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. .

  • 32753

    Stefan Tomasz YHS 1957 wrote:
    For all those who can remember….and what I remember:
    I was interested to read Richard (Dickie) Bush’s eulogy for Miss Jones in the Yoga Newsletter - June 2013.
    As YOGA is about nostalgia, I thought not only of her, but of others who had an impact on our lives those many years ago in the late 1950s and early 1960s. While time tends to mellow and/or distort the memory, the following I remember with general affection. By the way, if what I write does not match what is in the memory of others, then I apologise, in advance, to the living and dead.

    Jack Collins He made Geography interesting. However, the best lurk was to get him talking about his time in the army during WW2. He was stationed in the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland and we knew, when he took his glasses off to clean them, and we could get him to talk about WW2, we were good for 20 minutes resting on our oars. The stories opened our eyes and dreams to places way beyond our closeted world in Yallourn. Alan Coulson He was the man who used to get rid of dogs on the school oval by keeping a store of pennybangers in his desk to throw at them. He gave me one of the best pieces of advice ever – after his time in the RAAF – to never buy the first model of anything and wait for the bugs to be sorted out and buy the second. Alan had, in some respects, the misfortune to suffer the Rebecca Myth after George Ellis moved on to Uni High in Melbourne. Mary Daniel/Thomson She was another very good teacher of history. One day she went away as Miss Daniel and came back as a Mrs Thomson. I loved her stories of teaching in the East End of London which she used to weave into our history classes. Jim Dooley He was a partner to Val Pyers in the rich musical tradition of the school, but also with the tough task of trying to teach others and myself French. He worked very hard at trying to inculcate a love of the French language such as reading to us from French plays and poems. It is amazing, years later, just how useful my school-French proved to be, though, at the time, it seemed about as foreign as the planet Mars. A case of delayed gratification! He had the fate of being Jim Dooley when the song, “Hang down your head Tom Dooley” came out. George Ellis He was a saintly figure who was father to the school in part of my time there. He used Legacy to remind us all of the sacrifices by many in WW2. He liked the “Jamaica Farewell” as a song and it was sung to him for his pleasure often. Frank Gearing (“Giro”) Frank was our Form Teacher one year (and Science teacher on more than one occasion) who never seemed to be out of his grey lab coat. He was famous for experiments that went awry. In crowding around him to get a better look at his dissection of the urino-genital track of a rabbit, some liquid was still in part of the entrails, which when cut, sent a nice arched spurt right into the face of one of the girls in the group. Yuk! I remember the look of disgust and dismay on that poor girl’s spattered face as if it were only a week ago. Rupert Harrison (“Rupe”) I underestimated this man at the time. He had been a fighter pilot in WW2 in the UK I think, and he had had an amazing life experience. He taught us English in a way which was years ahead of its time. Little did I know, but he was actually trying to get us to think. On balance, I failed him at the time rather than the other way around. I had the pleasure of talking to him last year and he was into his 90s. Good on him. He could never seem to make many runs in cricket though. Keith Hollingsworth
    He came to the school full of energy and ambition. Keith told us that he aimed to be appointed the youngest Secondary Principal in the Victorian Department of Education. I think he achieved this at age 32. He revolutionised the whole approach to sport in the school and we won many carnivals because he got us involved in training. I see him now, spending hours writing a whole lot of stuff on the chalkboard outside the army huts in the Big Quadrangle first thing in the morning and, after school, overseeing athletics training. He always seemed to be telling the likes of Iris Ortolja and Sandra Thompson to run faster by making their arms go faster. Not to forget, of course Janice Ipsen (‘Big Julie’), hefting those big weights! It seemed to do the trick as they did really well in the aths. carnivals. Ed Hunkin Never to be forgotten by me, the challenge to Ed Hunkin – ex-boxer and Methodist minister - by Rod Finlayson, in R.I., in Form 4, to have “an Aboriginal person come and talk to us.” Hunkin said, “Would Doug Nicholls do?” Did he mean Pastor Doug Nicholls, ex-Fitzroy footballer Doug Nicholls? Did he mean, in the future, the Governor of South Australia, Doug Nicholls? Yes, he did. True to his word – some few weeks later, we had the absolute pleasure of having Doug Nicholls all to ourselves for about an hour. What champions and outstanding men these two were.
    Mary Veronica Jones Like Richard, I thought she was a wonderful teacher/person. She was this tall, impressive looking woman who made History interesting. On one rare occasion, we were all going to sleep just after lunch on a hot day, with our eyes open (or at least this is how we must have looked) and I swear she did a standing jump about 2 feet straight up in the air and thudded down on the bare, wooded boards in Room 8 or 9, shouting, “Wake up!” To see this tall, angular woman actually do this was amazing. Many of the girls in our class wondered if she had had a broken romance and puzzled why this fine lady was still single. Mind you, while she seemed “old” to us, she could not have been more than 35 I suppose at the time.
    Phyllis Parsons (“Polly”) I had the luck/misfortune to have Polly as my Maths teacher every year from Form 1 to Form 5. Seen by some as an exacting but thorough task-master (mistress), I found her approach to teaching put me off maths for life. Such was her hard line class control, with us anyway, that anyone could have driven a bulldozer through the room and we would have kept our heads down working. Val Pyers (“Pappy”) What to say? How many happy hours of my teenage/school years were due to the activities he created? There were the choirs, the Dandenong Festivals, the G&S and on and on. In Year 12 we really enjoyed going to his home to do play readings for English Lit. His death, not so long ago, was a sad loss to us all. Jack Tremain (“Johnny”) One of my favourite teachers because he busted a gut to try to make what he taught – Geography/History in my case - interesting. I mean, who would take a group of Year 11s to the Yallourn Reservoir and down to the Latrobe River on an “excursion” and describe it as “Geography Prac”? A solid smoker and a man who enjoyed a beer he was also one who sadly left us too early. Chris Warrell He was the lucky man to win the heart and hand of the lovely “Miss Mobsby”, the Art Teacher. This lady had our male pulses racing every time she crossed the Small Quadrangle and bloody Chris won her! Another good teacher – especially of Accounting – and I know Tony Hoffman came out of the Matriculation Exam in Accounting and said, almost incredulously, “I got the Balance Sheet to Balance” – something akin to solving the mystery of life. He put it down to the great teaching he got from Chris. Later, Chris went on to work in the Faculty of Economics and Commerce at Melbourne University.
    There were others of course, but these stand out in my memory. I was lucky enough – after leaving good old YHS – to actually work with some of the above in an adult capacity, or be in contact with them as a tertiary student or professionally. Many proved to be not only good teachers but good work mates, and in two or three cases, good bosses!

