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. .

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    Choir record cover - front
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    Yallourn High School Choir 1963
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    Caption: Santa Claus and Friends at Yallourn ‘W’ Picnic at Neil Ipsen’s property at Beck’s Bridge.

    To see more photographs of Christmas celebrations for 1973 go to: The December edition of the 1973 ‘Contact’ magazine. This can be found on this website by simply typing the word: ‘Contact’ in the Search field (above); and then by scrolling down through the various editions of the magazine.

    Christmas Photographs …Julie would like to post any other photographs, related to Christmas in Yallourn, on this website. Readers who have a photo of a family gathering, a church service, a school outing, a works party or some other aspect of Christmas may like to consider sharing them with others via Virtual Yallourn website.

    Two pages of photographs and stories related to Christmas in Yallourn can be seen on this website. Having said all that, “Merry Christmas to all”

    19/12/2019 - 14:23
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    The idea of this project, ‘From the Newspapers’ was seen as a fitting way to highlight the selfless endeavours of the residents, of earlier days, who ‘paved the way’ in developing the township of Yallourn.
    The series of articles commenced in January 2015; and, over the past five years, more than seventy extracts from various newspapers have focused upon local families, personalities, organisations and events of Yallourn since 1921.
    The footnotes, which accompanied each story, tried to ‘shed further light’ on a particular period of the town’s history and tried to help younger readers appreciate what made Yallourn such a unique place.

    Julie George and I would like to express our sincere thanks to:
    (i) Former residents of Yallourn who forwarded anecdotes, information and photographs.
    (ii) Readers who provided suggestions to augment the various articles in the project.

    We would also like to acknowledge the following people for their interest in the articles and their assistance with the compilation of footnotes for the extracts…
    • Peter Thwaites and John Farquharson.
    • Julian Beck & Cecilia Olmos Vancouver (British Columbia Sporting Hall of Fame).
    • Anna and Michael Meszaros ( Association of Sculptors- Victoria)
    • Heather Barton (AM-Order of Australia).
    • Frank Tabone (Latrobe Valley Maltese Festival).
    • Philip Moses (Secretary, Australian Jewish Historical Society).
    • David Langdon (Richmond Historical Society).
    • Bryan McKenzie (ex-Swan Hill Genealogical & Historical Society).
    • Bet Jenvey, (Research Officer for the S.H.G & H.S).
    • Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld (Monash Health).
    • John Peck ( Trotting Historian), Kathy Gerbert (Harness Racing Australia ), Kyle Galley ( Warragul Harness Racing Club), Dean Baring, Michael Taylor and Flora Robson (Harness Racing fraternity).
    • Dr Kay Steel (Federation University).
    • Dr Julie Fenley-Churchill Campus (Monash University).
    • Caroline Oxley- Research Officer- Victoria Police Museum.
    • Justin Hosking (Hosking Lawyers- Rosebud).
    • Kylie Best- State Library of Victoria.
    • Staff - Rosebud Public Library.
    • Staff- State Library of Victoria.
    • Staff- City of Footscray Public Library.
    • Staff-National Library of Australia
    • Staff -The Australian War Memorial.
    • Libraries Australia Help Desk staff.
    • Michael Roberts-Historian Collingwood Football Club.
    • Tony De Bolfo- Historian Carlton Football Club.
    • Boyles Football Photos.
    • Members of the Old Coal Museum at Yallourn North.
    • Bruce McMaster & Florence Butcher- Morwell Historical Society.
    • Moe Historical Society.
    • Fran Clarke, Margaret Reid, ‘Mossie’ Williams, Lyn & Murray French, John & Lance White, John Hutchinson, Gaynor Gould (Fairclough), Grant & Dawn Cowley, Jim Richardson, Norm Hall, Andrew, Lyn & Elizabeth Spaull, Heather Stone, Victor Berquez, Stan Oakley, Barbara Bunting (Davine), Isobel Woodside (Docherty), Elaine Hosie (Verey), Veronica Barfoot (Lacey), Alison Bonnici, Frank Widdows, Leonie Godridge, Richard Bush, Heather Baker (Norden ), Kay Heeps (Spurrier) , Trevor McColl, Joan Ashmead, Chris Francis, Laurie Shipp, Paul Carter, Barry & Marion Spurrier, Bill Jackson, Dianne Goulding ( Stevenson ), Sue Van Dijk (Wallace), Lois Gust , Jim Watt (Jnr), Fae Horman (Lawson), Alan Ripper, Muffy Forsyth, Perry Middlemiss, Ian Fleming and Brian Handley.

