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.
Special thanks for support given by Latrobe City & Public Records Office Victoria in preserving the history of Yallourn for all to share.

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    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    24/06/2017 - 15:55
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    Source: Stefan Tomasz

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    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    24/06/2017 - 15:51
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    Late 1953/early 1954 - Fountain in the square - you can just see the corner of the YPT

    Source: Stefan Tomasz

    23/06/2017 - 11:30
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    This newspaper article describes the visit of the Premier, John McDonald, to Yallourn in June 1952. The report was front page news in the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ and serves as a strong reminder of the importance of brown coal (and Yallourn) to the economy of Victoria in those post-war years.

    The story of John McDonald is inspiring. Born in Scotland, he rose from humble beginnings to become the Premier of Victoria. Mr McDonald’s life is a ‘rags to riches’ story which seems to have been ignored or overlooked in the ‘passing parade of history.’

    Throughout his active life, John McDonald never revealed (to the public) that he had been seriously wounded at the Western Front during World War:I; and the nature of the surgery that he underwent, (one hundred years ago) will surprise readers.

    The footnotes that accompany this article attempt to give a brief background to John McDonald, while the footnotes (6-13) relate to the Chairman of the Yallourn Town Advisory, Mr Tom Forristal.



    Prior to addressing a political meeting at the Yallourn Theatre on Tuesday night last, the Premier, Mr. McDonald, was entertained at dinner at the Yallourn Hotel by the chairman of the Yallourn Advisory Council, Mr.T. Forristal.

    In extending the Premier a welcome to Yallourn, Mr. Forristal referred to the drastic effect of the loan cuts on power and fuel development in the Latrobe Valley and invited the Premier to give a brief half-hour on the following morning to inspecting the new power station construction at Yallourn so as to inform himself first hand of the present position of that work.

    After thanking Mr. Forristal and the Yallourn Advisory Council for its welcome and hospitality, Mr. McDonald made the point that the brown coal resources of the Latrobe Valley could well be a means of creating a better understanding with our near neighbours by promoting trade and goodwill in its exchange for their surplus commodities, such as tin, rubber, etc.

    Recent research, continued Mr. McDonald, both in Australia and abroad had shown that Gippsland brown coal was much richer in by-products than ever previously believed. It was known that high octane spirit, petrol, tar and phenols in excess of Australian requirements could be extracted from Latrobe Valley brown coal.

    In conclusion, Mr. McDonald promised he would exhaust every possible financial resource to ensure that Victoria did not lose the Lurgi gas making plant ordered, through inability to find the purchase price, £1M.

