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. .

  • 32471
    Reunion 2018

    L-R: Julie Francis, Steve George, Roger Smith, Joan Ashmead, David Thomson, Sue Harwood, Jack Dell, Stephen Vanyai (those visible)

    06/04/2018 - 13:50
  • 32470
    Reunion 2018

    Celia Hibbert - YHS 1966

    06/04/2018 - 13:46
  • 32469
    Reunion 2018

    Fantastic weather for a great reunion

    06/04/2018 - 13:45
  • 32467
    Reunion 2018

    Martin & Julie Francis at Reunion

    06/04/2018 - 11:32
  • 32466
    Reunion 2018

    Chris Francis, Bev Malpass, Carole Sagar

    06/04/2018 - 11:10
  • 32463


    The following newspaper extract was unearthed in ‘The Age’. It was published nearly eighty years ago and reported on the retirement of Dr Hyman Herman. Very few people today would know the name Hyman Herman; but anyone who turns on an electric light or uses a household appliance owes something to the intellectual powers and untiring energies of Dr Hyman Herman.

    Dr Herman was a geologist, engineer and a dominant force in the establishment and on-going success of the SECV. In some references he is described as the ‘Father of Yallourn.’ For example ‘The Argus’ newspaper, in announcing his retirement from the SECV, stated…
    “Dr Hyman Herman, director of briquetting and research for the State Electricity Commission, retired yesterday. Dr Herman was known as the "father of Yallourn..." August 17th1940 Page: 4.
    The footnotes, which accompany this article, attempt to expand upon Dr Herman’s lasting contribution to the development of the power industry and, in turn, the establishment of the township of Yallourn.

    On August 16 Dr Hyman Herman will retire from the post of engineer in charge of Briquetting and Research of the State Electricity Commission. He was chairman of the Victorian brown coal advisory committee, on whose report the Yallourn venture, now controlled by the commission, was commenced.
    In 1938 he was awarded the medal of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy for his outstanding contributions to national development. Dr Herman was born at Bendigo on August 16, 1875. His education began in the State schools, and by scholarships and exhibitions he worked his way through Scotch College and the University.
    He joined the Mines department in 1895, and in 1904 refused the position of State director to become assistant-general manager of Mt. Bischoff mine in Tasmania. In 1913, he become director of geological survey and paid particular attention to brown coal deposits. He joined the Electricity Commission in 1920 in the position he now holds, and the following year visited Germany.
    In 1936 he visited Europe and America Dr Herman's research work, extended to South Australia and West Australia, and he has published several books on Australian mineral resources. A farewell function will be held in Kelvin Hall on August 16.

    1. As mentioned above, Hyman Herman was born in 1875 at Sandhurst (Bendigo). He was one of twelve children born to Polish/ Russian Solomon and Elizabeth Herman (nee: Oxlake born in London).

    2. Solomon’s father (Hyman’s grandfather) took up a position of Reverend (dissimilar to a Rabbi) in a synagogue in Ballarat;
    “…His grandfather, Samuel Hyman, was a Reverend and served for five years as the Minister for Ballarat Synagogue. At this time, the Chief Rabbi in London controlled the appointment of Rabbis in Australia and would not approve his appointment as a Rabbi. However, he was accepted as having the best qualifications, at the time, and was appointed President of the first Jewish Ecclesiastical Court (Beth Din) in Australia.” Source: Australian Jewish Historical Society.
    Solomon, an accountant, was also active leader in the Jewish community during his life; and was influential in the founding the Perth Hebrew Congregation in later years.

    3. Hyman Herman gained an interest in mining and geology because of his early experiences in Bendigo; and it is said that he was a brilliant student who achieved ‘scholastic excellence’ in his fields of interest (engineering, mining and metallurgy).