    The list of articles posted by Julie since 2015:-

    1 1934 Tiger Snake’s Fatal Meal Mr McClarty
    2 1952 Heather MacKay wins a Bicycle Young Heather McKay
    3 1934 A Day at the Melbourne Zoo Yallourn State School
    4 1948 Excellent Exam Results Margaret Reid
    5 1932 Young Boy Visits Melbourne Harry Rickard
    6 1928 Safety Rope Saves Life W. Bloomfield
    7 1934 School Christmas Party Yallourn State School
    8 1947 Rhodes Scholar from Yallourn Michael Thwaites
    9 1921 The Christmas Tree Coal Mine Camps
    10 1935 Annual Exam Results Yallourn H.E.S
    11 1945 Yallourn Flower Show Inge Melgaard
    12 1945 Opening of YHS Yallourn High School
    13 1954 Boxing & Wrestling in Yallourn Yallourn Boys’ Club
    14 1934 Housewives Association –AGM Mrs Alice Wilson
    15 1949 Yallourn High School Results Scholarship winners 1949
    16 1934 Christmas at Yallourn S.S. Christmas events in Yallourn
    17 1922 General Monash’s Vision Sir John Monash PDF
    18 1936 Jock Lawson & the Bowling Club. Jock Lawson & Family
    19 1952 The Runaway Train. Ed Whelan
    20 1953 Library Borrowing at Yallourn. Notes regarding Christobel Mattingley
    21 1927 Landslide at Yallourn
    22 1953 3D Films at Yallourn Theatre Rex Hamilton
    23 1923 Police raid at the camps. Constable Kennedy
    24 1947 Yallourn Kindergarten.
    25 1921 Christmas in the Camps.

    1 1923 The Case for a Doctor in Yallourn Dr Hugh Mitchell
    2 1928 A Brave Young Mother. Mrs. Stevens
    3 1944 Yallourn High School Report. Mr. Lindsay
    4 1932 The Guide Hut. Mrs. Graham and others
    5 1938 Lynda Adams Visits. Famous Canadian diver.
    6 1949 Infant Welfare Centre.
    7 1953 Rockmans New Store. Also in Yallourn Newsletter
    Note: Stories regarding George Ellis and Prue McGoldrick were published in the Yallourn Newsletter in 2016.
    8 1942 Soldier Recognition. Williams family of Yallourn
    9 1932 Ideal Town Quest.
    10 1928 Opening of Yallourn Hotel.
    11 1934 Yallourn Soccer Club. The Wanderers
    12 1953 Drama Groups of Yallourn. Jack Alston and others.
    13 1932 Christmas at Yallourn.

    1 1944 Enid Summerskill visits Yallourn. Visit by a noted UK MP.
    2 1945 YHS Examination Results.
    3 1939 Death of Allan Hutton. Yallourn Football Club star.
    4 1950 Maltese workers arrive at Yallourn. History article highlighting local Maltese families.
    5 1954 Walter Lindrum visits Yallourn. Famous billiards player
    6 1952 Premier McDonald visits Yallourn.
    7 1932 Housewives Meet Sir John Monash.
    8 Bill Fleming & the Yallourn Band. Including the memories of Ian Fleming.
    9 1928 Gastro-enteritis Outbreak at the BCM. Dr. J.M. Andrew
    10 1954 Yallourn Hospital Wins An Award.
    11 1941 Wartime Evacuees from Yallourn. World War:2 article.
    12 1949 John Shaw Neilson-the Poet. His days at Yallourn & beyond. A famous Australian poet.
    13 1932 A Christmas Story.