    19/01/2019 - 12:05
  • 32752

    Peter Blythe YHS 1954 wrote: I remember – Newborough East and Yallourn. Reg Penkethman’s article in the January 2013 newsletter, with many experiences similar to my own, suggested it was about time I added to the vast array of correspondence contributed to YOGA.
    My father, John (Jack) Blythe, left England in March 1950 following a job offer from the SEC to work as a carpenter building houses at Newborough East. He came on the SS Ranchi as a £10 Pom and our family joined him later that year. Hilda, Jack’s wife, and their four children Barbara, Peter, Eddie and David also came to Australia on the SS Ranchi, arriving in August 1950. All of the children were to have some years of study at Yallourn High School (YHS). From the SS Ranchi, we went straight into our new home at 21 Childers Street – opposite the first Newborough East Primary School buildings.
    With the school across the road not yet open, Mum took me on the bus to Yallourn where I was enrolled in Primary School in Grade 4. The grade 4 class was then located in the guide hut down near the swimming pool. In this class I learned that if you just whispered out of turn, the boys got the cuts and the girls had detention after school. This term was not a very pleasant experience.

    (Photo attached)

    In 1951, Newborough East Primary School must have opened in temporary accommodation (relocatables) although I have been unable to find the exact details. What I do know is that the permanent buildings must have been constructed while the children in grades 4-6 (I was still in grade 4!) were bussed to Morwell East Primary School where Mr Jackson was the headmaster. It was an enjoyable year out in the countryside although again there was a very liberal use of the strap!
    In 1952, the new school buildings were opened, with Mr Mitchell as the headmaster, and now I was in grade 5 and Mr Brannigan was our first teacher.

    Grade 6 was the pinnacle of my leadership ambitions as I was the boy’s School Captain. I doubt if I was ever in a real leadership role again while I was at school. Our grade 6 teacher was Mr Clark, who was not popular as I recall. He was, however, prepared to use school radio sessions and although not remembering any of the titles, I know we always enjoyed the ongoing serials. We also had a weekly visit from the local butcher who took us for religious instruction. He was a great story teller and I remember his telling of The Bishop’s Candlesticks over a number of weeks.
    The weekly grocery arrangement in Newborough East was a forerunner of today’s online shopping, although more personal. The Purvis Store’s representative from Moe would arrive with his order book and a list of ‘specials’ and Mum would place her order for the ‘Purvis for Survis’ van to deliver the next day.
    With my younger brothers, I attended the St. Aidan’s Sunday School at the local hall which, for us, seemed a long way to walk. Later, when the Methodist Church was established, much closer to home, we ‘transferred’ there and I was able to join the Boy’s Brigade as well. My first holiday in Australia was at Ocean Grove in 1952, being a week with the Boy’s Brigade.

    In 1953, I went by semi trailer ‘bus’, along with most of the previous year’s Grade 6 from Newborough East, to start secondary schooling at Moe High School. This was only the second year of the school’s existence. (Now neither of the two high schools I attended exist.) I guess it was a good year, however there is nothing distinctive that I can remember about it. The main thing I do recall is that when our maths teacher, Mr Cockram, commenced the first class, he addressed the girls by their given names but the boys were expected to answer to their family names. I think teachers today generally try to relate more personally to all their students. 1954 was much more memorable. This year shaped the future of our family in a way that was quite different to what we would have expected. In March 1954, the Queen and Prince Phillip visited Yallourn and I was able to join with the Moe and Newborough Boy’s Brigades for a ‘fleeting’ glimpse of the royal couple (blink!). It was, I am sure, a very significant day for the thousands who lined the route through the Yallourn township. On the following Saturday, we were to go on our first family holiday, an event I had been looking forward to. Our plans were changed at about 5pm on the Friday there was a knock on the door. A workmate of Dad’s had called to inform Mum that Dad had been in an accident on his motor bike on the way home from work and had been taken to the Yallourn Hospital. (I recall my reaction was mainly disappointment because this clearly meant not going on our holiday.) It was some fifteen months before Dad had fully recovered. He had, by then, learned to walk with an artificial limb following the eventual amputation of his right leg above the knee. For much of this time, he was in Melbourne at St Vincent’s Hospital and then at the Mount Martha Rehabilitation Centre. This period was fairly traumatic for the family and we went through a long period of adjustment. My sister took on the task of looking after her brothers as Mum was working mainly night shifts at Yallourn Hospital as a nursing aid. However, Mum made sure her children were well cared for and as a treat, I was allowed to go with her to the Whist Drives conducted on Monday evenings at the primary school. As this cost two shillings each week, it really was a treat. We also went to Yallourn on Saturday afternoons by bus for the afternoon matinee, which consisted of cartoons, a serial (my favourite was Spiderman) and the main film. This outing also cost two bob and if you were lucky and avoided paying the bus fare, it also stretched to a ‘sweet treat’. During this time I became more involved at the Methodist Church, now capably led by Deaconess Dorothy Clarke (not related to the St Aidan’s minister!). As well as leading services and Sunday School, she introduced family activities as fundraisers. This included concerts and ‘beetle drives’.
    My memory of people at Newborough East during the five years we lived at 21 Childers St. are very hazy, not the people, the names. Names I do recall are David Garrett, Michael Meanie and David Green. They were relatively happy years and came to an end when we moved to 11 Fairfield Avenue, Yallourn – next door to the Lock’s and the Welfare’s and just up the road from Murray French.

