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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MOST RECENT ENTRIES:

  • 32693

    Stefan Tomasz YHS 1957 - I was interested by a contribution from Robin Bavinton (Class of '58) in the June Newsletter. He struck a chord with me over two of his memories. The first was the rough and tumble game he called "Donkey". For years and years I always remembered it has "Horse and Jockey". Certainly, in this political correct era, schools could no longer allow such a "game" to take place. As I remember it, the event did take place near the incinerators (mainly at lunch time). Participated only in by boys (mainly in Years 10 to 12) the general idea was to leap frog onto the backs of a group of half-bent over individuals and stack as many jumpers on the backs of the "frogs" until one side either "sagged" or the other "touched". The winning side got to do the jumping all over again! It is a wonder none of us broke our backs as some of my Year 11 colleagues of the day were not short of a pound or two of excess weight. Nonetheless it was a lot of great fun until the school decided it was no longer safe to expose us to such a potentially back-breaking activity. The second memory is to do with the choirs - especially the Dandenong Festival. I thank Robin because I could never remember the name of the cup we came home with on the occasion we won it. We were so lucky at YHS to have such a deep music tradition. In fact, the various choirs, G&Ss and other productions which came from Pyers-Dooley combo, near as damn it cost me my Matric! We seemed to always have a rehearsal or practice at lunch or recess, there were all the out-of-hours practices, not to mention the trip to Dandenong which, in those days, seemed a million miles away. As I recall, Robin was a tenor. The tenors were always short on numbers and battled to make themselves heard against the sheer weight of numbers of the basses. However, we must have been pretty good as we always did well in the public competitions. It's great to hear of the snippets of news from the past in the Newsletter. Keep up the good work.

    14/01/2019 - 18:11
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  • 32692

    Richard Sullivan YHS 1956 29/7/05 - I was born in Yallourn; my family lived at 29 Strzelecki Rd. After spending my professional life in Education, I am now working as a printmaker. One of my current projects is to do series of prints of my memories of growing up & living in Yallourn. I felt so dismayed & annoyed when I stood recently at the observation site at (what is now) the bottom of Coach Rd trying to imagine the place I know (?) as Yallourn & realising (as Meredith Fletcher points out in her book) that there is no commemoration of Yallourn at this site (or anywhere in the area). Rather, there is a plaque noting where Herne's Oak was! Anyway, I am seeking photos of the Works & the township. I am particularly interested in the statue that was at the 'picture theatre/Church of England end of the town square - the shape on the face of this piece of (what I remember as) pinkish marble has stayed with me for years, & I think I want to make it a central part of one of my prints. So I would appreciate it if you point me in the direction of finding out more about this piece of public sculpture. I need a photo which shows the relief figures on the faces. I went to YHS from 1956 to 62 after attending YPS. I remember walking past Jimmy Carlisle's house on my way to school. I was in the era of George Ellis & his successor who came from Mornington HS. I, like Peter Wallace & others (eg Geoff Hannon, Greg Wernert), have very fond memories of Val Pyers & his cohort (eg. Jim Dooley, Johnny Tremain) & Dizzy Dyall. I met Val earlier this year at a performance of Sculthorpe's Requiem in Castlemaine for the first time since leaving school. I (too) thanked him for introducing me to music & theatre. He brushed these thanks aside with what I remember as his typical modesty. I remember being in the chorus of three G&S operas (Mikado, The Yeomen of the Guard & Iolanthe), Toad of Toad Hall, various choirs & the Mixed Ensemble that competed at the Dandenong competitions. One of my earliest memories of YHS is going with the school to the Olympic games at the MCG in 1956 and seeing Betty Cuthbert win. As well as these fond memories I recall the culture of the school as being typical of the times (ie tending to be structured & authoritarian) and, indeed, a preview of what many of my colleagues in education thought was a 'good' school in the latter part of the 20th & the early part of the 21st century. I'm very interested in the idea of 'place' & the culture of the place (Yallourn) as I and others remember it (it seems to me that there are many interpretations here) & how this culture is related to our personal worldviews as we get older.