    1. Mr John Gladstone Black McDonald served as the Premier of Victoria, in two stints, between June 1950 and December 1952. He was born in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1898; and his family migrated to Australia in 1912 and settled at Shepparton.
    2. At only 17 years of age, John McDonald enlisted in the Army and saw action at the Western Front during World War: 1….
    “Posted to the 37th Battalion, he served on the Western Front from November that year until he was shot through the chest in February 1917. While in hospital he had a lung removed: he kept his condition a secret for most of his life. Discharged on 4 January 1918, he returned to Shepparton where he established an orchard in partnership with his brother Rodney ADB Vol: 15. MUP 2000.
    3. During his time as a parliamentarian, John McDonald was a member of the Country Party; and he was knighted in 1957. There is much to Mr McDonald’s absorbing life-story and his substantial achievements are worthy of further investigation (see reading list below).
    4. In an interesting coincidence, mention was made, on same page of the newspaper, of a well-known Gippsland politician, Herbert Hyland. Mr Hyland’s name was often heard in matters regarding the town of Yallourn as he held the portfolio of Minister of State Development during that era.
    5. Sir John McDonald died at Mooroopna in 1977…
    “Survived by his wife, son and two daughters, McDonald died on 23 April 1977 at Mooroopna and was cremated. One week later a state memorial service was conducted at Shepparton. An undistinguished portrait of Sir John, painted from a photograph, is held at Parliament House, Melbourne.” Australian Dictionary Biography. ANU Volume 15: 2000.
    6. Tom Forristal’s name appeared quite regularly in researching this article. Mr Forristal was the first chairman of the Yallourn Town Advisory Council which was formed in 1948. Mr Forristal (OBE) was not elected by the residents of Yallourn but was appointed by the State Government to ‘chair’ the YTAC.
    7. It is known that Mr Forristal was, at one time, the Accountant to the State Treasury. He was first appointed to the Victorian Public Service in 1909.
    8. Throughout his long career in the Victorian Public Service, Mr Forristal held several positions including the State Coordinator of Works and State Statist and Actuary. His name can be found in press reports regarding various administrative and bureaucratic matters of the Victorian Government of those times.
    9. ‘The Argus’ (12th May) shows that a certain ‘T. Forristal’ was one of a long list of Victorians honoured with being awarded a Coronation Medal in 1937. The commemorative medals were presented to ‘leading citizens’ (as described by ‘The Argus’) throughout all the states of Australia; it seems reasonably safe to assume that Tom Forristal (later of Yallourn Town Advisory Council) was a recipient.
    10. Mr Forristal served as the Chairman of YTAC for twenty-one years and stepped down from that position in 1969. An interesting aspect of his involvement in the affairs of Yallourn was that he was not actually a resident of the town. It is said that he lived in Melbourne and travelled to Yallourn to chair meetings and carry out his other duties .
    11. In 1954, Tom Forristal represented the residents of Yallourn when he accepted a cheque presented by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks, …
    “On Thursday last, Cr. T. Forristal, Chairman of the Yallourn Advisory Council acting on behalf of the public of Yallourn, was summoned to Government House and presented by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks, with a cheque for £1000 won by the Borough of Yallourn for having raised the most money of any municipality in Victoria – pro-rata to population - for the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Trust Fund for Mothers and Children.” ‘Morwell Advertiser’ December 9th 1954.
    12. ‘The Argus’ (1957) reported that Mr Forristal was re-appointed, by the Victorian Government, for a further term as Chairman of the YTAC…
    “Yallourn chairman….Mr. T. Forristal has been re-appointed chairman of the Yallourn Town Advisory Council for the fourth successive three-year term…. Mr. Forristal is the State Treasury's chief accountant. He joined the public service in 1909 and has held his present job since 1947.” ‘The Argus’ January 16th 1957
    13. Tom Forristal was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 1957 New Year’s Honours list for his lasting service to Victoria including the key role he played in organizing the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. ‘The Argus’ on the 1st January that year carried the following…
    “…Thomas Forristal: Victorian Treasury representative on the Olympic Games Organising Committee, he has been accountant to the Treasury since 1937; member of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into industrial life assurance in 1938. Since 1951, he has been a member of the ' Victorian Central Planning Authority and a director of the Gas and Fuel Corporation…”
    14. The Lurgi method of producing gas from coal was first pioneered in Germany in the 1940’s; and the Morwell plant, despite the financial concerns expressed by Mr McDonald in 1952, commenced operation in 1956. The Gas and Fuel Corporation installed a high pressure pipe line that carried the gas to Melbourne (and suburbs) for industrial and domestic consumption.
    15. The Yallourn Hotel (mentioned above) was opened in October 1928 and was one of the finest hotels in Victoria. A columnist (Mrs H. Yelland) described it as… “a model hotel, completely electrified and equipped with every comfort…”
    16. There are numerous photographs of the Yallourn Hotel on this website; and to visit these pages simply type the word ‘Hotel’ into the search field at the top right hand corner of the page and press the ‘Enter’ key.

