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. .

  • 32715

    Andrew Spaull YHS 1955 ...from the exhibition “Yallourn Revisited” 1993 It was his own special view (of Yallourn), he claims: revealed only to me as a pubescent paperboy on my daily delivery to the reservoir warden’s home on the hill. On a crisp autumn morning, I would pause for the sun’s first shafts to pierce through the mist below and unmask Yallourn’s sharp and clear and splendid patchwork quilt of bright rooftops, edged by the green hues of trees, and beyond the chocolate brown of the open cut flecked with sliver dredges. Then I would turn my battered bike around and fly down Reservoir Road towards home and mum, and breakfast waiting beside a glowing briquette heater, the 7.30am whistle from the Works announcing my return

    19/01/2019 - 11:18
  • 32700

    Beanland Families in Yallourn 1932 to 1965

    Over the years, there have been two periods of time when the family of Howard Beanland lived in Yallourn. Howard first came to Yallourn in 1932, as Acting Principal of the Technical School when it occupied a row of timber cottages in Narracan Avenue. New buildings, opened in 1936 on the corner of Railway and Latrobe Avenues, were a big milestone of which Howard was very proud. He left Yallourn in 1943 when appointed as Principal of the new Technical School at Box Hill. His eldest son, Graham, returned to Yallourn in 1960 when appointed Electrical Operations Superintendent, living there with his family until 1965.

    Howard had a distinguished career in Technical Education; his first teaching position was at Beechworth in 1923 and his first Principal appointment was at Stawell in 1930. Moving to Yallourn with his wife, Flo, and very young son, Graham, the family first lived in an SEC house in East Cross, then at 29 Latrobe Avenue and later, as the family grew, at 26 Hillside. Two boys, John and David, were born to Flo & Howard at the Yallourn Hospital. Graham and John attended Yallourn Primary School and Graham spent six months at Yallourn Tech. Looking back, he regards Grades 5 and 6 (held at the High School) with Mr Edmondson, a really great teacher, as one of life’s special experiences.

    These were pioneering years in Yallourn when the whole community was involved in establishing new facilities and services. They were also war years, strict blackout, rationing and gas producers. Saturday afternoon matinee at the new Yallourn Theatre was a popular activity. New sports fields and swimming pool were built at this time. Howard, Flo and family were all actively involved in the Methodist Church and Howard worked very hard for the Yallourn Civic Association, serving as its President for several years.

    Family friends of the era included some other pioneer families including Alston, Armstrong, Beulke, McMahon, Rainbow and Terrill, many of whom remained in close contact well after leaving Yallourn. Well remembered was the flooding of the Open Cut in 1934 and bushfires in Noojee and the nearby ranges in 1939. Howard retired from Footscray Technical College in 1967, having given a lifetime of service to “Tech. Ed.”.

    After graduating from the University of Melbourne in 1952, Graham Beanland was offered an Engineering Cadetship with the State Electricity Commission, at the conclusion of which he was employed in the Electrical Operations Branch of Production Department. In 1958, he was one of the first group of young engineers to be awarded an overseas scholarship by the SEC and for two years he worked in England and made a study of Hydro systems in UK and Europe. Kathleen and Graham lived in London and Rugby during this time and their first child was born in England. Graham gained promotion from Assistant Area Engineer in Melbourne to the Yallourn position in 1960, where responsibilities in the complex Latrobe Valley organization included the electrical systems of Switchyards, Power Stations, Open Cut and Briquetting (these latter areas all at different times). Graham, Kathleen and children, Paul and Warwick, moved into 25 Hillside, across the street from the family home of 1943, and won a prize a year later for the most improved garden in the town. Two children were born in Yallourn, Janet in the Hospital and Martin unexpectedly at home! The children all attended Primary School and / or Kindergarten in Yallourn and Paul enjoyed Cubs. The family were involved in the Methodist Church – Kathleen as organist and Graham as Circuit Steward. Other community involvements included the Camera Club and Jaycees, where Graham was President in the Club’s second year. Through Jaycees, Graham visited Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong, attended various conferences and training activities and helped to form the Leongatha. Jaycees. Graham was appointed Managing Director of Doulton Insulators in 1965 and so the family moved from Yallourn back to Melbourne after five very happy and productive years.