    Ah, the vagaries of memory - I think, upon reflection, that it should have been 'Princess Ida' rather than 'Yeomen of the Guard' that I remember being in the chorus of - 'tan-tan-ta-ra' and all that. My correspondence with you has activated further memories of teachers at YHS; Graeme Bartle in Y8 playing a scratchy record of Peer Gynt (In the Hall of the Mountain King) - his enthusiasm leading me into the magic of the connection between the music & his narrative. Likewise, the feisty Jack Collins in Y11 Literature working at us to extend our imaginations and our concepts of what it means to be human. Chris Worrell for modelling ways that people could deal with each other outside rigid structures while nevertheless operating within them. I spent my professional life involved in mathematics education and school curriculum - I find myself reflecting on how my teachers at YPS & YHS have influenced my beliefs and values about teaching and learning - for instance, 'Polly' Parsons with her emphasis on rigour and the structure of mathematics would be highly valued in the academic schools of today, while Dizzy Dyall had, I think, great insights into how youngsters might learn mathematics. I don't mind you using my vague reminiscences in your newsletter. Greg Wernert’s story would be an interesting one to share with your readers - how a CSIRO chemist became a composer of publicly performed music in the later part of his life. I wonder how much the 'coal dust' of Yallourn has and is affecting us as we mature? Richard Sullivan

    14/01/2019 - 18:10
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  • 32691

    Peter Hutchinson YHS 1969 - Brigadier Peter Hutchinson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in the Queen's Birthday Honors in June 05. His award was for distinguished command and leadership in the Middle-East Area of Operations as the Commander, Joint Task Force 633 during Operation Catalyst in 2004. Peter joined the army at Duntroon Military College 30 years ago after graduating from YHS in 1974. He is currently director General Infrastructure Asset Development for the Dept of Defence based in Canberra. His career has also included command appointments to 18 Field Squadrons, 3 Field Engineer Regiment, 21 Construction Squadron and 3 Combat Engineer Regiment. Brigadier Hutchinson has been listed again this month by Engineers Australia as one of Australia's 100 Most Influential Engineers. His proud parents, John and Norma Hutchinson, live in Newborough....and we are proud of him too cos he's one of ours!!! Peter is a current member of YOGA and was at the 1960s reunion at Woorabinda in 2002.

    14/01/2019 - 18:10
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  • 32690

    Graeme Kitney YHS 1950: I particularly liked the article submitted by Peter Wallace, an old class mate, as it was only a couple of months ago that we were wondering what had happened to him. I was saddened to read in his article that both Don Munro and John Sundquist had died as they were close friends while we were at school. On a brighter note, I phoned May Hill last week, who I think is our "Senior Member". May has been back home for some time now after spending around 18 months at her daughter's house in Canberra, recovering from a broken hip. She also survived the bush fires while there, the neighbours' houses burnt down but Judith's house survived. May is still fairly active but has to use her back door if she goes out as she can't manage the steps at the front, but is still very bright and positive. While talking she reminded me that it was eight years since Ann and I had taken her to England to celebrate her 80th birthday with her cousins in Newcastle. It was her 88th birthday on the day we phoned. I have put the date of the next reunion in my diary having missed the last one in March. However I think I had a good excuse as I had just had major surgery on my shoulder to repair a 2cm gap in the tendon, which gave way last year while swimming in the therapeutic waters at Santorini. I've suggested to Cabrini Hospital that they should open an account with Bunnings, because they charged me $700 for the two screws used to repair the tendon. Ann and I continue on our SKI (Spending the Kids Inheritance) trips, last year we spent 10 weeks in Turkey, Greece, the UK, Belgium and Holland and we have just returned from four weeks in China. I read with interest the article on using Carnival Cruises instead of a nursing home, I receive two or three emails a week from Carnival, perhaps I should study them more closely.