    John McDonald’s life was ‘above the ordinary’ and it is disappointing that his service and contribution to Victorian life seems to have been disregarded with the passage of time. The following reading list, as provided from the Australian National University, maybe a good starting point for those who are interested in learning more about John McDonald’s life and times.
    • K. West. ‘Power in the Liberal Party’ (Melb, 1965).
    • L. G. Houston. ‘Ministers of Water Supply in Victoria’ (Melb, 1965).
    • R. Wright. ‘A People's Counsel’ (Melb, 1992).
    • ‘Countryman’ (Melbourne), 4 Sept 1936, 14 Nov 1952, 22 July 1955.
    • ‘Herald’ (Melbourne), 4 July 1970.
    • ‘Age’ (Melbourne), 11 July 1970, 25 Apr 1977.
    • ‘Shepparton News’ 25 Apr 1977, 8 July 1983.

    This story is part of a history project entitled ‘From the Newspapers’ and a full list of titles in this series can be obtained by contacting Julie George. The research, writing and posting of this article were completed by Julie George and Roger Spaull for the Virtual Yallourn website in June 2017.
    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, so as to enhance the story for the purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.

    22/06/2017 - 13:48
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    Grade 3A

    Grade 3A, teacher Miss Ballard.
    Back Row: David Becket, Graeme Sneddon, John Connors, John Udowenko, Graeme French, Greg Ryan, Jeff Gray, Lachlan McPherson, Jimmy Bremner, John McClare, David Edwards, Jeff Browitt, John Bilston, Gary Sandman
    Middle Row: Greg Church, Michael Lambert, John Brisco, Malcolm Gibson, Ian Pringle, Peter Hellyer, Robert Baird, Anne Dyson, Dianne Robertson, Erna Kimberley, Christine Flack, Kay Gore, Bev Malpass, Merle Hamilton.
    Front Row: Helena Kotiw, Jenny Langdon, - , Sandra Prust, Lorna McNaughton, Linda Smith, Margaret Wilson, Robyn Kenny, Janet McKinna, Judith Phillips, Kerry French, Marilyn Gloz, Carole Sagar, Beverley Mee

    15/06/2017 - 15:25
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    Grade 3B

    Back Row: Malcolm Castelow, ? , Gary Smith, George Plavins, Karl Krautschneider, Alan Johnson, Paul Vincent, ? , Lawrie Bailey, Ian ..., Russell ...
    Middle Row: Robert Sims, Mardi Halkett, Faye Osborne, Leanne Johnstone, Julie Godfrey, Brenda ... , Bev Rainbow?, Irene French, Pauline Lock, Noelene Swann, Kim Mitchell, Geoff Ryan
    Front Row: Marie Peters, Karen Wallis, Jill Mounter, Dale Hawken, Dianne Charleston, Ann McCoy, Catherine Jensen, Chris Francis, Maureen Rice, Helen Ashmore, Judy Williams
    Teacher: Mr Wilson

    15/06/2017 - 14:48
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    In 1958 the Yallourn Football Club’s Annual Presentation of Trophies was held on the 30th September at the Hernes Oak Hall. The highlight of the evening was the conferring of YFC Life Memberships upon Des Madden and Jimmy Shaw. Des and Jimmy had each played more than 200 games for Yallourn FC and both had been dominant players in the CGFL and the LVFL. ‘Champion’ is an often over-used term in sporting vernacular but there would be little argument that the title sits well with both. For more than a decade, Des and Jim had been loyal servants of the club and had always been resolute and uncompromising when wearing the Blues’ jumper.