    4. A little known fact about Hyman Herman was his association with the gold mining town of Walhalla (which was to be ‘not too far away’ from his later destination of Yallourn)...
    “Herman was 23. He became acting director of the Geological Survey in 1900 and through its efforts and his own work on the Walhalla goldfields…”

    5. It is documented that Hyman married Florence Salmon in 1902 and they had three children.

    6. As mentioned in the extract from ‘The Age’, in time, his expertise and qualifications in geological studies saw Dr Herman appointed to the position of Chairman of the State Advisory Committee on Coal and Electricity in 1917…
    “…he became chairman of a State advisory committee on coal and electricity, which included Herbert Harper and William Stone. Their report became the blue-print for the future power and brown coal industry in Victoria. It envisaged three major operations: open-cut mining in the La Trobe valley; the establishment of a large power-station and briquetting factories (at what was to become Yallourn) and State-wide distribution of electricity.” Source: ‘ABD’ Vol: 9 1983.

    7. In 1920, there was ‘strong talk’ that Dr Herman would be selected to the prestigious position of Chairman of the SEC. However, it was not to be; and, as history shows, the State Government appointed Australia’s ‘greatest soldier’, Sir John Monash, to oversee the development of the coal fields and supervise the construction of the power station on the Latrobe River at Yallourn.

    8. Dr Herman was chosen to be the engineer-in-charge of research into brown coal and the production of briquettes. Sir John and Dr Hyman would prove a formidable combination in bringing the ‘Yallourn Project’ to fruition.

    9. Throughout his career with the SEC, Dr Herman worked closely with Sir John Monash; and, as Prue McGoldrick wrote in her book ‘Yallourn Was’, both men would often conduct guided tours of the ‘Yallourn scheme’ for influential dignitaries and members of the press.

    10. Dr Herman was the engineer-in-charge of the production of briquettes for twenty years. He must have been quite a dynamic personality….
    “…He used to travel by the cold evening train from Melbourne spend the night at Morwell and next day climb about in the Yallourn mud wearing his leather cuffed raincoat and old slouched hat. A fresh faced man…” Source: ‘Yallourn Was’ Page 177.

    11. The story of briquette production at Yallourn is a striking example of Sir John Monash’s vision and Dr Herman’s energy and leadership…
    “As an engineer Sir John Monash was quick to recognise that in its brown coal deposits Victoria possessed an asset the value of which would be by no means confined to the development of electrical power, and he addressed himself to the task of finding other purposes for its use. An experimental briquette factory was built at Yallourn, and the new fuel proved so popular that only this year a new and much larger factory was opened there to supply briquettes on a commercial basis.” Source: ‘Obituaries Australia’ ANU-Reference No: 7618.

    12. According to Prue McGoldrick’s research, by June 1922, the machinery from Germany had arrived and was ready for installation at the Yallourn factory. By early 1925, the production of briquettes was into ‘full swing’; and it wasn’t long before railway trucks, loaded with briquettes, rumbled along the lines carrying the ‘new wonder fuel’ to be used in Victorian homes for domestic heating and kitchen stoves.

    13. In Murray Lobley’s enlightening story about ‘The History of the Yallourn Soccer Club’, which can be found on this website, he outlines the exceptional role played by Dr Herman in the Yallourn Project in four key areas….
    “… (a) His leadership of the Brown Coal Advisory Committee and its 1917 recommendations.
    (b) His contribution to the solution of the ‘wet coal’ crisis of 1921-22 that could have terminated the Yallourn project and ruined Monash.
    (c) His ongoing promotion of the briquette industry – he was considered a world expert of brown coal briquetting.
    (d) The fact that his influence on the continuance of the brown coal industry, and consequently the continued viability of Yallourn…” Source: Virtual Yallourn website.

