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. .
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
MOST RECENT ENTRIES:

  • 32822

    Steve Gray YHS 1971 - continues with his High School - the early bits - Part 2: Form 2 The school persisted with “General Studies” despite some parent’s protests about the lack of resources seeing as the “smart kids” grabbed all the good resources first. We were now in the double portable next to the basketball court; yes still 70 odd kids and yes still with a lot of noise. I have come to realise it’s no wonder I did little work, the noise was (and still is!) a big downfall of mine. I had a great year of day dreaming and my results reflected that.
    We now had Mr and Mrs Phillips, Mrs Anderson and Ian Wallis (an English teacher). Mrs Phillips had a mesmerising effect on some of the boys, she would talk to them and they would listen but not hear a word, the eye contact was amazing… a few minutes later she would come back and enquire why they had not done as she had asked… “What Miss?” their heart was still pounding from the first encounter! One day she managed to turn Wayne Frost’s face VERY bright red by running her finger under his collar and saying… “Wayne, don’t get hot under the collar, just concentrate on your work…” Our table fell apart laughing after that.
    The school camp this year was at the Basin, at the base of the Dandenongs. The camp had two main sets of dormitories - one which was for most of the girls and a ramshackle collection of broken plywood walls mostly for the boys, although we had a group of girls next door who babbled on about nothing until very late, often telling scary tales of doors slamming in the wind and what not.
    Day one saw one bus arrive, the other was delayed, so we unloaded some sports gear and a baseball game was started. A few shots in and Graeme Rooney was hit by a flying baseball bat from Ross Magnusson’s batting effort, WHACK knocked him straight out, a trip to the doc and then straight home to get over concussion - no camp for him.
    Mr Gubbins was on the prowl late at night, watching for young lads who wanted to wander about and climb in windows over at the girls’ dorm. He managed to also get us lost in Sherbrook Forest on a hike - whatever map he was following had some serious issues.
    We had a camp Social night in the main hall - most of the students were keen as mustard; I wasn’t. I was still into Billy Karts - girls and dancing were a bit foreign to me… Mrs Anderson wanted a story out of us during the day, a full page before we could be allowed to go to the Social. I saw it as a great way to not go. She was surprised to not get even a few lines… I wasn’t. She argued with me, pushed me all afternoon to produce, everyone went, but I stayed in the room scribbling out some lame story, even with a third of a page she let me go… pity. Actually she had to almost drag me to the thing. I recall they had a hard time trying to figure out what songs to play, but other than that, the rest was a noisy blur for me.
    There were a few interesting incidents that took place. Firstly breakfast, the thickest porridge I have ever seen. Some of the girls were into séances and invoked a few interesting spirits, they had freaked themselves out something rotten! They would run out of a room screaming at the top of their lungs about Ned Kelly chasing them… five minutes later they were back into it. The boys tried out levitation which was amazing to see, not sure how it works but it did that week!
    One other thing which stands out was the blowfly incident which later became a poem and a short film. In the library, the blowies would congregate at the windows, short lengths of fine thread were employed via deft fingers to “lasso” a collar on to one and so a fly on a string became a novelty, then it got interesting as two were attached and left to fly about the room. The follow on was a bunch of them put into the drawer where the librarian kept the stamp for the books, open the drawer and out came about five sets of blowies on strings! Very funny at the time.
    Andrew Bicknell wrote a poem called Bazza Blowfly (we were doing topical things in English) which caused a stir, and more poems were written, the teacher finally called for the death of Bazza and the final poem became a short film shown at Speech Night.
    Of course there were many other things that happened that year, I got hit with a football during recess and was concussed, (or was that in form 1…?) The school fete was a highlight and a few other bits and pieces that slip my mind just now…
    But a fun year was had…