    ‘Longevity, reliability and consistency’ are three important factors when ‘weighing up’ the worth of footballers to any club and Des and Jimmy passed ‘the test’ with flying colours. Both had shared the highs and lows of football. Des and Jimmy were team mates in the victorious 1948 YFC Premiership team. Five years later, they shared the bitter disappointment of being beaten by Morwell in the last-ever CGFL Grand Final.
    Des won numerous trophies during his career including...
    1. Best Backman ~ (1951).
    2. Best Backman ~ (1952).
    3. Special Player Award~ (1953).
    4. Most Reliable Player ~(1954)

    The Virtual Yallourn website has previously posted the remarkable performances of Jimmy Shaw. If the YFC had a ‘Hall of Fame’ then Jimmy would be granted ‘Legend Status’. Jimmy was the star rover of CGFL in that era and in 1953, he won the prestigious Rodda Medal. Over the years at the club, Jimmy won a host of awards and trophies including :
    1. At least five YFC Best & Fairest~ (1946-47-51-53-55).
    2. Most Consistent Player ~ (1944).
    3. Most Consistent Player ~ (1948).
    4. Most CGFL Umpires Votes for a YFC Player (1952).
    5. Jimmy also represented the LVFL against the Gippsland FL at Maffra in 1954.
    6. In 1949 Jimmy played three VFL games with Melbourne FC.

    The 1958 LVFL Treasurer Mr O’Connell, a guest of the YFC that evening, referred to Des and Jimmy in his address to the club …
    “Yallourn has always worthily upheld the highest traditions of the game …and (he) was particularly pleased to see the club reward such outstanding players as Des Madden and Jimmy Shaw.”

    The 1958 YFC award winners were:
    Best & Fairest. Kevin Gould
    Runner-up Best & Fairest. Bill Jackson
    Most Consistent Player. Alec Shaw
    Most Determined. Barry Spurrier
    Best Utility. Barney Sewell
    Goal kicking Trophy. Roy Illingworth
    Selectors’ Trophy. Kevin Gould
    Youngest Player Award. Tony Radford
    Best Clubman. John Henderson
    Best & Fairest. Brian Bertoli
    Runner- Up Best & Fairest. Alister Thorpe
    Most consistent Player. John Fullwood
    Most Improved Player. Ron Gale

    During the evening, a special appreciation award was made to the YFC Ladies’ Committee for the outstanding contribution it had made to the club throughout the season. Mesdames Menner, Botten, Barton, Slatter, Sloan and Smith each received a presentation and the warm-hearted thanks of all in attendance.
    In a thoughtful gesture, the club also officially recognised the sterling efforts of four young volunteers Maureen Sloan, John Norden, Andrew Smith and Robin Unwin for assisting YFC during the season.


    1. Alister Thorpe first played for Yallourn in 1958. He came from Trafalgar FC where he had played 1st XVIII football from 1951-57.

    2. According to the available records, Alister played 77 senior games for Trafalgar and kicked 51 goals. In the match reports of the early 1950’s, Alister was mentioned as being a centre man. Alister won the Senior XVIII Best & Fairest Trophy for Trafalgar in 1956.

    3. Alister played 37 senior games for Yallourn between 1958 and 1963. In summary, Alister played 114 senior games in the CGFL & LVFL. He also played many reserve grade matches in his time at YFC.

    4. As a full forward, Alister was a ‘shrewd sharpshooter’ because of uncanny ability to find space close to goal and convert the ‘half chances’ that came his way during the game.

    5. Alister was one of the most thrilling aerialists to ever play for Yallourn FC in that era (1945-65). Despite all the changes introduced into football over the years, high marking is still the most attractive aspect of Australian Rules. Alistair rarely failed to give the spectators their ‘penny’s worth’ of aerial acrobatics each week. Not all football coaches like players who mark from behind; but in Alister’s case he was a ‘natural’, somewhat like Alex Jesaulenko (Carlton). One of the thrills for the local crowd was to see Alister use the opposition defender’s back as a ladder…step..…climb…hang …and then pluck the ball from above the pack. Yallourn supporters just waited and watched for his moment of ‘take off’ each Saturday. Alister’s ‘airborne antics’ were always talking points at school first thing on Monday morning for the youngsters of the town.