    This move was possible because the SEC, as a very responsible employer, continued to employ Dad not as a carpenter but in a position at the Briquette Factory canteen. He worked there until his retirement at age 65. My parents settled in well to Yallourn and in particular, enjoyed some success at the Yallourn Bowling Club, both winning club singles championships and other titles during their bowling careers.

    Moving to Yallourn made a great deal of difference in terms of getting around. Newborough East did not have the facilities it now enjoys so Moe or Yallourn were the options for shopping trips and both required bus transport. A relatively short walk along Fairfield Avenue brought us into the town square and a fairly good range of shops. As well the theatre, the library and all the churches were very close. It was also a relatively short walk to YHS and on most days I went home for lunch.
    I was allocated to Form 3A, meaning (I think) the “top” group! I soon made good friends with Aidan Bottomley and Robert Morrison. Other members of the class I remember well were Robert Adams, David Wallace, Graeme Edwards, Pam Adams, Linda Milne and Kathryn Kyzlinsky. Aidan was never a well boy, having had a heart condition from birth. Both Aidan and I left after Form 4, Aidan to work as a clerk with the SEC and me to join the staff of the National Bank. However, Aidan’s health was always a problem and he died in 1960. I do know that he
    had a very agile mind and always beat me at chess. I visited his parents several times after his death and they were understandably heartbroken at the loss of their only son. Robert Morrison (a name change by deed poll in 1957) was academic by nature and I do not remember him playing sport at all. He was a great help to both Aidan and myself when we struggled with our studies. Sadly, I have not had regular contact with any of the others since leaving school after Form 4.

    I do have some good memories of the two years I spent at Yallourn High School, a highlight being the day in 1956 when we went by train to the MCG for the Olympic Games. In particular, we saw Betty Cuthbert win the 200 metres, Hec Hogan in the 4 x 100 metres relay and in the decathlon, Bob Richards of the USA competing in the pole vault event. What a different scene now at the MCG – no hard wooden seats and I am sure you had a better view from the old Olympic stand than is possible from the new stands.
    Soon after Term 1 started in 1956, rehearsals began for Yeomen of the Guard and I took my place as one of the peerless yeomen. That year, we performed at the Morwell Town Hall. The next year it was The Mikado and other productions followed. Thank you Graham Bartle, Val Pyers and others on staff for a great introduction to the theatre and the world of Gilbert and Sullivan.
    My sporting ventures were mainly in tennis and bat tennis and I also enjoyed playing the mini golf course constructed in the school grounds. Another sport I enjoyed briefly was hockey. I think this was as a result of a brief visit to Yallourn by the Indian team (world champions and in Melbourne for the Olympic Games) a number of us boys decided to have a go. The day came when Mr Nicholls allowed the boys to play the girls. The match ended in a draw (no goals!) with one incident resulting in a lecture from Mr Nicholls. He had awarded the girls a penalty corner and the boys decided to charge noisily out of the goal area. Mr Nicholls regarded that as not in the spirit of hockey!
    I would regard myself as having been an average student, resulting in my decision to leave school after Form 4. Looking back on my YHS academic experiences, probably the standout is Mr George Ellis, the headmaster who took 4A for maths. Somehow I passed at the end of the year. My life after school has been in banking, commercial work and 25 years of teaching Accounting in the TAFE system. If only boys had been welcome in the commercial stream at YHS, I may have discovered earlier that I had a flair for accounting.
    Soon after arriving in Yallourn, I became part of the Methodist Church family and developed there some strong friendships, one in particular being with Arthur Poole with whom I am still in contact. The minister then was Rev Ralph Beckett who, with his wife Vera, carried out a very effective ministry caring for church members and many in the wider community. Mr Beckett was for several years a member of the YHS Advisory Committee. His next posting was to a church in Ballarat and I was fortunate again to come under the Beckett’s care and to share with them
    Jack & Hilda Blythe with Eddie, David & Peter outside No 11 Fairfield Ave
    and their four children. In about 1975, the Beckett’s retired to Bentleigh. Ralph died after a long illness in 1979, however Vera (at 93) continues to live independently in Railway Crescent (with her cat). Whenever I call, I get a very warm welcome and we always reminisce (among other things) about our days in Yallourn. If you were part of the Yallourn Methodist Church, I assure you Vera will remember you, so call in and have a great chat.
    After 30 years living in Greensborough, my wife, Iris and I have retired to a new home in Maddingley (part of Bacchus Marsh) and feel quite settled. Although I only lived in Newborough East for five years and Yallourn for three years, these towns were very important in preparing for the future. It has really been a good life, with more to come!

    19/01/2019 - 12:04
  • 32751

    In the Clermont Community & Business Group April 2013 Newsletter, the member profile was written about Olga Dunn (Tabaczynski) YHS 1958 and here is an excerpt: Olga was born in Germany of Ukrainian parents and came by boat to Australia in 1949 as displaced people after the war. Her father built their home in Yallourn North Victoria, which was like ‘little Europe’ with all the immigrants. Olga has two sisters and a brother and she is a member of the Yallourn Old Girls’ Association (YOGA). Olga started YHS in 1958. She and Barry married in 1966 ‘my ballroom dancing boilermaker’, who worked in the Yallourn & Loy Yang Power stations for 38 years. They had a son and daughter and had to leave Yallourn after 4 years, as it was dug up for the coal; then to Morwell, until moving to Clermont in 2000. From the age of 17, Olga worked at various jobs including office jobs, bakeries, toy shop, State Electricity Commission of Victoria, Mystery Shopper, Bessemer cookware manager (5 years) Kelly Bros Electrical & Furniture, Hoover Australia as a demonstrator in whitegoods, Retravision and Warehouse Sales in Traralgon until 1999 when they both retired. They travelled all over Australia and stayed for 7 months in Clermont, two years in a row, at the Caravan Park. They loved the park, met a lot of people and enjoyed the company. In 2002, during their third year of detecting, they bought Clermont Detectors from Graeme Pepper. They loved the tourism, the people, the discovery and the history of the gold