    18/02/2019 - 18:18
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32821

    Margaret Reid YHES 1942 Margaret Reid YHES 1942 Margaret Reid YHES 1942 Margaret Reid YHES 1942 still keeps in contact with Barbara Baker and Ann Griffiths. She writes: "School Days in the 1940s - I commenced in Form 1 of Yallourn Higher Elementary School in 1942. At that time, I lived in Morwell and travelled by school bus to Yallourn. Japan had just entered the war and there was a real fear that Yallourn could be attacked from the air, with the Power Station being the prime target. The SEC arranged for air-raid shelters to be built in the school grounds. When they were completed, the Head Teacher - Mr D Lindsay - announced that we would have a practice evacuation. We were told that the signal would be an intermittent whistle. The signal was heard and we all trooped out to the shelters. Soon the "all clear" was heard and we all emerged once more and assembled in the quadrangle. Mr Lindsay praised us for our prompt response, but then went on to say that the "signal" we had heard was, in fact, the postman delivering the mail!! Because of clothing rationing, school uniform was not compulsory, although it was encouraged. In many cases, it was difficult or even impossible to obtain new text books, so we were most grateful for the second-hand book stall. In February 1944, soon after the summer holidays, a bushfire broke out near Yallourn township. It spread quickly through paddocks towards Morwell. There was a Flax Mill on the outskirts of the town and flax was spread out to dry in the paddocks. The fire literally flew through the dry flax. Several homes in the town were lost before the fire progressed towards the Jeeralang hills, taking several farm properties as it went. The Morwell students were fortunate as we were able to get home, but some of the others had to stay overnight at the school. The Open Cut caught fire and most of the workforce (including my father) from the Maryvale Paper Mill spent several days fighting the blaze. The Mill was closed as power was in short supply. June of the same year saw the D-Day landings in Normandy. All the students were marched off to the various churches throughout the town to pray for a successful outcome for the Allies. My final wartime memory concerns Victory in Europe in May 1945. We knew that the end of the war was imminent, but Term 1 exams went ahead as scheduled. By this time, I was in Form 4 doing Intermediate Certificate. That morning, we started the exam and not long afterwards, the outside world suddenly went crazy. Car horns honked, engines at the railways station tooted and the hooters at the Power Station and the Briquette Factory sounded. Nevertheless, we were expected to continue with that exam, although one of the teachers did write on the board that the war had ended! The school became a High School in 1945 and a new Head Teacher - Mr John E Menadue - was appointed. In 1947 I was in Form 6 and was appointed Senior Prefect, together with Stan Ostlund. Other prefects that year included Sheila Brooker, Ann Griffiths, Wilma Jackson, Fae Lawson, Claire Gretton, Bob Stevenson, John Barnes and Bob Selby-Hele. The Prefect group felt very privileged when we were given our own room in the Army Hut, which was placed on a block in a nearby street. the hut was mainly used as a classroom for Forms 5 & 6. Prior to the arrival of the hut, Form 6 in particular had classes in some rather unusual locations - one that I recall was in the locker room near the main office. I actually wrote an article for "The Pylon" that year, about a class there and used "Shakespearian" type quotes to illustrate the interruptions etc. We were a small group - 7 in total, so we could be placed in restricted spots, for our lessons. Princess Elizabeth (now our Queen) celebrated her 21st birthday in May that year. Stan Ostlund and I had the honour of representing the school at a tree planting ceremony at one of the town parks. Finally, December 16th was Speech Night and I had the privilege of becoming Dux of the School, as well as the winner of the Citizenship Prize. A wonderful ending to my six years at Yallourn High School. Life After Yallourn High School - In 1948, I joined the Education Department as a student teacher at Morwell Primary School. As part of my studies, I attended night school at Yallourn Technical School once a week during this year. 1949 and 1950 saw me at Melbourne Teachers' College, where I obtained my Trained Primary Teachers' Certificate and my Trained Infant Teachers' Certificate. After college, I taught at Yinnar and Traralgon Primary Schools before moving to Melbourne in 1955. I taught at five schools throughout the suburbs, gaining promotion along the way. In 1969, I became a Special Class Infant Mistress - this was the highest position that a woman teacher could be at that time. We had also finally been granted equal pay - prior to this time, we had 80% of the men's pay. However, the Women's Branch of the Victorian Teachers' Union was also working for women to be allowed to become Principals of Primary Schools. In 1972, the word came down - we could become Principals! I applied immediately and obtained the coveted mark "Suitable as a Special Class Principal". In 1973, five women were appointed as Special Class Principals. As I had
    booked to go overseas that year, I deferred my application, so I took up my position as Principal at Templestowe Valley Primary School in Lower Templestowe in 1974. Women Principals had to work hard to gain acceptance and of course, many members of the public found it hard to grasp the fact that a woman could be senior to a man. This led to some very humorous situations - when I arrived at the school, a new canteen was being built and the contractor came up to the offices. My male Deputy Principal was chatting to me and the contractor immediately turned to him with all the details. When he paused for breath, my Deputy said to him - "now tell her, she's the Principal". The look on the contractor's face was priceless! I found working with the Templestowe Valley Community challenging but very rewarding. Enrolments increased during my time at the school and peaked at 752. I had 13 very happy years there, before taking early retirement in 1987. I am still in touch with the school and looking forward to taking part in 40th Birthday Celebrations later this year.