    6. Over the years, Yallourn FC had some very exciting and spectacular ‘high fliers’ such as Peter Cook, Gary Hurle, Tom Garland, Laurie Shipp, Steve Szabo, Max Sullivan, Bruce Goode, Rick Belford, Kevin Fanning and Michael Smith, but Alister ranks with the best.

    7. Alister was the YFC 2nd XVIII team captain of the side that played in the LVFL Grand Final against Traralgon in 1963.

    8. Alister was held in high regard by all. In keeping with his free spirit and positive outlook on life, he won the YFC’s Most Unselfish Player Trophy that season. (Note: Alister’s daughter, Marji, is a keen member of Yallourn Old Girls’ Association and enjoys attending the Annual Reunions and the opportunity to meet up with her many friends from Yallourn High School days).

    9.Vic Lawrence (ex- North Melbourne/Victoria) coached Yallourn in 1958 and 1959. Vic was chosen in the LVFL inter-league squad in 1959. There is a story posted regarding Vic on the Virtual Yallourn website.

    10. See the Virtual Yallourn website for stories and footnotes regarding Jack Vinall, Ron Lee, Bruce Knight and Kevin Gould.

    11. Alec Shaw (unrelated to Jimmy Shaw) joined Yallourn from Yinnar FC. Alec was an ‘in-under’ rover who lacked nothing in courage and stamina. Alec won the goal kicking award in 1957. Alec returned to Yinnar in later years and won Yinnar’s Best & Fairest Trophy (1961&65). Barney Sewell (see photograph) was a dependable and vigourous back pocket for Yallourn in that period. Barney was also cleared to Yinnar and in 1964 he coached Yinnar to a MGFL Premiership. He won two Best & Fairest awards for Yinnar (1966 & 67).

    12. In the 1958 team photograph, Ray Kitney is shown next to Alec Shaw. Ray started his career with YFC in the early 1950’s and in 1952 won the Reserves Most Improved Player award. He played his first senior game with the club in 1953. Ray played in the LVFL Grand Final against Sale in 1955.
    In 1956 ‘The Argus’ (March 6th) reported that… “Ray Kitney a wingman from Yallourn trained at Geelong FC.”
    Ray won the club’s Most Consistent Player trophy in 1957. Ray’s other awards at YFC were the Most Unselfish Player (1959) and in 1960 he won a special club award entitled Best Attention to Training. Ray (or ‘Steak’ as he was known) played 123 senior games for YFC. A motor mechanic by trade, Ray was regarded as a loyal and dedicated member of YFC. He and his wife (Enid) currently live in W.A.

    13. Bill Jackson was an outstanding midfielder and, like John Hutchinson, had played CGFL and LVFL football at a young age. Bill was a fierce competitor who never took a ‘short step in any contest’. His strength at ground level enabled Yallourn to win a ‘fair share’ of centre breaks. The Melbourne Football Club took considerable interest in Bill and he signed on with the Demons as a teenager. Bill broke into the news (‘The Argus’ May 1954) when his request to seek a transfer to another VFL club was refused by the VFL permit committee.
    Bill’s other awards at YFC included…
    1. Special YFC Trophy~1953.
    2. Bud Williams Memorial Trophy~1953.
    3. Most Serviceable player~1956.
    Bill’s brother-in-law Jim Mitchell is pictured in the front row. Jim also played with Warragul (LVFL) for a short time.

    14. Barry Spurrier was a popular and ‘lion-hearted’ player for the Blues in that period. Barry was a prominent player in the local under-age competition and he later forged a reputation as a tireless and spirited wingman in LVFL football.
    Barry’s club awards and honours included…
    1. Under 16 League Runner-up Best & Fairest.
    1. Captain of YFC Third XVIII team ~1956.
    1. Under 18 Best & Fairest Trophy ~ 1956.
    2. Reserves Best & Fairest Trophy~ 1957.
    3. Senior XVIII Most Determined Award in 1958.
    As a point of interest, Barry remembers selling the ‘VFL Record’ for the ‘National Round Day’ which was held on June 14th 1952.The specially organized VFL fixture between Footscray and St Kilda was played at Yallourn Oval. Barry has never forgotten the large crowd (3500) which packed the ground to watch the game on that day. In wet and wintry conditions St Kilda 7.7. (49) defeated Footscray 5.4.(34).