    14/01/2019 - 18:09
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  • 32689

    Geoff Esler YHS 1944 - Even when I was a child on a Closer Settlement Block at Callignee Sth, I was aware of the existence of Yallourn, the lights of which were visible from many places in the hills. Of course, I did not then dream of my future association of the place the district children then referred to as "You Learn at Yallourn". Living in an area that depended on kerosene lamps and wood-burning stoves, I had no inkling of the dependence of most of the country on electric power. During these depression years, dad and mum hand-milked a few cows that this hearbreak hills property sustained and to make ends meet, dad obtained part time work with the CRB. They eventually walked off the property in 1937 and moved to Gormandale where dad was ganger on a large road construction job and in 1939 to Traralgon for the benefit of our future education. I went to Traralgon HES until 1943, which only went to Form 4 (year 10) and then to Yallourn HES in 1944, which went to year 11. I turned 16 in late October that year and in December, obtained my Leaving Certificate. Other children from Traralgon to Yallourn HES that year were John O'Brien, John Mermod, Iris Caspar and Helen Williams, and we travelled by bus each day with a lot of boys to Yallourn Tech, leaving home at 8am and getting home again about 5pm. There were about 12 studying year 11 and I was glad to see that two of them - Malcolm Chamberlain and Helen Gregson - attended last year's reunion. Other names I recall at school were Ross Finlay, Lloyd Brewer, Ken Cooper and Peter Harries, and I remember that we beat the Tech at cricket that year for the first time in many years. Another boy in our class was Herb Cook from the Brown Coal Mine (Yallourn North). We travelled to school in a parlour coach with seats right across and a separate door for each row of seats, driven by Tom Piggott, later a prominent Morwell footballer. Children also sat in a seat next to Tom and one morning, travelling up the Morwell hill, one of the Tech boys reached over and turned off the ignition switch. Tom got out and checked under the bonnet but, unable to start the motor, he hitched a ride into Morwell and got a mechanic to come out. The mechanic turned on the ignition, pressed the starter and off to school we went, better late than never! Before the 1944 bush fires on February 14th, it was nothing to see dozens of kangaroos feeding on the Yallourn golf course opposite the hospital and the day of the fires, we were sent home about 2pm and as we came through Morwell Bridge towards Morwell, the fire was racing parallel to us towards Morwell, and Tom Piggott had his foot flat to the floor. The fire veered around the southern end of Morwell and across the Yinnar flats where a farmer had a crop of flax cut and drying, and the howling wind picked up burning flax which set the Strzelecki’s ablaze. The hills that night were a spectacular but terrifying sight as flames leapt high into the sky. Mr John E Menadue was headmaster at Yallourn and what a wonderful change from the headmaster at Traralgon, who was mainly the reason for so many Traralgon boys choosing to go to Yallourn Tech. I thought my association with Yallourn was just about ended until I went to work in New Guinea in 1954. On my first weekend there, a young fellow said to me, "I know you, you played football against us at Traralgon". Graham Dahlberg and I became good friends in Port Moresby. Back at Traralgon, and at a dance, I met Irma Verrall, another ex-Yallourn resident, who I hadn't seen for several years. We married in 1956 which was the best thing I ever did. Irma was a wonderful ballroom dancer, full of fun, and in later years a very good knitter. Her daughters and I often tried to talk her into entering garments in the local show, but she always resisted. Just before she died, she finished a jumper for the 21st birthday of one of our grandsons, which his mother, Heather, entered in the Wool Board section of the Foster Show, and it won at the regional judging and so now goes to the final at the Royal Melbourne to be judged against all other regional winners. We, as a family, are so proud of her and maybe, after September, Daniel will get to wear his jumper. At school in Yallourn, we spent 2 1/2 days a week at the HES and 2 1/2 days at the Tech, and I can remember sitting in school with coal dust gradually spreading across the pages of our books. At home in Traralgon, mum always wiped the clothes line with a wet rag to clean off the coal dust from Yallourn. Dad's brother, Hughie, worked for the SEC and lived in Yallourn; Irma and I were married at St John's in Yallourn, and I have a sketch of St John's hanging in my lounge for all to see. Our son, Ray, worked on the dismantling of the old powerhouse for two years and he was responsible for salvaging the old generator at the Yallourn North Museum which he showed me recently. He has a video of the story of Yallourn and the dismantling of the power house. Although I never lived at Yallourn, you can see I had an association with the old town that will stay with me forever

