the boiling hot water. They were then put in to cold rinsing water in the trough and put through the wringer – then (weighing a ton) taken to be hung out on the clothes line which went from one end of the yard to the other and propped up by wooden poles. Our kids could not even imagine this and now you see things from our childhood in antique shops!
    I threw my dummy into the fire box of our copper at 36 Railway Avenue then started crying when I realised it had burnt. Did not get another one after that!
    It was very exciting when mum got her first washing machine, her pride and joy the “Stampco” with its own built in wringer. It cut washing time down so much (ours was green).

    THE SMELL OF WINTER FIRES... while walking home from school (I loved that smell). You could smell all the wood fires burning. Then when the dad’s got home from work, you could hear them all chopping wood from the wood sheds – getting the kindling ready for the morning (as everyone had a black IXL wood stove in their kitchen) and for the wood heaters or open fire places in the lounge rooms. I used to love chopping up the kindling with our little tommy hawk axe! Did everybody cook their toast on a toasting fork in front of the IXL in the kitchen – tasted the best.

    BROWNIES BOB A JOB... I used to hate Brownies “bob a job” as I always got stuck sweeping the foot paths at everyone’s houses of coal dust – phew! Hard work when you are only 8 years old. The SEC used to send around huge vacuum cleaners to suck out all the coal dust from the ceilings of the houses to prevent them from catching fire. That was always good to watch when you were a kid.

    PRINCESS OF FLOWERS... at the local garden show every year. We all dressed up in our best party dresses and went on stage – how embarrassing!!! I remember one year with Elizabeth Langdon, Christine Canovan and myself. I wore my yellow dress with matching yellow petticoat!


    AUTUMN... was great as the Plane trees used to shed their huge leaves – we used to kick the leaves, scrunch them under out feet and throw them at each other going to school. People used to sweep up the leaves out the front of their house and burn them in the gutter – another smell that takes me back to my childhood.

    SMOKERS... used to be everywhere. Waiting rooms in the Health Centre used to have a smoky haze hanging from the ceiling as everyone used to light up in those days. Bad luck if you suffered from asthma – but then again you did not hear of anyone having it in the good old days.

    (Photo attached)

    19/01/2019 - 11:44
  • 32738

    An apprentice at Yallourn 1939-1944 by Alex McAllister (YHS 1935)

    An apprenticeship was a period of training undertaken by young people between the age of 16 & 21 years to qualify as a tradesman or tradeswoman in their preferred occupation. I attended the Yallourn Higher Elementary School and as I had visions of eventually going to sea as a ship’s engineer and the minimum qualification required was that you had served an apprenticeship in a heavy industry as a fitter, I applied for an apprenticeship with the SEC.
    At that time, I was 15 years of age and in Year 10 (C form). I would be 16 in 1939, the required age to commence an apprenticeship no problem; the other requirement was to get a reasonable pass mark in the Intermediate examination at the end of the year may be a problem. However, I managed that and was called up for an interview, then offered an apprenticeship which bound me to remain with the SEC for a period of five years, during which time I would carry out all duties assigned to me Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm and Saturday 8am to 12noon for the princely sum of 15 shillings per week for the first year, 20 shillings per week for the second year, 30 shillings for the third year, 50 shillings for the fourth year and 63 shillings for the fifth year after which I would be paid 7 pounds per week as a fitter. My father was also bound by the apprenticeship agreement to keep me clothed, fed and medically fit during the period of the apprenticeship.
    I commenced my apprenticeship on 9 January 1939, where I was assigned to a fitter in the boiler houses of the power station – there were two sets of boiler stations – A Station & B Station providing steam 220 PSI (very low by today’s standard) to the turbines driving the alternators. A Station was the older of the two having boilers fitted with continuous rotating chain grates where the coal was fed in at one end of the furnace and travelled burning on the chain to the lower end of the furnace and dumped as ash into a water filled drain and carried outside the boiler room. Those in B Station had step grates where the grate was divided into sections; each section moved backwards and forwards and was inclined, the coal fed onto the grate at the high end and burnt while being shaken down to the low end where, as ash again, it was dumped into a water filled drain. The work here was mainly maintenance of the grates and pipework. After some time there, I was transferred to the turbine room. I am reasonably sure there were twelve turbines driving alternators, one modern turbine and alternator would have a generating capacity in excess of the total output of them all. Again, I was assigned to a fitter to carry out maintenance on the turbines and ancillary machinery. My next move was to the central workshops where we were taught to use lathes, shapers, drills and milling machines. My next move was to the Open Cut and with the war being on, due to the shortage of fitters, we were given a trades assistant and sent out on maintenance on all the coal handling plant and if it was something you were doubtful about, you talked it over with the leading hand. I spent some time up on the old coal mine where we had several steam locomotives to maintain. To get to this section of the SEC operation, I rode a push bike to the technical college, then on to a bicycle track which went all the way to the main gate.
    My final move was to the briquette factory where I finished my apprenticeship and as the war was still on, I worked for some time as a fitter before obtaining a position with a shipping company as a junior engineer. I remained at sea for seven and a half years, then came ashore as an engineer at Fremantle Power Station, changed jobs a couple of times and finished up as a Chief Marine Surveyor with the WA Government Marine Authority.
    I cannot fault the training we were given during my time as an apprentice. In addition to the onjob training, we were required to attend night classes two nights per week at the technical college and were allowed half a day a week off to attend classes. We had some excellent lecturers. I particularly remember Messrs Miller who took us for workshop practice, Tyrell for mathematics (algebra, geometry and trigonometry) and Jones for thermodynamics. It was called heat engines then and applied mechanics – I owe all of them. If you did not succeed with that lot, you did not deserve to.