    15. Roy Illingworth, who won the Goal-kicking Trophy in 1958, played with Essendon Reserves in the early 1950’s. (Note: Roy played with the Bombers in the same era as John Coleman). Roy gained a high percentage of his possessions with clever leading and he was an extremely accurate ‘set shot’ for goal. In that season Max Donnelly (Moe) won the LVFL goal kicking award with 77 goals, Doug Gorgenson (Morwell) was runner-up with 75 goals and Laurie Stephenson (Sale) finished third on the table with 33.

    16. John Henderson (1958~Best Clubman) played his first senior game for YFC in 1956. He was a dependable and effective centre half back for Yallourn in that era. John won the club’s ‘Most Serviceable Trophy’ in 1957. In 1960, John was cleared to Morwell FC and played in the 1960 Morwell FC Grand Final team. John retired from playing at the age of twenty three but returned later to Morwell FC in the role of selector (1979-82). John was then elected President of MFC in 1983 and ‘presided over matters of the club’ during one of the Tigers’ most successful eras until 1989. John’s grandsons Luke, Michael, Chris, Alex and Zac are currently involved with the Morwell Football & Netball Club.

    17. A young and promising player in the above photograph is Keith Angove. Keith was a dour and disciplined defender who made his LVFL debut in 1957. He went on to play in excess of 100 senior games for YFC.

    18. Another tenacious and hard-hitting back man in the photograph is Merv Crane. Merv (aka ‘Storky’) was powerfully built and courageous in tough pack situations. He played his first game for Yallourn in 1954 and played in excess of 70 senior matches. Merv was a member of the 1955 Grand Final team and in 1957 was awarded the Most Determined Player Trophy. Merv’s brother Ken also played with YFC as a forward. One of Ken’s greatest performances for the Blues was at Traralgon. In a memorable display at centre half forward, Ken nearly ‘stole the game’ from the star studded and highly fancied Traralgon team. Ken showed a ‘streak of brilliance’ that day. Gary Crane was a star at VFL level with Carlton FC. Gary played 148 games for Carlton (1964-76) and also represented Victoria. Although Gary played with YFC Third XVIII in 1961 he was recruited to Carlton from Yallourn North (MGFL) in 1964. He was chosen as a wingman in Carlton’s Team of the Century.

    19. John Hutchinson was cleared to Fitzroy FC in 1958. John returned to play with YFC the following season. There is a story regarding John’s VFL and LVFL career posted on the Virtual Yallourn website.

    20. Trafalgar defeated Traralgon by seven points to win the LVFL flag in 1958.Trafalgar was coached by Bill Milroy (ex-Carlton). Lester Ross (Moe FC) won the Rodda/Trood Medal in that season.

    21. Yallourn FC won 8 games (lost 11 games ~ percentage of 78.55%) and finished 6th on the LVFL ladder in 1958. Vic Lawrence also coached the Blues the following season. In 1960 the club appointed Jim Dorgan (ex-Melbourne/ South Melbourne /Moe) to the coaching position.

    Written for Virtual Yallourn by Roger Spaull~ May 2013.

    For further stories, photographs and memorabilia regarding YFC… Click “Search”…type “Football” …press “Enter”.

    14/06/2017 - 12:59
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    SECV Social Club Winter Ball 1960 - Kernot Hall
    L-R: ? , Lorraine Rissinich, Beverley Dean, ? , Janice Bond, ? , ? , Helen Catchpole, David Betts, Mary (?), Mary Bennett, Rodney Catchpole

    09/06/2017 - 15:23