    18/02/2019 - 18:17
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32820

    Laurel Dodson (Beasley) YHS 1956 - sent this - which would be quite funny if it wasn’t so close to the truth!!

    Scenario 1 Jack goes rabbit shooting before school, pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack. 1959 Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack’s rifle, goes to his car and gets his rifle and chats with Jack about guns. School goes into lock down. Tactical Response called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his ute or gun again. Counsellors called in for traumatised students and teachers.

    Scenario 2 Johnny & Mark get into fistfight at school. 1959 Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny & Mark shake hands and end up buddies. Police called, arrests Johnny & Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it. Both children go to anger management programs for 3 months. School board hold meeting to implement bullying prevention programs.

    Scenario 3 Robbie won’t sit still in class, disrupts other students. 1959 Robbie sent to office and given 6 of the best by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again. 2009 Robbie given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. Robbie’s parents get fortnightly disability payments and school gets extra funding from state because Robbie has a disability.

    Scenario 4 Steve falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. She hugs him to comfort him. 1959 In a short time, Steve feels better and goes on playing. 2009 Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in prison. Steve undergoes 5 years of therapy

    18/02/2019 - 18:17
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32819

    John Lewis YHS 1954: My thanks go to David Drane for his "A Trip Around Yallourn High" as it bought back some nice memories. I am surprised David forgot about the location of room 13, as it was right next to room 12! In fact, it was set between rooms 12 and 14. Room 13 was at the end of the building block opposite the boys’ quadrangle. The next block further along, and set at right angles, was separate and made of detached prefabs with two rooms numbered 14 and 15. A similar set of prefabs parallel it, making up rooms 16 and 17. I recall that room 13 was set up as a sewing room and so in the 1950s it was mainly out of bounds for boys as the YHS curriculum was essentially streamed and arranged on gender lines. In my year the A stream boys were strictly funnelled into the ‘harder’ maths, physics and chemistry. No B, C, D, or E stream students or girls were allowed. Similarly, at that time YHS girls were expected to elect subjects like French, history, English literature, typing, commerce and sewing. No A stream boys allowed. The cooking room and room 13 were therefore places where only girls roamed. As the school population grew, exceptions were made to how the rooms were used and the year after me, on the cusp of women’s lib and changing social attitudes, schools also changed and at YHS there were girls studying in the ‘harder’ maths classes. However, before then, room 13, the sewing room, was off limits to boys. Girls only thank-you. There was an exception when I was in form 5. We boys had what we then considered the misfortune to have a double maths period first thing in the morning in room 13 with Ernie 'Underpants' Homan. I say misfortune for two reasons. First, because room 13 was set up as a sewing room it had benches instead of the desks we were used to, so writing in our books on the high benches was difficult and uncomfortable. Second, you might appreciate, even sympathise with me, that a double-maths first thing in the morning with Mr Homan was not an easy start to the day and severely taxed the concentration span of most of us. In order to get some respite from this double maths period, each week one of us would be delegated to go into room 13 before classes started and stuff the chimney of the small cream coloured wood heater with something like rags. By the time we had all marched in and seated on stools at our benches, and as Mr Homan was just nicely settling into the rhythm of his lesson, the heater would start smoking into the room. With its chimney blocked, it worked every time. After about 15 minutes or so the room would be so badly smoked up we all had to go outside. Loads of exaggerated coughing from our class helped prompt the evacuation. I remember Daryl Raggatt was a very skilled cougher. For Mr Homan’s sake, as we all made for the door, we always expressed disappointment at having to leave his lesson and suggested the heater probably needed replacement. We also ‘proved’ our concern by opening a few windows on the way out to clear the air. Once out of the room, someone like the cleaner would have to come and check out the heater before we were allowed back in. This tactic always gave us about 30 minutes of respite from that weekly double maths class.