    16/01/2019 - 11:10
  • 32699

    Barbara Godfrey (Comber) YHS 1942 - recently returned from Portschach, Austria where she played in the International team for over 75-year old tennis players in the "Friendship Cup", which is played against a team from America. Barbara writes: "The International team were from Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Mexico & New Zealand. We had to play 3 set matches, singles and doubles. It was fantastic tennis as I discovered all of the American team members and 5 of our team members play all year singles and doubles every month all over the world and they go to a gym 4-5 times a week. They are very fit 75-year olds.

    The "Friendship Cup" was started by a very wealthy American couple, Ralph & Mary Wilson, who paid all of our accommodation for 2 weeks in a 5star hotel which was absolutely magnificent on the banks of the Worthersee, which is an enormous body of water (42 km long) and in the distance surrounded by snow capped mountains. Temperature was about 25-26 degrees and our rooms overlooked the courts.

    People were so friendly and there was entertainment each evening after dinner. Each year, the International team can be from many countries all over the world depending on the availability of 75-year olds, as you can only chosen once in a lifetime, so that it encourages as many 75-year olds as possible to compete in the "Friendship Cup" and to continue playing tennis.

    Yallourn days - "My parents moved to Yallourn in 1924. I was born in Yallourn, went to school there and then straight to work in the Main Office of the SEC, as it was in those days. I belonged to St John's Church of England, Yallourn Tennis Club, Badminton Club, Table Tennis Club and played a lot of basketball...played Country Week Tennis and Badminton and played interstate Badminton. I still play for the Victorian interstate team for over 75's Tennis.

    I was a member of the Brownies till I was told to leave because I used the ARP phones which were installed in the Guide Hall during the war. As I left, I threw stones on the roof. (However, when it was time for me to join the guides, in their wisdom, they thought I had improved enough, but may have had second thoughts when at the Commissioner's place one day, I was asked to go and pick some parsley in the garden and I accidentally cut the tops off the carrots!)

    Have belonged to YOGA since its beginning. I have 5 children and 11 grandchildren. I was always far more interested in sport than learning in the class room. I was made a temporary prefect at the end of Year 9 to enable the prefects in Year 10 to concentrate on their exams, but I was demoted and lost my temporary prefects badge for chewing in line. However, I did become a prefect and house captain in Year 10. I was the only student in my day to be actually strapped by the Headmaster (Mr Lindsay) - six of the best! - for supposedly, as he explained, "acting like a ninny", so you can see my scholastic ability didn't rate many credits.

    Mum (Ella Comber) played tennis, bowls and played a lot of Sole and Bridge - and was involved in a lot of things in the town. Dad (Eddie Comber) was also known as 'Bunny'. He was a volunteer fireman at the Yallourn Fire Brigade. He was nicknamed 'Bunny' when he first arrived in Yallourn as he was a very fast runner and represented Yallourn at many fire demos around the country areas, where he had to run a certain distance with a fire hose attached to his waist, run up a very tall ladder on to a platform, where the water would be turned on and he had to hit a target suspended in the air on a wire. He was presented with a gold miniature fire hydrant when he retired and mum returned it to the Fire Station when he died. He also played footy. My brother (Stan Comber) played footy and tennis. We lived at 57 Narracan Ave from 1924, and then moved to 59 Narracan Ave when I was born because it had an extra room.

    I have been doing voluntary work in the Magistrates and Supreme Courts as a court networker for the past 15 years (1 day pw). My husband, Merv, received an OAM in the Australia Day Awards for creating Melway, Sydney and Brisbane street directories. Although he worked in Yallourn for 5 years from about 1946, he was not born in Yallourn