    19/01/2019 - 11:43
  • 32737

    Irene Hunnam (Park) YHS 1952 wrote an article on Yallourn Hospital in the late 50s

    (Photo attached)

    In 1957 I started my Division 1 nursing training at the Yallourn Hospital. There were only two of us and we were shown to our rooms in the nursing home and issued with a grey uniform, stiffly starched cuffs and collars and a white cap. A purple cape with the hospital’s insignia and a full white apron completed the uniform.

    For the first 6 weeks, we were in a school block with Mr George Coulson as our tutor. At that time, Matron Baker was in charge of the wards and staff with Sr Crawford as the Deputy Matron. There was a dining room for staff where we all sat for meals and I always remember if you were seated and Matron walked in, you all stood with hands behind your backs till she was seated. Mr George Randle was Manager and Mr Scanlan, the accountant, was Assistant Manager. Dr Reader was the Medical Superintendent and he lived in a house on the hospital grounds.

    There were two nursing block homes. In one lived the nursing aides but was also used in later years for some of the nursing trainees. The block I lived in was made up of single rooms with a lounge and small kitchen at one end and at the other, a laundry and toilet/shower. We all earned a very meagre wage and none of us could afford very much. We often borrowed one another’s clothes to go out and we drank our tea and coffee out of jam jars. I can remember taking empty soft drink bottles back to retrieve the deposit from them for bus fare to the dance at Moe or Morwell. Our home supervisor was Miss Tillyer and we had to get a late pass from her if we wanted to go out. Mrs King ran the hospital kiosk and she allowed we girls to run up a tab, which we had to pay in full on our fortnightly pay day.

    We formed a Student Nurses’ Association and held small functions to raise money to buy record players for the nurses’ homes. Back then, some of our wards were staffed with women who had migrated from the UK. They had worked in hospitals during World War 2. They held no certificates but held a wealth of knowledge and experience. They helped guide us through our training years and in some cases, became our second mothers at times, asking us out to their homes in Newborough for a meal.

    For the next 3 years, I worked in every ward in the hospital – even the theatre. We all worked day and afternoon shifts and weekends. At times, it was very emotional as being a “Yallourn girl”, patients were people we grew up with and went to school with, but was not so bad when we saw them recover and go home. We sat exams at the end of our first and second year and when our final year was completed, we were sent to our study block for a time with our tutor, Matron Orr (who had replaced Matron Baker when she resigned). I always remember Sr Topsy Smith, who for many years was Charge Sister in Theatre, spending (in her own time) going over and over all the instruments that we may be asked at our exams. We travelled by train to Melbourne to sit our exams and stayed at the Victoria Palace and travelled each day to where the tests were held. I’m pleased to say I was successful. I look back on my 3 years at Yallourn Hospital with fond memories. There was a lot of hard work, long hours, but also a lot of fun times which went on to form wonderful friendships – some of which I still have today. I moved to Melbourne in my 20s with my husband and 2 children and I continued to work as a nurse for the next 40 years and was always proud and grateful for the years I spent at Yallourn Hospital