    19/01/2019 - 12:01
  • 32750

    Memories of a Junior Postie in Yallourn in mid-1960s…Neil Crawley (great grandson of Yallourn’s Dad/Pop Brewer)
    I finished Grade 4 at Yallourn Primary (although the first year was held at the High School in a room near Strzelecki Road) and then shifted to Morwell, but came back a few years later and worked at Yallourn Post Office in my first ever job, soon after decimal currency came in.
    My Junior Postal Officer (JPO) duties included telegrams, collecting mail from roadside boxes, collecting money from public telephones, riding a bike to Hernes Oak to either carry out house deliveries or on alternate weeks, deliver and pick up mail bags to the Hernes Oak Store. I did meet a lot of people in the course of a day.
    The only dislike duty with the PMG was having to polish the brass door furniture and PO Box locks and hinges each Monday morning. My hands were a greeny black for days afterward. The other drawback was Amos Woods, who would stop and talk whilst blowing cigar smoke all over me while I worked.
    I actually had to do a Post Office entrance exam to get the position and this was held in the Library at Yallourn one afternoon....the standard can’t have been too high because I top scored for Gippsland. I was never a scholar and couldn’t wait to get out of school, however did forensics and other Uni courses later in life with good results.
    I never reached the exulted heights of Postman....that was the next step....I was a Junior Postal Officer (JPO) which was really an apprentice dogsbody...there were two of us and the posties were, from memory, Lindsay Metcalfe and the Senior Postie ?? Ryan. From there it was Postal Officer (Clerk) Jim Evans (he had a mini...grey...that he used to scoot around in). Another fellow called Vic Wilde worked there for a while...he had an FJ Holden with wide wheels....most impressive and he was sort of a Fonzie that all the girls chased. I never had that problem back then! There was the Snr Postal Officer who was I think an Oliver. The Postmaster was Ross Cook, a single ‘old bloke’ probably at least 40+. I was 15 at the time so anyone over 25 was over the hill. Mr Cook, as he was addressed, lived in the residence above and he came from Millicent in S.A. to take up the position.
    My salary was about $36 a fortnight and out of this I paid 23 cents each way on the bus from and to Morwell. After getting to know the drivers, they would get me to sit behind them without paying and if they saw an inspector at a stop ahead, they would slip me a ticket around the drivers’ seat. The bus went through Hernes Oak and then around past the hospital until it was closed. I used to travel with a trainee nurse (her surname was Strong and I thought she was lovely). The 23 cents bus fare was a lot out of my pay given that I had to pay a fair bit of board. Any saving was like winning Tatts. The funny thing was that although our PMG uniforms were supplied, the shoes weren’t. We were allowed to purchase shoes or boots and the PMG would then reimburse the amount. Here was I getting $36 per fortnight and my father would ensure I bought Julius Marlowe shoes with fancy soles and, in due course, I would get a cheque for the purchase price of $100.
    One week I would start at 8am and finish at 4pm - Monday-Friday. My duties that week were to sort the Hernes Oak mail, ride out on the bike and deliver it and the Hernes Oak PO mail bags in the morning. General PO duties after that until 1pm when I would again ride to Hernes Oak and pick up the mail bags from the PO in time for them to go out in the afternoon mail from Yallourn. I think we used to deliver the bags to one of the buses which would then take them to the train at Moe or Morwell. The next week I was 9am–5pm and would be telegram boy, street box pickup, telephone clean & collect and general go-fer at the PO, also make up and deliver the mail bags to the bus. Quite often we would have a telegram for Hernes Oak or somewhere like Hazelwood Cres; deliver it and when we got back to the PO, there would be another for the same place or nearby. The saddest part of my duties was delivering telegrams informing families of the death of a son in Vietnam. I knew what was in the telegram having removed it from the teleprinter and having to check that it had printed legibly; then the Postal Clerk would record it and seal it in the envelope. We weren’t allowed to divulge any contents under the Official Secrets Act and on occasions, had to deliver messages to widows who lived on their own. This happened at Hernes Oak one day and I first went to a lady next door and told her what I was delivering. She went in to visit the lady and I went around the block and came back and delivered the telegram after she had entered the house. (The widow’s name was Munday or Mundy and her son had been killed
    in action). We all felt really terrible delivering KIA & MIA messages and used to worry about the family a lot. After I started telling neighbours, I was always worried about Commonwealth Police arriving and arresting me. I quite often had to wash the money from a public phone outside the shop in Heather Grove....someone used to tip beer in the coin slot (I hope it was fresh beer...sometimes it was recycled beer) and it used to gum up the machine and the money was glued together. When clearing the phone boxes of money, we had to take disinfectant and clean them as well as the windows. People used to also put something up the coin return chute so peoples’ money wouldn’t be refunded when the number dialled wasn’t answered. They would come back after a while and see what they could collect by removing the obstruction. All sorts of things used to be placed in street letter boxes as well. As a check on us, the Postmaster would sometimes also post a Test Card addressed to himself and it listed the time & date it was posted. This was to ensure we didn’t skip a box because we were tired or it was raining.