    18/02/2019 - 18:15
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32818

    Gladys Byrne (Meadows) YHS 1940 used to cycle down to Yallourn High School once a week in the 1940s from the Brown Coal Mine State School for their cooking classes. Her son, Graeme, attended Yallourn Primary School and Yallourn Tech and younger daughter, Lynette, also attended Yallourn PS. However, it's Robyn we want to recognise today - Robyn attended Yallourn PS and started Yallourn High School in 1967. On Australia Day, she was awarded an Order of Australia Day medal for her service to the community of South Melbourne and Port Melbourne through health care and legal services. Robyn was treasurer of Inner South Community Health Service (ISCHS) for 10 years and president for 7 years. She was president of the South-Port Community Health Service from 1987 to 1992 and vice-president of the SouthPort Legal Service from 1988 to 2000. Robyn (53) said she was humbled by her award and said "nobody volunteers to receive recognition." She said she was proud to have seen the ISCHS develop into such a large and successful organisation.

    18/02/2019 - 18:14
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32817

    YALLOURN SOCCER CLUB Barry Hill wrote: "Having been born in Yallourn Hospital in 1962 and been back numerous times before I was 7 (because my arm was constantly being dislocated after my brothers constantly "threw me into the turnbuckle" (our couch) while trying to imitate Mario Milano), I wanted to reach out to those of you who also grew up at this time and played for the great Yallourn Soccer club.

    My first year was 1969 and the mighty U/8 reds record was 13 wins, 1 defeat, 88 goals for and two against. The coach was Mick Duke & Ernie McKinney. The team was Paul Brown, Garry White, myself, T D’Alterio, John Dougan, Michael Hutchinson, Murray Lyons, John Burke, David Curtis, Gary Plautz and Stephen Husquin. I remember clear as day the famous "pie nights", the "smell" of Maryvale pulp mill in the mornings prior to a game, my first pair of real soccer boots and brushing coal dust off my white shorts.

    My mother diligently kept the newsletters that the coaches would put together after each match. I had them put into a scrap book that I have with me to this day. I have photo's of the teams I played in from 1969 through 1971. We made it into the UK "Scorcher" magazine as the first Australian team to be the "Scorcher Team of the Week". Anybody remember "Billy's Boots" or "Bobby of the Blues" which were the cartoon strips in this magazine? I have that magazine!

    In 1970 we won a regional tournament in Melbourne; because of this we played a combined team from Karingal at half time of Moscow Dynamo vs Victoria at Olympic Park. This was a very big deal, the team was Brian Coyle, Trevor Langmaid, Shane Plautz, Paul Brown, myself, John Dougan, Stephen Husquin, Mark Husquin, Ian Nerrie (Capt), Murray Lyons, Paul Burke, David Curtis & Michael Hutchinson.

    Finally, in 1971 the U/10's won the league when we played 27 games, won 27, scored 164 goals and only had 6 against!! This was written up in the SEC magazine with all players, with the jobs their fathers had with the SEC. In 1972 x 3 of our team myself (Capt), Trevor Langmaid & Wayne Jones were chosen to represent the Latrobe Valley in an U/10 squad to play teams in Sydney. This was a highlight for me as a small kid growing up in Yallourn.

    In 1972 I moved to Castlemaine in Central Victoria and continued to play for a while in Bendigo, but unlike Yallourn, this part of Victoria was very much an Aussie Rules place.