    16/01/2019 - 11:10
  • 32686

    Lachlan McPherson YHS 1962 : We get the Swimming Pool. My family moved to Yallourn in 1955, after spending the preceding years in leafy Kew in Melbourne's inner east. It was here that I first found out that I couldn't swim. At the ripe age of three, I thought I could, and jumped into the deep end of the Kew pool. Dragged out by lifesavers. (Pity, some would say, could've saved us a lot of bother later). To Yallourn. Beck's Bridge on the Latrobe. Yep, straight in again. Hauled out again. (Pity, again). It happened on a regular basis. (Pity again and again). There was a "swimming hole" at the bottom of Latrobe Avenue that was inviting, almost begging; however I was warned by mum, on probable pain of death, not to even contemplate immersion in those waters that had an horrible reputation of diseases foul and life-threatening. Summer came and we were off to see Sydney via the NSW South Coast. We got to Kiama and were viewing the magnificent scenery when I spotted it. A large pool right up above the surf. I was off and into the glassy waters once again, still not realising that I still couldn't swim. Hauled out again. (I know what you're thinking: Pity again). The upshot was that on return from steak 'n kidney, Ewen and I were bundled into the car and driven to Morwell and put into the care of that great man, Otto Fooks. "Teach them to swim." In the meantime, there had been an uprising against the SEC's inactivity to build us a proper swimming pool. After much debate and procrastination (on the SEC's part) our landlord finally gave in. "If you can raise 5000 pounds in three years, we'll give you a pool." Never being a town of shrinking violets, everybody got into the act and promptly raised said amount (and more) in a year. "Where's our pool?" Groan (SEC). Work started slowly and the natives became restless. Some bright spark (an employee of the SEC) thought, "wouldn't it be a great idea if we got all that equipment and know-how that we've got right here, and put it to good use." So up from the open cut came earth-moving equipment, along came tradesmen of many persuasions, professionals with expertise in mechanical and other areas; and gave their free time to the project. The pool was taking shape. Had to be ready for the next summer. Our own Lois Gust had just become Miss Australia Olympics for raising the most money for the 1960 Rome Games and she was a damn good swimmer as well as being a real good s(p)ort. And it came to pass that the pool was ready. The day of the official opening came. It was one of those absolutely fabulous days that Yallourn could turn on. No Maryvale, no coal dust, beautiful clear sky and not too hot. What a crowd.

    16/01/2019 - 11:06
  • 32685

    Crackers! - Lachlan McPherson YHS 1962
    What a tradition we grew up with! Empire Day….crackers...Guy Fawkes, 5th November…..crackers! Anytime seemingly appropriate …crackers!! Timeplace: Yallourn, 1950's, 1960's Tradition called for dads to manhandle into position large pieces of wood to form bonfires to be lit, danced around, marvelled at, add Catherine wheels (separately to the display); at least twice in the year to celebrate the coming together of the (British) Empire and also celebrate Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow the whole bloody thing (Empire & Parliament) up. Ironic isn't it? We celebrated two completely opposing forces! The point is tho' that throughout the year many of us bought fireworks and stockpiled them to let our hair down on the big night. EPI…EPI…EPI…'ERALD! GET YER 'ERALD EPI…EPI…EPI…'ERALD….would come floating up the streets of the Coach Road Hill as David North (or his minions -his brothers) came closer and closer cajoling residents to come and buy the evening paper. They were good. They sold lots of Heralds. They made lots of money. They bought lots of CRACKERS...A beautiful clear night, the bonfire was sitting ready to be lit, No.15 Driffield Road's letter box had still to be blown up, the moon was full and rising in the east over the Open Cut, the North's were to grace our presence with their magnificent collection of pyrotechnics. What more could we want? Light the bonfire, toast marshmallows if you must, the letterbox has been done (again) and the first Roman Candle has just been set off to the delighted squeals of the young-uns. A rocket wobbles into sub-orbit from a beer bottle and explodes into a shower of coloured stars in the dark sky. We're all gathered around the swings and roundabouts at the top of Driffield Road and ourselves surrounded by the pine plantation. (Let's go back to the paper sellers, the pyrotechnic collectors extraordinaire, the North boys.) I've said they bought a few crackers over the year have I? It was a large trunk they hauled up and it looked heavy. We didn't really know how much there really was in the way of explosives in that trunk but assumed there was quite a lot. They HAD sold a lot of Heralds that year. There was an unexpected quiet. A lull, as several explosives ran their course, the bonfire slackened off after its initial flare and we readied ourselves for the next stage. The North boys pride and joy (the Trunk) came to life. A live one (cracker) jumped into the Trunk. Unexpectedly…violently…spectacularly….BOOM! The top of the Trunk blew off with the first multi explosion followed by a series of more of the same. The crowd retreated in disorganised and undisguised panic behind the slide and into the pines on the far side of the playground away from the Trunk as more explosions occurred and all kinds of whizzes and whooshes zoomed in all directions, fantastic displays of all colours sparkling and flashing, as continual BANGS and CRASHES rent the air. There was a real letdown as the Trunk finally spluttered into a dull red glow, occasionally emitting another BANG! and a bit more smoke. There wasn't much left to do. After the initial explosion and the stunned spectators regained their senses, someone thought it "might be a good idea if the smoldering mass were extinguished." Buckets of water were called for and produced from all or some of the Sneddon, Thomas, Brisco and McLennan households. The North boys were devastated as they fruitlessly searched the sodden remains "for anything that may be left!" They were led away, dishevelled and emotional, by people with maybe more sense than any of us kids. "Hey, that was great! Can we do that again?" That was the end of that Cracker Night.!