    14/01/2019 - 18:08
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  • 32688

    Ernie Jeffrey YHS 1949 Wrote: I transferred from Devonport State High School in Tasmania to Yallourn High School in October 1949 as my father, an excavator driver, followed his work to Morwell at the start of the Open Cut Coal Mine. Devonport High School was very similar to English Grammar Schools with the rules and regulations of dress code, manner, and how you presented yourself in the school ground and public places. My mother enrolled me at YHS with the Principle, who I think was Mr Pullen, whilst Mr Finlayson was the Head Master. I arrived by bus on Monday morning for my first day at a new school in a new State dressed in my Devonport High uniform of a grey suit, chocolate brown jumper, blue school shirt, school tie and school cap on my head. As I walked into the space adjoining the Domestic Science, Art and Science rooms, which was divided by the Staff room from the Assembly area, this rotund and loud Victorian kid grabbed my school cap and shouted "What's ya name mate?" pushing himself up as high and big as he could. He didn't know that a lot of the boys my age in Tasmania participated in Amateur Boxing and I was one of them. Following his startling confrontation and action, my reaction was a swift punch to his stomach sending fatty on his tail gasping for air and allowing me to retrieve my cap. From that day onward for the next 3 years, Terry O'Meara and I were the best of friends. His friends, Harold Chooky Churchill and Ken Hayes, were my friends also. I know where Terry is and Chooky is deceased, but where is Ken (Hazel) Hayes? Things soon settled down after this first encounter and I was amazed at all the different accents and names of the students from all over Europe as Tasmania had no migration influx at that time. I was a member of Flinders House (green colour) and played cricket and football in the House competitions. I played on the back line for the Senior Team when we won the 1952 Premiership against Yallourn Tech, Warragul High and Traralgon High; Mr Stewart (Science) was the school's senior coach. From the newsletter I recieved from Julie, I remember a lot of 1949-52 names of those present at the last Woorabinda reunion...hopefully I'll catch up with them again soon....Ernie

    14/01/2019 - 18:08
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  • 32687

    Betty Jenkin (Veitch) YHS 1953 Congratulations once again on an excellent YOGA Newsletter. I did enjoy it. Could you please pass on two messages for me: 1. To - Judith Dolan (Dickson) on Page 6. Dear Judith, I was delighted to see the photo of the YHS Choir. I never had that one. However, I am in the back row, third from the left, just behind Jenny Scott. My name was Betty Veitch. The first of the G&S shows that we did was "The Pirates of Penzance". I was in the Chorus. I was in third form at the time. Yes, we did have teachers in the lead roles, such as Mr Young as Sergeant of Police, Mrs McLaren as Mabel, Miss Sims as Kate. However, there were others. Frederick was sung by Mr Hatch from Morwell. His daughter Beryl Hatch, who was in Form Five sang Edith. (We later met up with Beryl, now Beryl Baker, at Boort, where her husband was principal of the Primary School, and my husband and I sang in HMS Pinafore with her.) My father, Gordon Veitch, a teacher at the Tech School, sang the Pirate King. Bill Sharman, who was in my class, sang Samuel. That was the first of many Gilbert and Sullivans for me. 2. To Gwen Rodda on Page 9. Dear Gwenda, I don't know whether you remember Betty Veitch, who lived around in Railway Avenue, quite close to both you and Miss Williams. I was taught by Miss Williams in Grade 3, and would love to get in touch with her again. I wonder whether you would be able to provide me with a way of contacting her. It's lovely to get in touch with the past when there is nothing to go back and see. Many thanks for all your wor

    14/01/2019 - 18:07
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  • 32683