    I now live in California working in high tech and had the privilege of a lifetime 3 years ago by attending the World Cup in Germany and got to see the Aussies play Brazil, a real thrill for me. I coach my little girl and boy in soccer now and it has remained my love and passion to this day. I write a "blog" after each game in the same style as the coaches did in the Yallourn Soccer Club newsletter and the families just love it, I encourage the parents to print these out and keep them in a scrap book for their kids!

    Without the commitment and dedication of the parents and coaches of the Yallourn Soccer Club circa 1969 to 1971, this love affair with soccer would probably not be the case. I am sure that some of these wonderful people are no longer with us, but for those of you who remember this time in our lives as fondly as I do, please let me know. You can contact me through Julie or else contact me on barryglennhill@yahoo.com"

    18/02/2019 - 18:14
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32816

    Valma Frost (Hamilton) YHS 1943 by Sonja Bates (Ostlund):
    It is with much sadness that my life long friend, Valma, passed away in Feb 08 after a battle with cancer. She lived in Yallourn and attended the State School and the High School. She had been a member of the Yallourn Old Girls' Association since it began in 1976 and as a Committee Member, contributed quietly to the running of the group.
    We played basketball in our early teens and had enjoyable matches against Moe, Morwell, Trafalgar and Yallourn North. I was a goaler and Valma was Wing Attack. When the umpire blew the whistle to start the game, Valma would jump straight up and confuse Centre Elaine Walters and me, but she usually got the centre pass.
    Valma was a foundation member of the Morwell Basketball Club in 1969, which later became the Morwell Netball Association in 1975. She assisted with the Collins Street State School teams and also became an umpire at the weekly Saturday competition. She was the President for several years. Valma was the First Aid lady and later joined the St John's Ambulance. In 2007, she was awarded the "Serving Sister of St John's" medal at Government House. Valma also played golf and lawn bowls at Morwell.
    Valma will be sadly missed by all for her quiet achievements. She is survived by her husband, Jim, and children Glenda, Alan and Ian, and her 7 grandchildren.
    The St John’s Ambulance also wrote a letter to YOGA saying it was with great sadness they learned of Valma’s death as she made a wonderful contribution to their organisation for many years.
    Valma will be especially missed by her friends on the YOGA Committee.

    (Photo attached)