    1 1955 England plays cricket at Yallourn. Dick Sagar & Ken Grant
    2 1945 Yallourn High School Sports Day. Richard Bush and YHS
    3 1940 Dr Hyman Herman. A quiet hero of Yallourn
    4 1952 The sale of the Yallourn Butchery. Contribution by Dianne Stevenson.
    5 1934 Yallourn Auxiliary of the RVIB. Mrs. Armstrong & others.
    6 1939 Workers saved from a coal bunker.
    7 1950 A trotter named Yallourn. PDF with photographs
    8 1940 Munitions Training at YTS. Wartime training
    9 1932 Pollution of the Latrobe River.
    10 1950 A landslide at Yallourn North. Photos from 1950.
    11 1928 Yallourn Cricket Club wins a pennant.
    12 N/A A Thank You to the Forsyth family. Muffy Forsyth of Thorpdale
    13 1953 3TR Hospital Appeal. Christmas story

    1 1923 Returned Soldiers’ Sports at Yallourn.
    2 1954 Overcrowding at Yallourn High School. Cr. W. Wallace and others
    3 1935 The Death of J.P. Campbell. One of Australia’s greatest photographers
    4 1933 Grand Final : Yallourn v Maffra. PDF with photographs
    5 N/A The Lacey Family of Yallourn. The memories of Veronica Lacey regarding her family and life in Yallourn.
    6 1945 Yallourn Womens’ National Emergency Fund. Mrs. R. Hunt, Mrs. Armstrong, Mrs. Dann and others.
    7 1930 Yallourn Gloomchasers Orchestra. Jock Sloan.
    8 1940 Charles Burton Boehm. A dynamic resident of Yallourn
    9 1933 Yallourn – A Sporting Centre Sports of all sorts.
    10 1931 A Sensation at Yallourn Night watchman Peter Wells.
    11 1931 The Funeral of Sir John Monash PDF with photographs.
    12 1948 A Long Hot Summer at Yallourn An important debate at the Yallourn TAC.
    13 N/A Table of Contents 2015-2019 Thank you to all the contributors since 2015.

    While hundreds of newspaper extracts were used in researching the above articles, unreserved praise should be given to the following local historians for their dedicated investigations into the early days of Yallourn:
    1. Prue McGoldrick. In reading Prue’s book ‘Yallourn Was’ it is evident that she cherished the township and admired its people. Prue’s authoritative research will serve as a lasting record of Yallourn; and a tribute to Prue can be found on this website.
    2. Meredith Fletcher. Meredith’s detailed research in her book ‘Digging People Up for Coal’ is essential reading for those interested in the history of the town and battle to save Yallourn from closure.
    3. Kath Ringin - ‘The Old Brown Coal Mine.’
    4. Joseph Sestokas- ‘Welcome to Little Europe. Displaced Persons and the North Camp.’ This book is an informative study about the hardship experienced by those living in the camps in the early days of settlement.

    It would be remiss not to express a very special ‘Thank You’ to Julie George for her drive and enthusiasm for this project. Julie’s on-going dedication to the Virtual Yallourn website has been recognised by many people; and, in 2015 and 2016, the Royal Historical Society of Victoria presented Julie with Commendation Awards for the website’s contribution to the preservation of local history. It was a well-deserved honour and something of which Julie and the committee can be proud.

    All readers would concur in thanking Julie for her dedication in administering and maintaining the thousands of postings on this website.
    (Note: At the time of writing, the Virtual Yallourn website consists of 495 pages).

    While the series ‘From the Newspapers’ has ‘run its course’, there are still many former residents of Yallourn who warrant enduring gratitude; and it seems only right and proper that their contribution to the township should be recognised. Julie is determined to post as much of Yallourn’s history ( as is possible) on the website. Consequently, other articles about the personalities and events of Yallourn will be researched and published from time to time.

    It is hoped that the articles, were successful in…
    • Unearthing many of the forgotten events of Yallourn’s rich history, and
    • Recognising those people who gave their time and energy in making Yallourn such a harmonious community.