    19/01/2019 - 11:42
  • 32736

    HISTORY OF YALLOURN - POST OFFICE (provided by Luisa DeAgnoi) 1874 Coal first discovered in Yallourn area, form of lignite. 1886 Small private mine opened up to promote the brown coal. 19.10.1888 The Great Morwell Coal Mining Co registered to mine coal. 10.9.1890 Private railway line built and connected to main railway line at Hernes Oak siding, selling over 200 tons coal per week. 1897 The Mining Co produced the first briquettes, selling at 17 shillings 6 pence per ton, but in 1898 the Co was wound up. 1917 The coal mine reopened with sales at 15 shillings per ton. Sept 1917 The Government Brown Coal Advisory Committee planed to establish a 50,000 kw capacity power house in the area and transmit power by transmission lines to Melbourne and other parts of the state at an estimated cost of £1,686,000 with open cut mining method. 20.12.1918 Bill passed in Parliament authorising appointment of three Electricity Commissioners, whom were appointed in April 1919. July 1920 Sir John Monash appointed Chairman of Commissioners. 1920 A R LaGerche prepared and submitted a town plan to Victorian Government, approved, and township laid out in 1921. Jan 1921 Official inception of State Electricity Commission with Sir John Monash as the first Commission Chairman. Feb 1921 Work began for power house and open cut on 270 ha land purchased from Charles Savige for £7,150, with son Lindsay being the first local employee. 1921 Three works camps set up at East Camp, West Camp and South Camp. 1921 Latrobe proposed as name of town nearby to Latrobe River but as Latrobe town already exists in Tasmania, the naming of the town was called YALLOURN from two aboriginal words - YALLEEN (meaning brown) and LOURN (meaning fire). 1921 First house erected in Yallourn in Maiden Street. 1921 Yallourn population 138 (116 males and 22 females) all in camps. Dec 1921 Site for railway station decided and called Yallourn. 10.2.1921 The first Post Office (a receiving office) opened in an Eastern Camp Hut with J C David appointed Receiving Office Keeper. July 1921 Post Office raised to Allowance status with Money Order and Savings Bank facilities and H Alexander appointed to the position. Nov 1921 A Telephone and Telegram Office was opened at the Post Office. 1922 A Post Office Receiving Office opened at West Camp. 13.2.1922 State School No 4085 opened with 15 pupils. June 1923 Population - 250 in township and 1200 in the camps. Oct 1923 Postmaster H Alexander and complete Post Office facilities relocated to West Camp from East Camp and name changed to Yallourn; and East Camp used as Receiving Office with Chas J Selk appointed Receiving Office Keeper. 1923 Power house built and electric power connected to Moe, Trafalgar, Yarragon and Tyers.
    24.6.1924 Power lines and power connect to Melbourne.
    22.9.1925 W J McLean appointed Postmaster with opening of new double storey brick building in Yallourn and Post Office raised to Official status Grade 3.
    11.5.1927 G W Yeoman appointed Postmaster at Yallourn.
    1933 There were 792 occupied dwellings in Yallourn and West Camp with total population of 2764 (1572 males and 1192 females).
    30.11.1934 Severe floods burst the weir, flooding the open cut and destroying most equipment, taking 6 months to repair and drain the open cut before resuming
    4.6.1937 H J W Elliott transferred to Yallourn as Postmaster.
    1947 Total population 4602 (2611 males and 1991 females). There were 1326 occupied dwellings.
    11.2.1953 J J Caulfield promoted on transfer to Yallourn as Postmaster after retirement of H J W Elliott.
    1954 Total population 5580 (3408 males and 2172 females). There were 1151 occupied dwellings after the closure of West Camp.
    26.10.1956 J J McNamara promoted from Grade 2 to Grade 3 on transfer as Postmaster.
    24.3.1960 H T Christie promoted from Grade 2 to Grade 3 on transfer from Mirboo North to Yallourn as Postmaster.
    1961 Total population 5010 (2974 males and 2036 females). There were 1121 occupied dwellings.
    14.1.1965 T R Cook transferred from South Australia as Yallourn Postmaster.
    1966 Total population 4250.
    27.7.1967 C F Harrison promoted from Grade 2 to Grade 3 on transfer from Violet Town as Yallourn Postmaster.
    1971 Total population 3220.
    31.7.1973 G R McNamara promoted from Grade 2 to Grade 3 on transfer from South Australia as Yallourn Postmaster.
    11.12.1975 Post Office downgraded from Grade 3 to Grade 2.
    18.3.1976 T J Tobin promoted from Senior Postal Clerk to Grade 2 on transfer from Tatura as Yallourn Postmaster.
    1976 Total population 1880.
    1977 Total population 1400.
    1978 Total population 970.
    1.3.1979 Mrs V A Talbot became Postmistress on downgrading of Yallourn Post Office to Unofficial status.
    31.1.1980 Post Office closed for business permanently.
    Jan 1980 Total population 500 in 135 occupied dwellings.
    Mid-1980s Yallourn completely excavated for Brown Coal Mining.

    (Photo attached)
    Yallourn Post Office c1925 Yallourn Post Office c1965

    19/01/2019 - 11:41