    18/02/2019 - 18:13
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32815

    Tim Harvey YHS 1971 the next edition:
    Part 3 - Earth
    Okay, Part 3 of the continuing series of I-Can’t-Believe-What’s-Still-In-Your-Head-After-AllThese-Years...and we continue thematically through the classical elements. This time, Earth.
    Briquettes - Coal was, of course, Yallourn’s raison d’etre , dug from the earth around our little town. Munched into dust, it fed the power stations; and the power stations were generous, for they shared their left-overs with us. They must have been on a bit of a diet at some point because there seemed to be quite a bit left over, and coal dust was a constant companion when I was young. It got in your eyes, it got up your nose, it got in your eyes, it got on your clothes, it got in your eyes, it got in your shoes, it got in your eyes, it got on mum’s washing and it got in your eyes!! It filtered through the roof tiles and filled up the roof space. I remember in Primary School watching a drift of coal dust being blown gently across the asphalt in the schoolyard, tracing little curls and swirls and shapes under the hand of an invisible breeze. It was everywhere. Coal could be compacted too, into the lumps known as briquettes which seemed to be the bane of my life for a while. I described in a previous article the part briquettes played in our home, providing hot water and heat….but briquettes probably deserve a bit more of a lookin than that. They were delivered to your house by Eddie Brock in a truck, in potato sacks, which were then up-ended into a boarded-off section at the end of the garden shed. (What a shocking job!) From there, someone would bring a bucket-full down to the house to feed the hot water heater and the lounge room heater - usually mum, sometimes dad, very occasionally me, because I hated it. Briquettes were rather fragile and over the years, the dust built up in the back section of our shed until it would form a bed more than a foot deep. Dad would dutifully wrap his mouth and nose with a handkerchief and dig it out. He would end up looking like a panda in revere - with white eyes and his face blackened with dust...and dust up his nose. It was all very grubby and rather like shoveling away a very slow tide because the dust would always return. The odd thing is that I can still conjure up the smell of freshly-delivered briquettes, and it is not an unpleasant memory.
    The Hills. Yallourn was, of course, overlooked by two hills. One, Coach Road, I knew fairly well because my grandparents and cousins lived up there. It was a big hill and it was a significant achievement in early High School when I rode up to the lookout tower on my bike for the first time without stopping. The return trip was quicker, but not too much quicker - I really wasn’t that brave. (Nothing like one of my young cousins who - hands behind his head and cheesy big grin on this face - sailed down the hill on his bike and around the bottom curve into Strzelecki Road, as he bellowed merrily at the top of his voice “hey Tim - LOOK AT ME!!” He disappeared around the curve and out of sight, hands still behind his head, still grinning rather madly. Happily, neither the years nor uncounted accidents and close shaves since have mellowed his brimming optimism.) The Reservoir Hill I only got to know in High School as I got to know friends who lived up there...and there was no space in the middle. There was a rather useless dam wall there and some bush in which generation after generation of kids seemed to have built cubbies in. I remember my Aunt took a few of us kids through there for a walk years ago. She showed us dozens of small orchids through the bush that I never knew existed and which I could barely distinguish from the surrounding vegetation, even when they were pointed out to me. I suddenly found, for the first time, that there were other worlds within this one which I could walk past without noticing - or even suspecting - their existence, unless I stopped and looked very, very carefully in the right place….
    The Common. When I was growing up in Fairfield Avenue, it was a short walk over Parkway to the area behind the nursery. It was known in our household by the very English name, “The Common”. It was an expanse of flat ground which must have contained a lot of clay soil because there were always massive cracks all over it. It hosted a heap of activities over the years and I regularly headed down there for an hour or so after school to amuse myself. I used to kick the footy down there and I used to throw boomerangs, until I would misjudge the distance or the wind strength and lose it over the nursery fence (I must’ve lost half a dozen boomerangs there over the years. Dad never complained about this He just cut and filed another one down for me and I would head off and eventually misjudge the wind speed and pitch that one over the fence as well.) In my teenage years, I used to practice belting - and losing - golf balls on The Common. At one stage, I had a toy rocket which I could fire into the air with a slingshot and which (all going well) would then open at its zenith and parachute gently to earth, which was all very exciting. (Or, if things did not go well, the parachute didn’t open and