    16/01/2019 - 11:05
  • 32684

    Judith Dolan (Dickson) YHS 1954 sent some photos and said:-

    “I’d promised to give you photos of the School Choir in my year 1954-57. We used to be bussed to Dandenong to compete against other schools in Victoria. The choir was conducted by Graeme Bartle and later Val Pyers assisted. They also were the instigators of Gilbert & Sullivan operas performed at Yallourn Picture Theatre. I was always in the ‘extras’. We did “The Mikado”, “Yeoman of the Guard” and another - I can’t remember the name. Usually the teachers played and sang the main characters. It was great fun and highlights of my High School days.

    I’ve tried to remember as many names as I can. As I went through my four years at YHS only in classes of girls, I didn’t get to know many of the boys. Maybe some of the older members can fill in the blanks and correct any I may have wrong.

    My mother, Marge Dickson (Ebsworth) will be here with us for a few days to meet my first grandchild and her umpteenth great-grandchild.

    I really enjoyed the reunion in March at Woorabinda. It was great that there were so many of my era - some I hadn’t seen since I left school. Thank goodness for the name tags! Congratulations to you and your committee for a job well done.

    YALLOURN HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR - 1955 (Photo attached)

    16/01/2019 - 11:04
  • 32682

    Irma Esler (Verrall) YHS 1947 passed away peacefully in her sleep at home in Foster on Sunday, 10th October 2004. Irma’s passing was very sudden and totally unexpected, even though her heatlh had not been good for a number of years. Irma was very proud of her Yallourn Old Girls’ Association and didn’t miss too many reunions over the years, and as far as husband, Geoff, is concerned, she was the best thing ever to come out of Yallourn High School. Following is a poem Irma wrote some years ago and requested it be read at her funeral:-
    Perhaps I’d like to be an elephant For its memory is supreme To remember all the lovely things Of which I sometimes dream But then I’d have to have a trunk And one I could not pack I’d have to tote things with my nose And not upon my back

    No, I think I’d be a rabbit When I come back again All nice and warm and cuddly My softness not to wane For bunnies are so soft and small They really are quite cute But then, there are those hunters At me they’d want to shoot.

    No, I think I’d better be a dog To bark and leap and play To chase the cats and butterflies Or to sleep the day away But then, such joyful nonsense May be for me a drag As whenever people patted me They’d want my tail to wag

    No, I think perhaps I’ll be a bird And sit upon a limb And if my mate should upset me I’d really henpeck him But then, birds have a peck line I’d have to stand and wait To wait and have to take my turn Is something I would hate.

    No, perhaps a deer or bear or such One thing I’ll tell you now When I come back I only hope It won’t be as a cow Cos farmers sometimes can be cruel Their manners far too bold I wouldn’t like my you-knows touched With icy hands so cold.

    I think I’d best return as me And this is not a whim But I guess that big decision Will all be up to HIM I really mean it from my heart When to my God I say Please make the changes only small When I come back this way

    My pleasures have been many My joy has been to share This life HE kindly gave to me With the folks for whom I care My kin & friends are so precious From these I’d hate to turn So God could they be with me When I come for my return.