    It was a good job and kept us fit riding those armoured Malvern Stars around. The steel carrier at the front made them so much heavier. A lot of the older residents used to give presents at Christmas to the two of us and also the Posties used to do alright as well. Dogs had a habit of chasing us and we quite often came off second best if we couldn’t avoid them. During the time I worked with the PMG, my cousin worked part time with the SEC at Yallourn during his school holidays. We used to meet at the Yallourn Hotel one day a week for a counter lunch. I was 15 and fairly tall for my age and he was 17 and also tall. We were fairly conscious that the police would kick our bums - and our fathers would do worse when the coppers informed them of our antics. I would park my PMG bike around the back along with the SEC bike my cousin rode from the works. We would then enter through the back door to the Bar and order our counter lunch along with a beer & lime juice each. We always sat at the back of the Bar so we could slip out the back door if the police came in through the front. A few years later at Mornington, I came across a policeman named Pat MacKivor who had been stationed at Yallourn during that time. He had been an acquaintance of my father’s who had played cricket with him and also knew my great grandfather ‘Dad” Brewer as Pat had been a handy footballer for the Yallourn team. Pat, when reminiscing about Yallourn, told me about these two underage kids who used to have a counter lunch at the Yallourn Pub, leave their bikes out the back.... and one of them even worked at the Post Office !!! He indicated that he and his mate thought on a number of occasions about taking the bikes back to the station and see how we explained their loss to both the police and our respective bosses. I was not surprised later when I went to the Mornington Station for my Driving Test...Pat told me it was about time I got a licence seeing as I had been driving for at least twelve months!!

    19/01/2019 - 12:01
  • 32749

    Judith Jerome (Andrew ) YHS 1938 - was born in 1926, the oldest daughter of Dr James Moore Andrew and nurse Catherine Dorothy Mawson. She was raised in the town of Yallourn with her sister Margaret Noel and brother David Bradbury. Judith attended Yallourn Primary School and then Yallourn High School until she went to school in Melbourne as a boarder for forms four and five. After her schooling, Judith entered her nurse training at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. She completed her general nursing in 1948 and continued her studies to become a midwife and infant welfare sister. As children of the first doctor of a growing township, Judith and her sister and brother shared their childhood and home-cum-doctors clinic with a diverse cultural and economic section of the community. Their home was a welcoming environment, in both a social and caring capacity and it was not unusual to have visitors at all hours of the day and night. Judith shared recollections with her own family, of her father responding to midnight medical calls, medical and social visitors, orchestral recitals, regular Sunday night evening diners and ‘live-in’ guests. Judith’s chosen nursing profession reflects her background and her own caring nature. The family’s strong involvement in the scouting and guiding movement meant Judith experienced numerous overnight hiking and camping expeditions to the Victorian High Plains, sometimes as a family but often with a group of Rover scouts. Weekend picnics to Tara Bulga National Park, Mt Erica and surrounding places in their 29 Willy Knight Model 70A Ford further developed her enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoors. The family could be gone from dawn to dusk exploring their destinations. For Judith with her stoic upbringing, learning to swim in the sometimes swollen Latrobe River was no challenge. The last time she showed off her breast stroke skills was to her family in the Ovens River at their 2005 Christmas camping holiday. Prior to marrying, Judith explored further afield and undertook a working holiday in England. In 1952 she married Keith Jerome, an ex-serviceman graduate from Creswick Forestry School. This was the start of a busy and full-filling life of wife and mother to five children, Catherine, Richard, Susanne, Helen and Carolyn. Her own family life was also to be one of outdoor experiences and adventures. As a family they were involved in the outdoors with bi-annual trips to Eden for holidays on the then remote North Head of Twofold Bay: a very Spartan existence. In Keith’s retirement Judith and Keith made epic journeys throughout Australia camping in a self-converted Hi-Ace van, no 4WD, only bicycles to get them in or out of trouble as the case may be. Living in Cann River, Erica, Yarrawonga, Nathalia, Taggerty and Maryborough totalled five shifts of family and belongings and settling into new friendships and communities. It was at Maryborough with only one child at home that Judith was fully able to pursue her interest and involvement in community. She focused on membership of, and supporting less fortunate groups and individuals particularly those involving children. Judith maintained her Yallourn links by being an active member of Yallourn Old Girls Association (YOGA). She and Keith looked forward to their annual YOGA weekends. It was after these trips that the family heard more about the ‘Yallourn days’ and have been able to progressively build a picture of life in this unique SEC township. As attributed to Judith in the Old Gippstown Heritage Park news following her death ‘Judith will be remembered by future generations through the many photographs and artefacts in the Andrew’s collection in the Yallourn House at Old Gippstown. Her visits to’ and requests from ‘Old Gippstown, were instrumental in identifying many items pertaining to this highly significant collection,’ which devolved more stories about her ‘early years as a daughter of the first medical practitioner at the Yallourn township.’ Judith passed away peacefully at Maryborough on 1st July 2013 with all her family able to be with her. A private service was held in Maryborough. This was Judith’s wish, from someone who was a quiet giver to her family and community

    19/01/2019 - 11:59
  • 32748

    Helen Fischer (Hender) YHS 1967 (equiv): Jenny Foster and I first met at Kindergarten in 1960. We both have vivid memories of being put on the "Kinder Bus" by ourselves and waving nervously back to our mothers through the bus window!!! Jenny still remembers clinging to her mother’s leg, not wanting to get on the bus. I witnessed nearly everyone going through this as I got on at Railway Avenue and the bus travelled all around Yallourn picking up the kids. I loved the bus trip after a while. We were friends at Yallourn State School up until the end of grade 5 (1965). I can still remember the afternoon assembly in December 1965 where all the kids had to line up in to their new grades for next year and to find out who your teacher was going to be. Jenny and I were told to go and stand on the side as we were going to different schools the next year. We just stood there together feeling sad and dejected as we would not see each other anymore nor the friends we grew up with. I never settled properly in to my new schools and Jenny didn't either. After numerous attempts to try and scan my primary school photos to Julie for the Yallourn website (they kept going off somewhere in my computer where I couldn't find them - me being a real computer whizz - "NOT"). When they were finally done I was telling my friends about the website and showing them the old photos. One friend said "I bet you can name all the kids in this photo". I started with Jenny Foster, me and my other friend piped up and said "that is my cousin". I didn't believe her and she repeated her cousins name is Jenny Foster! I showed her the photo and said to pick out which one she was and she chose Jenny straight away. I couldn't believe she had not told me this before as she knew I was born and bred in Yallourn - her excuse being she never connected the two before!! Well you can imagine how excited I was!!! Meredith rang Jenny that night and said do you remember going to school with a Helen Hender and she said yes!!!! We have been emailing each other and finally caught up in May 2013 after last seeing each other "48" years ago!!!! We both recognised each other instantly. The first thing Jenny said was "you haven't got dark hair anymore" and I replied "you haven't either"!! We had a great afternoon catching up and could not believe how similar our lives have been. Jenny's father was the "Mr Foster" who taught at Yallourn State School - I bet you all remember him as he was always so friendly and smiling!!! I am hoping Jenny is coming to the next Yallourn reunion in March at Woorabinda to catch up with other YPS kids from our era, such as Libby Langdon, Gayle Malpass, Kerry Setches, Sue Barnard, Pam Robertson, Carol Moffat and Robyn Byrne, just to name a few.