    Jim Hazen (ex-teacher YHS 1963-1966) Jim wrote "It is now 40+ years since I first taught at Yallourn High School. It was the second High School I taught at after completing my university studies. My first was Drouin High School from 1961-1962. Yallourn has remained very fondly in my memory as I found the town, staff and students there very friendly, open and welcoming. Drouin had been much less so, especially the town and staff. The students at Drouin were great however. The four years I spent at Yallourn were very special. Two years in, I married Lorna, who also has very fond memories of her time at the school and in the town. She has never forgotten the hockey "All Star" team she played with and helped transport to matches. Our first child, Ian (now deceased - brain tumour) was born at Yallourn in 1966. The stories from Ian Pringle, Lachlan McPherson and String" Morgan in the June newsletter all brought back some great images. I guess students are pretty unaware of how much staff are aware of what goes on and, similarly, the staff re how students view them. Thought you may be interested in the story of what happened to a fellow staff member of ours from the 60s - Arthur Lucas. Arthur began his teaching career at YHS in 1964 and was there for just 2 years, 1964-65, before getting a promotion and moving on to Newborough HS in 1966. Arthur taught Biology and Science whilst at YHS. He was an extremely talented teacher who liked to improve his qualifications through further study. He left Newborough after 1966 and took up a lecturing position at Adelaide's Flinders University in 1967. To cut a long story short, he continued to study and advance via Columbus University in Ohio, USA; Warrnambool CAE in Victoria; posts at Chelsea and Kings Colleges - each linked to London University. Doctor Lucas (PhD variety) as he had become by this stage, was offered a Professorship at Kings College, London in 1985 - it was linked to Science Education & Research. By 1993, he had become so highly regarded that he was made Principal of London University's Kings College. (This is equivalent of what we call the ViceChancellor at our Australian Universities.) He remained in that position until his retirement in 2003. Arthur, his wife Paula, Lorna and I have remained close friends over the past 40 years. Arthur still has family in Victoria and we meet when he comes to 'Oz' to visit them. In 2002, he was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) - equivalent to a knighthood - for his services to Tertiary Education in the UK. What an amazing story! Yallourn High started the careers of many students and staff and some have reached pretty 'dizzy' heights! Despite his achievements, Arthur remains the same down-to-earth, friendly, cheerful, generous person he was when he began his teaching career 40 years ago at YHS. Regards & best wishes to you and the committee, and to all the YHS and Yallourn folk we were privileged to meet and know.

    14/01/2019 - 18:04
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  • 32681

    Some History (Photo attached)
    As we have some newer members in our group, we thought it might be appropriate to mention how our association started. Back in 1976 Lucy Bathurst (Crowe) realised that with the demise of Yallourn, a lot of the friendships that had been established in the town and at the Yallourn High School would be lost as there was no activity which would bring these people back together again. In conjunction with June Jardine ( Blenkiron), the birth of Y.O.G.A. was conceived and has continued to grow ever since. It must be said that this group has really lived up to its expectations as most of the early committee members still turn up for the annual functions.

    One of the early supporters of Y.O.G.A. was former high school teacher Nell Wynd. Nell started teaching in Yallourn in 1940 and after marrying fellow teacher, Ian Wynd, left the teaching ranks in 1950. A very accomplished pianist, she was often featured as guest soloist with the local orchestra in concerts at the Yallourn Theatre. Ian continued teaching up until their departure from Yallourn with Nell continuing to be involved with the C.W.A. and various other organisations of which she was a member. The couple left Yallourn in 1959, moving to Geelong where they raised three sons. Nell returned to teaching and revisited the Y.O.G.A. dinner as guest speaker on one occasion. Ian continued teaching, ending up as Senior Lecturer at Deakin University in Geelong. Sadly both Nell and Ian have since passed on, but their contribution to the many students of the Yallourn High School is widely recognised within our membership.

    Some History…….
    Some original committee members together with Nell Wynd who was one of the early guest

    14/01/2019 - 18:02
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  • 32680