    13. Dr Hyman Herman retired from the SEC in 1940; and the ‘Burnie Advocate’ carried the following information about Dr Herman’s early years and also referred to a prestigious award that he received in 1938….
    “…DR HYMAN HERMAN will retire on August 10 from the post of engineer in charge of Briquetting and Research of the State Electricity Commission in Victoria. He was chairman of the Victorian brown coal advisory committee, on whose report the Yallourn venture, now controlled by the commission,
    was commence. In 1938, he was awarded the medal of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy for his outstanding contributions to national development. Dr Herman joined the Victorian Mines Department in
    1895; and in 1904 refused the position of State director to become assistant, general manager of the Mt. Bischoff mine, Waratah. In 1913 he became director of geological survey in Victoria…” ‘Advocate’ August 5th 1940 Page: 2.

    14. In his study, Murray Lobley also refers to the retirement of Dr Herman. As can be seen below, the SECV owed much to Dr Herman’s dedicated service and tireless endeavours for some two decades…
    “On his retirement in 1940, the 22nd Annual report of the SEC placed on official record the following…Dr H. Herman, B.C.E., M.M.E., D.Sc., retired on the 16th August, 1940, after twenty years’ service with the Commission. The vigorous policy of brown coal development which, as State Director of Geological Survey, Dr Herman initiated in 1912, and his subsequent advocacy of the use of brown coal for the generation of electricity and the production of briquettes on a national basis were the prime factors which led to the appointment in 1917 of the Brown Coal Advisory Committee, of which he was Chairman. The adoption of this Committee's report by the Government and by Parliament was the basis of the original legislation constituting the Electricity Commissioners.”
    Note: Murray Lobley’s article can be found at this link… http://www.virtualyallourn.com/node/24329

    15. The following extract was published in the ‘Australian Dictionary of Biography’ and refers to Dr Herman’s quest to improve the industrial efficiency of brown coal (Yallourn coalbeds had a moisture content of 60%). The ‘ABD’ article also mentions his fact finding missions to Germany and the Soviet Union…
    “…Until his retirement in 1940 Herman searched for new and efficient ways to use brown coal. He helped in the power-station boiler modifications that were necessary because of one of his few serious errors, when he and others had assumed that all the Latrobe Valley brown coalfields had a moisture content of about 45 per cent whereas the new seams at Yallourn were found to have over 60 per cent. He was also able to make the briquetting industry profitable by introducing a high pressure steam system for drying the wet coal. Herman made several visits to Germany and the Soviet Union, the main sources of brown coal chemical engineering, and demonstrated that Victorian brown coal was technically suitable for carbonization, pulverized traction fuel and the production of town gas. He also encouraged work in hydrogenation (oil from coal) and initiated investigation of brown coal for this purpose.” Source: ‘ABD’ Volume: 9 ( MUP) 1983.

    16. Dr Herman died on the 7th June 1962 at the age 86 years. He was cremated; and it is recorded (on excellent authority-see below) that he was not given a Jewish burial service.

    17. Much has been written about Dr Herman’s intellectual brilliance; and his capacity to foresee the potential of brown coal as a fuel for domestic and industrial use. He was a pioneer in his field; and a man of infinite wisdom and drive. Various texts reveal that he was revered by his peers; and, throughout his career, he won kudos and admiration from all quarters. He was indeed a humble and steadfast person who sought no tributes for his years of industrious and vital work with the SECV…
    “…Yet his greatest honour was to witness the mining and engineering triumphs in the Latrobe Valley. 'Brown coal in Victoria', he (Dr Herman) once stated, 'has been waiting like a huge fortune in Chancery for the rightful heir to its riches and benefits'. Herman had foreseen its potential, and more than any other person harnessed that fortune.” Source: ‘ABD’ Vol: 9 1983.