    (Photo attached)

    19/01/2019 - 11:58
  • 32747

    PATRIOTISM, SQUARE PEGS AND ROUND HOLES - Yallourn High School in the 1950s and 1960s by Stefan Tomasz YHS 1957
    (Photo attached)
    There were two contributions to the June 2007 edition of the YOGA Newsletter which caught my eye back then. One was from John Lewis, the other from John Goold. While both of them were 2-3 years ahead of me at Primary and Secondary school, their reflections resonated. Not surprisingly, they were about their remembrances of our beloved Yallourn High and it got me to thinking about my own time there between 1957 and 1963. Firstly there were John Goold’s remembrances of the lining up, marching to British Imperial army music (and probably some of Souza as well), flag waving, saluting the flag and the general martial air of it all, was much as I remember it. However, for years I always thought we said: I love God and my country, I honour the flag I serve the Queen (as it was by then) And cheerfully obey my parents, teachers and the laws As John would have it, the serving bit for the Queen came before the flag bit, though I remember it the other way round. What I do remember is we raced over the last line about the “cheerfully obeying”, especially when it came to the “teachers” bit! Whether parroting off this stuff and reference to other remnants of empire made us more patriotic is a moot point. As John pointed out, it was a different era. We were only a few years removed from World War 2. There were numbers of young men wearing their old army great coats to work, going down to the rifle range on Saturday afternoon to shoot 303s and plenty of homes with war souvenirs – old shells, and, in some cases, weaponry. There was the CMF and the scare that we would be taken over by the Communists – whoever they were! A more poignant memory was Mr Bryson, my Grade 5/6 teacher, who from time to time, turned a pale yellow from malaria he suffered on the Kadoka Trail (“Track” as it is currently called) in WW 2. Most of us from this era will remember the Coronation and later, the visit of the Queen and Prince Phillip to Yallourn. At school, for the Coronation, we seemed to spend weeks looking at the regalia – the orb, the sceptre, the crown, and the carriage – all presented in miniature to impress upon us the importance of the event. Later, in 1954, the whole of Yallourn was turned into red, white and blue. There was bunting, arches, the flood-lit (red, white and blue lights) metal fountains opposite the Yallourn Library and hosts of flags – as many Union Jacks as Australian – on every significant building in town. Unlike most of my school friends, my family and friends decided to go to the Herne’s Oak siding to catch a view of the Queen, on her train, in her blue carriage, while it was being shunted from the main line to the Yallourn branch. We put up a large canvass sign welcoming her and waited for hours. She did wave to us, but whether anyone would bother doing all this today, I doubt. As John mentioned, those were jingoistic days and it is perhaps just as well we have outgrown this type of “For God, King and Country” mentality. The other John touched upon another, perhaps more important issue, one I have not seen much reference to over the years. He asked, if I have read him correctly, just how good, academically, was Yallourn High School?
    Picture Theatre dressed up for the Queen’s Visit - 1954
    He questioned the whole concept of Streaming. He writes that this approach made decisions about a person’s ability and future school/career choices far too early in life - leading to the “square peg in the round hole” notion. However, he goes one step beyond this to take on a sacred cow. That is, to question just what was the quality of education we received at our school? Based upon his perception of the results of the 1959 Matriculation scores, he is in no doubt - describing it as a “disaster”. Apart from the problem caused by streaming, he argues that too much emphasis was placed on maths and science and there was a laid back attitude of students themselves – referring here mainly to boys. The problem for many of us who attended good old YHS is that we look at our years there through rose-coloured glasses. It is only natural we remember the good times and forget the bad. When I hear people talk about the “good old days” of education, I certainly do not see a golden era.

    What I remember is Grade 1, in 1951, spent with some 30 other urchins in the meeting room of the Herne’s Oak Hall. The only things that stick in my mind were the appalling toilets and that for many lunch times there were fully-fledged stone-throwing fights, using the rubbish bin lids for shields, without a teacher to be seen. It is a small miracle that not one kid seems to have come to serious grief. Thence to Grade 2, at Yallourn Primary 4085, an asphalt jungle for kids in 1952, in an army hut along Banksia Avenue. By 1953 into Grade 3 in the Presbyterian Church hall (red, corrugated tin, dirty), Grade 4 in the Bristols (igloos in winter and glass houses in summer) Grade 5 and 6 – eventually in a “proper” classroom (with over 50 kids) near the “Office” and Mr Walton with his green V8 Ford Pilot. Then, gloriously, in 1957, after the “streaming tests” off to YHS a proper school with uniform and all, only to start all over again in the army huts near the pine trees, and to one side of the big quadrangle, and the Bristols near the tennis courts. This was NO golden era! On top of this I seem to remember, certainly at High School, teacher shortages that meant for weeks we were on a “Temporary Timetable”. At the time, apart from some notable exceptions, we had some very indifferent teaching. I don’t blame the teachers per se, for they did their best, were struggling with large classes, were quite often young and/or inexperienced, living away from home in either the Guest Houses in Fairfield Avenue or the back of the Library (that could not have been much fun either) with next to no equipment and, I suspect, pretty indifferent pay. One might ask, how much has changed for teachers in country towns? The surprising thing, I suppose, is that our school is able to boast so many successful alumni. The teachers, engineers, doctors, nurses, armed forces officers, models, self-made business people and lots of other success stories come readily to mind. However, one also wonders what more people could have made of their education if so many had not been syphoned off before they got anywhere near Year 12? How many left in that period of the late 1950s and early 1960s because one could, relatively easily, get a job? In those days of expanding labour markets and the concept of “start as the office boy/typist and work up to Managing Director”, one did not need much beyond Year 10 or 11 to make a start. Then, with electricity production and associated capital works in the hands of the government, the Valley was a prosperous. One could start by slapping paint on steel work at Hazelwood and, after a few years, call oneself a painter. Or, one could get hold of an old Bedford truck, turn it into a timber-jinker and feed Maryvale with all the wood cut from the nearby rain forests – and make a good quid at the same time.