    the rocket would then make a suicidal attempt to bury itself lengthwise in the ground.) We rode our bikes around The Common and we went for family walks there on the weekend, down and across toward the hospital...and we would walk our dogs there. We had quite a few dogs when I was little. One of the more memorable members of that procession was a Basset Hound we had when I was in early High School. The Common was a place of wonder for him. Bassets have extraordinary sense of smell and he could pick up odours and stories that predated civilization itself. Unfortunately, there were such stories every few feet and he was bound by the Code of the Basset to take them all in, snuffle a bit and then ponder them deeply. It made for slow progress. Some things simply transfixed him. He would stare intently at an area on the ground. He would sniff at it, stare, sniff some more and stare again in an apparent mixture of deep thought and disbelief. Eventually, we’d have to drag him away, although often he’d go back to the same spot and investigate the same story all over again. He was a funny dog. He was very good natured, although he had his boisterous moments as well. (I remember, for example, watching him swinging around our rotary clothesline - all four feet well off the ground. This, of course, was not an uncommon pastime in Yallourn as many readers know, although it was somewhat unusual for a dog. Unfortunately, he managed this by the expedience of swinging by his teeth from one of mum’s good towels...and before you ask, no, I did not teach him this.) Anyway, our Basset loved The Common, but not just for the stories it told him. The Common was bounded by The Drain, which I have written about previously. If you broached that slight barrier and then the subsequent gentle slope, there was a fenced paddock. Most of the time, the paddock was empty, but occasionally there were cows…and the cows in the paddock beyond The Drain fascinated our Basset. He would run back and forward along the fence, barking furiously, comically and as expressively as only a Basset can. The cows generally ignored him, or wandered off in search of quieter sections of pasture. Once, however, our Basset found a hole in the fence and despite our yelling and imprecations to the contrary, he squeezed through into the paddock, refusing all subsequent threats and pleas for him to come out forthwith. Suddenly liberated, he then ran back and forward along the inside of the fence (joy of joys!), barking and baying in his usual animated manner. The cows, it seemed, had never seen such an odd beast before - short legs, great floppy ears, feet like dinner plates, tail like a small kangaroo, making a noise like a donkey with a throat condition. (Rather like a bloodhound that had been plunged vigourously and repeatedly into hot water when the instructions clearly stated “Cold Wash Only!”). It all combined to make him terribly, terribly interesting. So the cows proceeded, as a group, to amber over to investigate further. This was not part of the dog’s plan. The eyes of the Basset generally protrude slightly and this became progressively more pronounced as the cows ambled even closer. The barking ceased, except as an intermittent strangled protest that everyone was getting a bit close and could they please back off a bit and give a dog some air. All the while, he frantically dashed back and forward, desperately trying to find the hole in the fence. He didn’t bark at the cows again, except from the safety of the fence. Looking back, it was not unlike the first time he learned he could swim. Same sudden impulsiveness. Same bulging eyes…
    Roads. While roads are roads and asphalt Is asphalt, there were differences. Parkway was beautifully quiet and smooth and I loved it. Loved walking along it, loved riding on it. I presume it was for visiting dignitaries and royalty who must have left the same way as they came in so as not to spoil the illusion that all Yallourn roads were like this. Come the height of summer, I would walk to the pool down Parkway. Each summer you walked, barefoot, in your togs, T-shirt, with 10 cents (20 cents?) and towel in hand. Every summer your feet started off soft, feeling every stone and progressively toughening as summer went on...which was good because at the height of summer, the repaired asphalt at the corner with Westbrook Rd would melt and stick to your feet, leaving hot, liquorice-like marks. It was a sign of summer and a good day to come.
    The Playgrounds. There was a great sense of social responsibility in the designers of Yallourn and mindful of the need to entertain children outdoors, they allowed for lots of green space and playgrounds...and they obviously didn’t want to be messing about later on with things like maintenance, so they made the play equipment solid enough to outlast granite. It’s probably all still there somewhere, languishing at the bottom of the open cut - too heavy to shift, too sturdy to cut up, too elemental to corrode - all made from left-over bits that were too big to fit in the power station. Thick, heavy steel tubing, massive planks of hardwood for platforms or seats. It was designed, I think, at a time when, if bad things happened to you, and it was even vaguely your own fault, people thought you were a bit dim and deserving more of derision than compensation. For example, the roundabout in the playground at the bottom of Coach Road hill
    was massively big and massively heavy. If you got spun off while using it - and you would get spun off while using - that was a painful, but inevitable, part of the experience. It was no-one’s fault, you just learned to hold on. It was a metaphor about life. In a similar vein, the plank-swing in the Church St playground near our house was clearly modeled in size and weight on something the Romans would’ve used to take out the gates of Carthage. It could’ve punched a neat rectangular hole in the side of a bus. It was, I think, built not only with a purpose, but also with a philosophy. Children would be amused, children would be entertained, children would be exercised...but they would do it in a careful and orderly manner, or they would die in the process. It was another lesson about life - Constant Vigilance! (*with apologies to Harry Potter.)