    18. Julie George (the administrator of this website and the Secretary of the Yallourn Association) was employed at the Herman Research Laboratories, in Mulgrave, from 2010-2015 and recalls that…..
    “I worked for the Herman Research Laboratories (HRL) for 5 years - until the end of 2015. In 1994, HRL Limited acquired the business of the Research and Development Department of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) and the Research and Development business of the Coal Corporation of Victoria. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to hear the name ‘Yallourn’ nearly every day as well as Hyman Herman. Many of the engineers and chemists were ex-SECV employees; and, in talking with them, it was quite normal for us to discover we had mutual acquaintances from Yallourn. Photos of Dr Herman could be seen on the walls of the building and in various books around the offices.” Source: Julie George-February 2018.

    Source: This summary of Dr Herman’s career, from 1895-1940, was copied from the biographical entries of the ‘Encyclopaedia of Australian Science.’
    • 1895 – 1904: Career position - Surveyor on the Geological Survey of Victoria
    • 1904 – 1907 : Career position - Assistant General Manager of Mt. Bischoff Mine in Tasmania
    • 1907 - c. 1912: Career position - Private consulting practise in Melbourne
    • 1912 – 1920: Career position - Director of the Geological Survey of Victoria
    • 1917:Career position - Chairman of the Victorian State Advisory Committee on Brown Coal
    • 1920 – 1940: Career position - Engineer-in-charge of Briquetting and Research at the Victorian State Electricity Commission
    • 1936: Career position - Official representative at the 3rd World Power conference and Congress of International Commission on Large Dams in Washington, USA
    • 1936:Career position - Official representative at the Commonwealth Government International Chemical Engineering Conference in London
    • 1938 : Award - Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Medal received
    • 1940 : Career position - Consulting Engineer to State Electricity Commission of Victoria
    • 1940: Life event – Retired.

    Dr Herman was a prolific writer and his works include the following important titles:
    • ‘Brown Coal : with special reference to the State of Victoria, Commonwealth of Australia.’
    • ‘Utilization of brown coal in Victoria.’
    • ‘Report of the Advisory Committee on Brown Coal.’
    • ‘Brown coals of Victoria.’

    For those people interested to learn more about the life and work of Hyman Herman a list correspondence, reports, press cuttings etc. can be found in the Melbourne University Archives at this link…http://gallery.its.unimelb.edu.au/imu/imu.php?request=multimedia&irn=5571

    • Sincere thanks to Philip Moses, Honorary Secretary of the Australian Jewish Historical Society, for his kind assistance in clarifying various aspects of Dr Herman’s life.
    • ‘Thank you’ to David Langdon , President of the Richmond Historical Society, for his assistance (and photographs) in explaining the history of the SEC Research Centre in Richmond in earlier times.
    • Thanks to Julie for her contribution regarding the Herman Research Laboratories at Mulgrave.

    The above story is part of an on-going project regarding the history of Yallourn. The story was researched and written by Roger Spaull and presented and posted by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in March 2018.

    The above article from ‘The Age’ newspaper has been faithfully reproduced. The only amendments to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing, so as to enhance the article for purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.


    04/04/2018 - 11:40
  • 32462

    Dr Hyman Herman 1875-1962

    Original Source: Museum of Victoria. Ref: MM 9622

    04/04/2018 - 11:32
  • 27824

    YPS 1971 – Grade 5

    Back Row: Rosalie Hamilton, Arlene Horsey
    2nd Back Row: ? , Robert McMicken, Kerry Harnett, Peter Klose, Lea Sutcliffe, Phillip Minns, Peter Coyle, Ann McAllister (Teacher)
    2nd Row: Brenda Chisholm, Susan Ure, Clive Rendell, Robert MacDonald, Leslie Collins, Peter Hamilton, Beth McInnes, Allison McDonald
    Front Row: Jane Sagar, Leigh Swindon, Tim Brown, David Haslam, Ian Nerrie, Anne Potter, Jean White
    Sitting: Steven Clark, Shane Plautz

    29/03/2018 - 13:33
  • 32461

    Source: Fred Marr

    Possibly Yallourn Churches Team - Juniors

    15/03/2018 - 14:17
  • 32460

    Source: Fred Marr

    15/03/2018 - 14:16