    Only those who thought they might need to go on to university, stayed until Matriculation. Quite frankly, without going through all the old Pylons and working out, from any given cohort, how many started in Year 7, finished up with Matriculation, and higher, I really don’t know, (based on the benchmark of Matriculation) how good our school was academically. Not much accountability and transparency around in those days! Certainly, based upon John Lewis’s experiences, the performances were not so good. I am inclined to agree – based upon two anecdotal insights. The first relates to my own experience. While I do not remember streaming as a factor in primary school, certainly by the time I got to Matriculation in 1962, there were only a handful of the YPS kids from 1952, Grade 2, left. Sure there were other kids – survivors too, from Newborough and Yallourn North, but the YPS surviving contingent, given that there were 56 of us in Year 6, was small. Not only that, but the Commonwealth Scholarships won by our group, were few in number and a couple of these were by kids from Newborough! Any number of factors could explain this indifferent performance.

    Secondly, the culture of streaming was well and truly embedded and hard to break. It used to be said that 4A was for Academic, 4B Basic, 4C Commercial and 4D Domestic (also cruelly said to be “deadheads”). It was expected that ONLY 4A would move on to Leaving, eventually to Matriculation, while the rest should leave and take a job. At this point in time, a fellow classmate of mine (and those of you who know him, will know him by what I am going to say) was told by one of our famous ex-maths teachers that he could not go into 4A because he was not “good enough in maths.” His mother would not accept this and insisted he be in 4A. Well, of course, his mother was right. The boy in question not only passed Matriculation and did engineering at Melbourne University, but worked on the drilling rigs in Bass Strait, was employed for years, living and working in Indonesia, in the oil industry, by a large US firm. If income is any judge of success, he told me, at one stage in his career, he could not afford to come and live in Australia because no one could offer him the money he was making overseas! So, just how good was the school in this era? I have already declared my hand by saying I don’t really know, but I have my doubts it was a good as it could have been. John noted in his June 2007 article: There was minimal (if any) career guidance for students at YHS in those days, and although those who failed so miserably in their final year must take some responsibility for the outcome, the fault was not entirely their own making. I think John is being too hard on himself. Despite the rose-coloured glasses I mentioned earlier, I don’t think our school had an academic ethos - at least, not in my time. There was no need for one. MOST of us left before Year 12 and those who stayed did so, in many instances, because they had to. Further, for those of us who did stay, as John has noted, the degree of subject choice was limited. I happened to take the “literary” stream because I found maths hard and words easy. BUT, to get into Melbourne University (or to be considered) I had to do French. I know Jim Dooley won’t mind me saying this (at one reunion he did say: “Stefan, you old bastard, good to see you again!”) that to be taught French, by a young bloke not long out of college, with no obvious French verbal language skills, was a big ask for both teacher and learner. No wonder, for me, learning 50 lines of French poetry and doing “conversation” with Professor Barco when he came to do the Orals, was one of the hardest damn things I have had to do. While the modicum of French has proved to be extremely useful to me over the years, at the time, I would have liked to have done Economics, Accounting or some other kind of more “useful” subject. These were not on offer and while I enjoyed History, Geography and English, these subjects were also a limiting factor for both future choice of career and how well I performed at university later. The saving grace for our school was the strong music tradition dating back to the Bartle era and thence through Pyers, Dooley and many others. Sadly, many of our teachers of this era are no longer with us, though I did chat with Rup Harrison a few weeks ago who was in ripe old age.

    However, it is appropriate to recognise that while there might be some misgivings about the academic performance of the school as measured by the confines of success at Matriculation, there would be few people who would argue that the cultural enrichment provided by Val, Jim and others was a huge compensation we were very fortunate to have experienced. I still have that heavy clunky bit of LP record called “Music Theatre – 19 Songs” Yallourn High School Choir Conductor: Val J Pyers. When I feel like a bit of nostalgia, including hearing Johnny Udowenko shout the last note on one of the songs, (sorry John, they said it was you!), it is only as far away as a spin on my ancient turn table. Odd to think that we did all that recording on one cold night over in Morwell and it still sounds so good – at least to my ears.