    18/02/2019 - 18:10
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32814

    Steve Gray YHS 1971:
    High School the early bits…
    For me, secondary school was a mixed bag of emotions, some of the guys from primary went to the Tech School, while the rest went to the High School. I guess this happens everywhere, but in filling out the paper work at primary school some were still undecided and many parents made the decision anyway.
    Day one saw me introduced to a bunch of students from Yallourn North and new-comers from wherever, for a shy kid like me it was strange to have so much to remember, and then to have new names thrown in on top was hard.
    Our ‘first form’ group had about 70 students crammed into a double room with big dividing walls in the older building of the high school, they fitted big gold blackout curtains so we could watch “educational films” and slides (audio visual was considered so cool but in reality, it was so passé…)
    We generally had three teachers in the room team teaching the new “general studies” subject. It was a mix of subjects and the teachers were so proud to be offering a NEW initiative, they bubbled with enthusiasm but much of that was lost on those that could not handle the noise created by 70 students jabbering on about things. So most of the time I sat back and watched (I have always loved day dreaming).
    We had Mr Gubbins, Mrs McMicken, Mrs Anderson (or was that in form 2?) Mr Symons (guest appearances for the history of the Gippsland lakes)…see I do remember some of it.
    There were other teachers for the single subjects, Mr Benson for Maths, Mr Dimsey for Woodwork and Tech Drawing, Mrs Evans for Music, the rest are a blur (more day dreaming.)
    I recall the school Social for our year the form 5-6 students helped in organising the room and thought we were so cute. I tried to dodge the event by not telling mum about it but somehow my sister got wind of it and I was there. The teachers had taught us the barn dance and some other formal dances (I still remember the basics of the barn dance so that’s another thing that has ‘stuck’). I remember we had half time in the ‘home economics’ room and in the rush, one girl got bowled over… (Heck it was just cordial and scones…)
    The school camp was to Raymond Island. Features included a morning Jog with Mr Gubbins, a social dance the night before we left, some science on the beach, and very competitive fishing on the water front. Some of the other bits? dunno… The coach drive home was the last of my memories. Oh and the obligatory “write a letter home to your family” I think we got home before the letter did.
    School sport seemed to include trampolining, athletics carnival and I am vague about the rest, I was given exemption from most vigorous sports due to a minor heart condition so I remember a lot of Carpet Bowls with Mr Dimsey. He often forgot that I was one of the few regulars as carpet bowls was considered the cop out for those that had forgotten their school sports uniform.
    One afternoon after school assembly at Kernot Hall, it was noted that a number of Form 6 boys were not at the assembly. They took the opportunity to lift Mr Dimsey’s Mini station wagon into the corridor near the science rooms. That was funny, the look on his face was priceless when the office lady (Mrs Butcher?) called for Mr Dimsey on the school PA “to move his car from the science wing…!”
    I rode my bike to school most days. It took 5 mins and I mostly left my run to the last minute. Tim Harvey lived up the street and usually came barreling by at a fast rate of knots, his flying start annoyed me and he often got there well before I did.
    I would race in the yard, throw the bike in the bike rack, grab a squirt of water from the water fountain, run to the locker, then run to class to join the end of the line as the bell went. Well mostly that’s how it went - one frosty morning I got a face full of ice out of the fountain that caught me off guard.
    Lunch for me was often a race home on the bike, throw down some sandwiches and then scarper back to school for the last 20 mins of lunch to hang out with the guys. The oval would have a hive of activity, from “stacks on the mill” to kick-to-kick, cricket, and girls walking about in groups jabbering on about who knows what.
    The speech night provided an opportunity to take part by doing short skits on stage and playing
    apart in the chorus of a Gilbert and Sullivan medley Mr Gubbins forgot a few lines and was prompted by Graham Rooney who was charged with the task, just in case… He got the job because he was the closet to him on stage.
    About here some of the teachers from Canada and the USA were being bought in to fill the teacher shortage, but we didn’t get them until form 2-3… more about them next time, maybe…

    18/02/2019 - 18:09
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 32813

    Robert Vincent YHS 1954 wrote:
    "I am still settling back into suburbia after a 9-month teacher volunteer stint in Papua New Guinea. The duration was to have been 2 years, but City Mission Pt Moresby decided to "outsource" to the local Tech School. The truth is that City Mission lacked tools, materials, organisation and infrastructure to teach 10 boys in Woodwork, 10 in Metalwork and 10 in Mechanics all at once. One vice and a few power tools and a few (very few) hand tools amounted to "dreams impossible". Ya get that! I had good opportunity to reflect on how good the YTS and YHS education systems and teachers were and how good the Tech system was still when I later became a teacher. My casual relief teaching experience in recent years (after 20 years of design/drafting & engineering) has me wondering at the wisdom of Victoria dismantling the Tech School system.

    18/02/2019 - 18:08
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________