    In conclusion, it is difficult to define, in a few words, what made Yallourn such a ‘pleasant place’ for so many people but the following quotation of Anthony D’Angelo (an American author), hits the ‘nail on the head’ about the collective spirit of the people of Yallourn…

    “Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”

    Thank you and best wishes to all.
    Roger Spaull

    18/12/2019 - 11:20
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    Caption: YALLOURN SCOUTS: Lady Baden Powell visited Yallourn on February 13th and inspected local scouts (top left), cubs (lower left )…

    Source: ‘Weekly Times’ Wednesday 25 February 1948, page 5

    10/12/2019 - 17:10
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    The sales of electric refrigerators took off some time in the 1950’s; and it is documented that 67% of Melbourne homes had electric refrigerators by 1955. Up until that period, people depended upon ice chests to keep their food fresh and edible.
    The following extract reports on a lively debate that arose at the Yallourn Town Advisory Council meeting, in February 1948 regarding a shortage of ice for household ice chests.
    It was a vital issue for the town; and the YTAC was under extreme pressure, from local residents, to find a solution to the problem. During the meeting, Cr. Edmondson presented a petition, signed by 160 residents, imploring the authorities to guarantee that an adequate supply of ice for the people of Yallourn that year. The comments of Councillors Edmondson, Fewster and Field make interesting reading.

    Furthermore, the remarks made by of Mr Shaw, who seems to have been the owner/manager the Morwell Ice Works, provide some insight into the difficulties that the company had experienced in coping with the heavy demand for ice during that long hot summer some 71 years ago.



    THAT the provision of adequate ice supplies for the needs of house holders is a live issue at Yallourn, was evident from the correspondence, petition and nominal roll of unsatisfied customers before the Yallourn Advisory Council on 20th February.
    The Yallourn Branch of the A.L.P. submitted a further suggestion that the S.E.C. make fuller use of existing ice making plant at the butchery by working shifts and retailing and delivering through the General Store.

    Mr. W.T. Price submitted representatives for improvements and the S.E.C. indicated that the plant at the butchery was too small and overhead costs prevented any extension. It expressed its willingness to set aside a site for an ice-making and chilling plant, if somebody would be prepared to construct and operate it.

    Cr. Edmondson also presented a petition carrying 160 signatures asking for council's co-operation in securing adequate supplies of ice. Cr. Fewster made a case for the utilisation to capacity of the existing plant at the butchery. He believed it could produce seven tons weekly if not used for chilling. Alternatively, the S.E.C. might make the plant available to the Morwell distributor.
    Mr. W.N. Shaw, of the Morwell Ice Works, appeared before the council to explain the position as to the production and delivery of ice to Yallourn. Mr. Shaw said that when he purchased the ice manufacturing plant at Morwell in late 1946, he was quite aware that its capacity was inadequate for the market offering. He had accordingly lost no time in preparing plans, as a first step, for the duplication of the existing plant, which was capable, if driven to its full capacity, of producing 35 tons weekly.

    He had placed orders for requisite, machinery and equipment with Melbourne firms, but, despite continuous pressure on the manufacturers, he was unable to obtain much of the essential equipment. Towards the middle of last year, he purchased materials, ex-disposals, to fabricate the brine tank and had exhausted every avenue for obtaining material for completing the job.

    Although he had not been able to get increased production during the recent hot spell, he believed it would not be long before the duplicated plant would come into full production. Although he had a waiting list of 108 names, he considers that, when the final items of equipment came to hand, he could adequately cover Yallourn's full requirements.

    During the recent hot spells, by working round the clock, he had brought 60 tons of ice from Melbourne to help out, but the availability of sufficient petrol was a limiting factor to continuing this auxiliary service.

    Cr. Fewster suggested the possibility of inducing the S.E.C. to hire its plant to a distributor or to get somebody to use it to manufacture ice for sale to Mr. Shaw. Cr. Field drew attention to the fact that the primary object of the plant at the butchery was for chilling meat. Perhaps the Yallourn Co-operative Society might be interested in the Commission's proposal to make a site available for an ice-works and cool store.

    It was agreed that the S.E.C. be asked if, in its opinion, a greater supply of ice could be obtained by utilising the plant at the butchery to its fullest capacity for the manufacture and delivery of ice.