    By Irma Esler

    16/01/2019 - 11:02
  • 32673

    Paul Vincent YHS 1962 Yallourn Fountain - “enclosed a photograph to jog a few memories - no prizes for it, but I was driving to Glenmaggie Weir last week and, lo and behold, a Yallourn fountain was spotted, sitting in a private garden in Heyfield! Yes, it even works and has the original copper lights still mounted inside (although the centre pole is now painted white). Was unable to speak to the property owner, as they were out, but will be returning to find out how the hell it was transported there!” Paul lives in Sale with wife, Freda, and they enjoy a relaxing life together. His mother is a sprightly 84 years of age and is living in Carnegie (Vic) and is happily married to Eddie Eames (he was the tour guide at the SEC for over 25 years). Christine (big sister) has finally retired from teaching and has settled in Woodend (Vic) and is expanding her artistic talents. Will let you know more news as it happens.....Paul

    16/01/2019 - 10:59
  • 32672

    Marj Brogan was born in Box Hill, moved to Yallourn when she was 2 and moved to Newborough when they dug up Yallourn in 1976. She met her husband in Yallourn and was married in 1946 (57 years). She has two children - Kevin 55 and Suzanne 51. Marj worked in the library at the SEC before starting work at the mill in 1942, where she would ride her pushbike to work. She has been a member of the Yallourn Golf Club since 1956 and has played golf almost every day from when her kids started high school. Marj has a keen interest in theatre, having performed in and produced many plays, both drama and comedy with the Yallourn Thespians and the CWA drama group. To add to her list of community interests, Marj was a diving judge with West Gippsland Swimming Club where she began in 1956 and has been a member of Yallourn Country Women's Association since it first started helping deliver meals on wheels and is now the secretary of the Moe meals on wheels.

    16/01/2019 - 10:57
  • 32665

    Martin DeVries YHS 1969wrote: 'l can still recall many of my childhood exploits with your brother, Martin Francis and my brother Ernie, racing billy carts, climbing the big tree in your front yard, going up the bush catching lizards - we used to take your dog - going to the pool, etc, etc. indeed, I still harbour many fond memories of growing up in Yallourn - it was a great place. Unfortunately, our family left in 1970 and moved to Perth (nicer climate but nowhere near as much fun). Since then, I regrettably lost all contact with everyone I knew in Yallourn. When I finished high school in 1974, I joined the Navy (to see the world) as an officer cadet and been there ever since. Navy put me through university (Uni of NSW where I met Lorraine. Spent 1978 -1992 sailing the seven seas and seeing places I would otherwise have never seen - | am also indebted to the Navy for transporting me from one golf course to the next. In between, married Lorraine in 1983 and spent the next year and a bit in UK before returning to a year and a half in Perth; then moved to Sydney in 1986 and bought a house (when house prices in Sydney were still affordable for mere mortals). Moved down to Canberra in 1992 and have been here ever since - a good place to raise a family - far better than Sydney, but nowhere near as good as Yallourn. ln the mid to late70's I visited Yallourn on several occasions for old times' sake - but by then the town's demise was clearly evident and quite saddening. Despite trying, I was unable to find any of my old school friends or what had become of them. But the world is a small place and about a year or so ego I was at a Defence function here in Canberra and seated at the same lunch table as an Army colonel who looked vaguely familiar. I think I looked familiar to him too, and it eventually transpired that he was Peter Hutchinson who was a classmate of mine all through primary school and 1st year at YHS – I was even more surprised to learn from him that Ian Lynch (same year classmate) was also in the Army, All those years without knowing the other was also in Defence – quite incredible. I have caught a bout of nostalgia - been surfing the net trying to find all sorts of stuff about Yallourn. One thing I did suss out was that Yallournites are just that, forever - they all seem to have very fond memories of the place (even despite the coal dust) - at least that's what some Melbourne University academic reckons, and that seems good enough for me. The other kid your brother Martin, Ernie and I used to play with from up the hill a bit was Ronald Gloss (in my year all through primary school until he went to PNG in Grade 6 regrettably, never heard from him again). Both my parents are still alive - Mum is 68 and still very active with charity work - does lots of sewing and doll-making. My Dad is 79 and doing it tough with arthritis but otherwise good. Took many years but I finally convinced him that cricket is a good game, and now he is a cricket addict. But I just cannot get him interested in getting a computer and going on the WWW – just too much Dutch stubbornness in his blood."

    16/01/2019 - 10:54