    Henry Winters YHS 1954 wrote: "The reunion at Woorabinda was excellent except for not having enough time to talk to all those recognisable. I missed so many and even lining up for the group photo, met some for the first time in the day. I was elated to find some contributions I had published in the 'Pylon' and one poem of the senior boys hockey team I played in I had forgotten even writing, but the memories flowed back. The venue at Woorabinda was excellent with the warm conditions and to make sure I can meet up with those missed, it will need attendance again in the future reunions. Two memories to share: The name of DAVID WALLACE also known as 'Jimmy', a nickname given based on a character in the mid-50s on a Sunday evening radio program 'The Goon Show'. (Recently dropped from the ABC radio but again being broadcast at 5.30am on Fridays after, no doubt, many followers' protests!!) In some broadcasts, but not all, a character played out by Peter Sellers would occur with sound effects of a splash into the water, followed by Sellers voice in high pitch "he's fallen in the water", thus character was known in the script as 'little Jim'. Now on Monday mornings in certain groups, there were replays of the previous night's program with comments on re-run, including sound effects and take-offs of the three presenters - Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe. Now it wasn't that David Wallace as 'Neddy Seegoon' (played by Harry Secombe) would say he had the curse of the Seagoons family - that of duck's disease; but standing in the group of the other boys in the form, he was a little shorter, and his rendition of the line 'he's fallen in the water' bringing fits of laughter from the group, earned him the recognition of 'Little Jim' - such came the nickname 'Jimmy'. There was also a rough and tumble game played under the large trees above the sports equipment pavilion which had different names, one known as 'Donkey'. It was a boys own game with two teams played in turn. The idea was one of strength and balance and the sides, from memory, required 5 or 6 boys each. The first to take the role of the 'donkey' was possibly on the toss of a coin? and each lined up with body bent over in line to provide their backs as a horizontal platform with ones head tucked in under the one in front's armpit. The other team made a run and jump from a line behind the donkey line-up and the idea was to all get onto the donkey or weigh down a person underneath with two or more in one section of the donkey chain so that it collapsed; but if any of the boys on the backs of the donkey chain slipped or overbalanced to touch the ground, the team underneath (the donkey) were the winners. It was then to change places until at the completion of morning recess, one team had more wins on the board. One enthusiastic organiser of this rough and tumble game was DAVID EDWIN WARE BROWN ('DEWY' to his classmates). The team jumping onto the donkey line would indicate where to land on the line to produce a weak link and thus collapse the donkey. A lot of times, balance caused the team on top to lose grip and slip down to touch the ground, thus losing. In that area under the pine trees with no grass and the ground well mixed with fallen coal dust from the old Yallourn Power Station A and B chain grate boilers with only basic cyclone dust extraction, the mix of perspiration and black dust made it a rugged game. FURTHER - One classmate of mine from 1C (1954) and 2C (1955) was Peter Bavinton. He became a teacher and when Canada were short of teachers in the late 60s, he applied, got selected , married and headed off to British Columbia in that order. I caught up with him earlier this year on his email. We caught up briefly with a couple of emails and were trying to meet for the YOGA reunion 2004 but I flew out after the weekend and he flew in on 2nd April (so we missed meeting). One of his two daughters lives in Adelaide and his brother, Robin, lives in Traralgon. He comes out regularly each AFL season to get a dose of his football team live (can't remember which one!!) and also visits his mother and family. He spent most of his career as a principal and is now retired and busy with his hobbies, including fishing. We were separated from classes in 1956 as I went into 3A and lost the in-class friends of the first two years, but came up with another lot of in-class pupils and maintaining the others at recess and weekend times. Peter lived in North Rd, Yallourn Nth and I lived in Morwell. I cycled regularly to Yallourn Nth via Latrobe Road, Tom's Bridge (over the Latrobe River) and into Yallourn Nth along the Yallourn-Tyers Road. Those days the traffic was low and most road users had also progressed from a bicycle to a motor bike before acquiring a motor vehicle - so courtesy on the road was given due to their own experiences.

    I had for a short time competed with the Morwell Cycle Club (road racing) against the favoured Yallourn team (mainly Tech boys). Each venture to Yallourn Nth was racing against the clock to beat my previous elapsed time Morwell to Yallourn Nth but depending on the prevailing wind
    and its intensity, times varied considerably and for this reason, the trip home was easier and not against the clock. Time in Yallourn Nth was spent yahooing in the bush along Anderson's Creek below where Peter lived in North Road. The magnificent bush of large gum trees and wattle had all disappeared by 1970.

    14/01/2019 - 18:00
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