    1. For younger readers, iceboxes or chests were constructed of wood (often mahogany) and the inside of the chest was lined with a metal lamina (such as tin or zinc). An insulating material (perhaps charcoal) was packed between the outer and inner ‘skins’ to restrict heat loss from the chest.
    2. In those days, the ‘ice man’ delivered large ice blocks to the homes of Yallourn residents. The ice was placed in the top compartment of the ice chest and the cool air would circulate through the lower area of the chest where the perishable foods were stored. As the ice melted, a pipe, fitted at the rear of the chest, would carry the water to a container (usually on the floor) beneath the chest. This container of water would be emptied at regular intervals.
    3. Depending on circumstances, a block of ice would last one to three days in the warmer months; so the financial benefits for the supplier of ice in the peak of summer were significant.
    4. It is known that the Yallourn abattoirs had large refrigeration chambers on site to ensure that the meat was kept cool overnight before being delivered to the butcher shop. The slaughter-yard was situated on the outskirts of Yallourn (along the road leading from Yallourn Hospital to Hernes Oak).
    5. Note: In 2018, former YHS student Dianne Stevenson (Goulding), provided some enlightening information and photographs for this website regarding the Yallourn butcher shop and the slaughter yards. Dianne’s informative article can be found on this website.
    6. It wasn’t just the iceman who did ‘his rounds’ at Yallourn each week. In a story for this website, Jean Fox (Hattam) referred to the butcher, baker, milkman and grocer making home deliveries to the homes of the township in earlier times..
    “…the butcher, grocer (Nick Carter from Purvis Stores Moe) and baker (Mr Claxton from Yallourn North Bakery with his slow old horse) called from back door to back door through your yards to take orders. Even the night man went from loo to loo. The milk as delivered from hand cans into your milk billy each day…” Source: ‘Virtual Yallourn’ May 2015.
    7. Younger readers may not appreciate that Yallourn was, in essence, a ‘company town’ and did not have an elected town council. The history of the formation of the Yallourn Town Advisory Council is well documented; and the YTAC came into being as the result of debate and concerted resident action. From the earliest days of the township, there were numerous attempts to change the system of governance of Yallourn…
    “They (the residents) had no civic body to speak for them in negotiations with the Commission…residents were disenfranchised… So, they were both voiceless and voteless’’ Source: Prue McGoldrick ‘Yallourn Was’. Page :113.
    8. As a consequence of lengthy community agitation and campaigning, by the residents, the Yallourn Town Advisory Council was established, under the auspices of the SECV, in September 1947.
    9. The first members of the Yallourn Town Advisory Council were: E.G. Chisholm, John Field, R. Hamilton, R. Edmondson, A.E. Fewster and J. Collins. Mr T. Forristal was the independent chairman of the YTAC and Mr D. Langhorne was the nominated secretary…
    “RATEPAYERS REPRESENTATIVES ELECTED …Following the poll on Saturday when fifteen candidates presented themselves for selections as ratepayers' representatives on the newly-created Yallourn Advisory. Council, the following were elected for the periods specified: EDMONDSON. R. S. J., school teacher. FEWSTER. A. W. E.. engineer. HAMILTON. Rex. lessee, Yallourn Picture Theatre. Mr Edmondson, who topped the poll was elected for three years, Mr Fewster for two and Mr Hamilton for one.” Source: ‘Morwell Advertiser’ December 18th 1947.
    10. In the period 1947-79, other members of YTAC included (in alphabetical order): L. D’Alterio, P. Ashmead, J. Breen, N. Byrne, A. Cross, F. Daddo, G. Evans, W. Graham, F. Harries, P. Harry, W. Hebb, T. Jensen, R. Larsen, A. Lynch, B. Milne, P. Moncur, P. O’Sullivan, J. Robertson, A. Shepley, J. Slade, N. Smith, M. Sparrow, N. Thompson. J. Vines and W. Wallace.
    11. According to one reliable source, Mrs Norma Smith was the only woman to serve on the YTAC. Norma was a member from 1974 until 1979.
    12. The last Yallourn Town Advisory Council was held on November 29th 1979.By that time, ice chests were a ‘thing of the past’ and ‘ultra-modern’ electrical refrigerators and other labour saving ‘white goods’ had become the norm in most Australian homes.

    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 November 2019.

    The above extract 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 story for the purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.

    21/11/2019 - 16:04
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    Duke and Duchess on the left, Betty Wallace (girl nearest camera) and Dr James & Mrs Dorothy Andrew on the right

    21/11/2019 - 16:04