    19/01/2019 - 11:57
  • 32746

    Sonja Bates (Ostlund), YHS 1943, an original member, life member and committee member of Yallourn Old Girls’ Association.
    Sonja grew up in Yallourn, attending Yallourn Primary and then High School, and later became a librarian working at Yallourn Library.
    She was a very active sports woman, playing netball, was an umpire, tennis, table tennis, golf, then moved to Morwell where their family grew up. Sonja & George enjoyed social activities, also travelling which took them to many parts of the world.
    Sonja belonged to a number of clubs, Probus, Yallourn Old Girls’ Assoc, Raiweena, Jazz, Orana, Sporting clubs. She was a good church member and will be greatly missed for her very bright cheerfulness, especially during her fight with illness.”
    Mavis McAllister (Webb) YHS 1940 continued…”There are many members of YOGA who would have been involved with Sonja much closer than myself. With me, it was through Youth Club Basketball, which was played on the ovals behind the Yallourn Tennis Club courts, and being so near, we were soon involved with the Tennis Club, where Sonja was one of the top players. Then there was St John’s Church of England, the centre for spiritual as well as social activities - both our families were involved there.
    Thanks to the formation of YOGA in 1976, our friendship was rekindled. During these years, Sonja’s contribution as an active committee member, her knowledge of early days of Yallourn and the history of Yallourn through the SEC proved invaluable. When Sonja moved to Newborough, just down the street from me, we shared another part of friendship. Church at St Aidan’s, lawn bowling, social outings, drop-in cuppas, YOGA meetings and get-togethers, Yallourn memories around the kitchen table, Orana Club, Newborough Probus Club etc.
    During her illness, I was able to provide the hand of friendship to a very special lady and friend (as she had done to so many others). Thank you Sonja and may you rest in peace.

    (Photo attached)

    19/01/2019 - 11:55
  • 32745

    Now that I’ve got your attention – have you ever had that sinking feeling? Yes; me too. My latest stomach lurch was brought about by an oh-so-friendly reminder from our hard-working Secretary that my oft-promised contribution about early Newborough days had never quite seen the light of day. In desperation (and no little guilt), I dusted off a “draft” and tarted it up a tad. Better late than never, they say : things can only improve.
    Picture the scene: a grey rainy 1950 mid-September day at Port Melbourne. Included among the somewhat bewildered passengers disembarking from the migrant ship “New Australia” were my dear mum (Gladys) and dad (Reg), sister (Norma) and yours truly, a highly curious ten (but nearly eleven) year old.
    My earliest memory of life in Australia, apart from the dreary day, was going through the arrival formalities, cavernous shed, tables, probably bored officials. My dad, a smoker in those days (it was 1950 after all) was, consistent with the understood practice, bringing in the allowable limit of ciggies for two adults, himself and my mum, a non-smoker. The Customs bloke confirmed the allowance for the two of them and then, because I’m always helpful, I called out in my loudest ten year old voice “But mum you don’t smoke.” I think the Customs bloke gave my dad a look that said something along the lines of “What a dill of a kid! (Re dill comment, see previous reference to 1950) - and waved us on.
    Thoroughly chastened, I boarded a grey SEC bus with the rest of the family and some other disembarking passengers who were also bound for the Valley (although none of this meant anything to me at the time). We drove through the rain, mist and Melbourne suburbia – ah how familiar it was all to become – on through Dandenong and into the green Gippsland countryside.
    We were taken straight to a hostel, in Morwell I think it was, given a meal and then back on board the bus to be dropped off at our respective houses.

    (Photo attached)

    We then drove to East Newborough (in those very early days there was a few core streets in East Newborough plus “old” Newborough – North Newborough started shortly afterwards – nowadays of course it is all Newborough – good thing too). I think there was some surprise when we arrived on a dull, wet and muddy September afternoon to see a raw construction area with some recently completed and occupied houses, some very new and unoccupied houses (filled by our bus load), no fences, mud roads and a dunny (I’d never heard the word before) in a woodshed out the back of each house. None of this bothered me at all, although I suspect it mattered to some of the adults. I can also recall that a kind family, formerly my mum’s pen friends, the Magnussens from Morwell, had placed flowers and prepared afternoon tea in our Delburn Street house. I can also recall there was some concern when a lady from the estate welcoming committee fell through the floor boards on our uncompleted front porch. Fortunately she wasn’t injured and, equally fortunately, there was one of the SEC “heavies” present at the time; consequently the porch was completed the next day. I believe now (although at the time I wouldn’t have cared anyway) that some folk on the buses had thought they were bound for the then comparatively picture post red brick model town of Yallourn! “Life’s full of surprises.”
    The countryside between Newborough and Yallourn was, in those early days, covered in bush. There was a tent camp near the creek opposite Newborough Road, along with a few basic
    Norma & Reg outside 7 Delburn St, Newborough - 1951
    timber and iron buildings and a small camp shop. East Newborough shops came later. Milk was initially delivered to a billy can. My mum and dad bought an ice chest; the Kelvinator came later. Anglican Church services were held in a marquee on Old Sale Road under the dedicated stewardship of Deaconess James. The Rev. Clarke from England took over, later followed by the energetic and popular Rev. Bill Frawley, who subsequently came to prominence as the Chaplain at Pentridge Prison. (My father, who was a carpenter, was a member of the volunteer labour force that built St. Aidan’s Church some time later). There was a construction compound located at the bottom of our street and a nissan-type hut/hall was erected nearby which, over the years, was used for all sorts of functions, including films, concerts, dances and so on. (See later reference to my “Great Raveen” disaster.) Film watching was tricky because the multipurpose hall had a level floor. Additionally, there was also a “picture bus” that used to trundle through the streets of the estate and on to Yallourn Theatre (where there were no level floor issues) and then back to the ‘Borough’ after the show. Fences, road construction, additional drainage and sewerage works plus other community structures including a health centre (which I visited early in the piece for treatment to a spectacular cut on my knee after becoming semi impaled on one of the swings – it’s too complicated to go into details) were all completed in the following couple of years or so. A Scout troop was soon established and we used to meet at a small hall which, from memory, was on Torres Track. I can recall camping for a couple of freezing nights somewhere near Narracan Falls. I also became interested in fishing and used to ride my bike with a couple of other kids to the gorgeous clear waters of the Tanjil – all pre the introduction of the now ubiquitous European carp! Talking of bikes reminds me of a nasty fall off my bike while lairising down Rutherglen Road – but I digress.

    The estate quickly developed a strong sense of community. In those early days there were no wide-bodied aircraft providing large-scale intercontinental travel. No, it was entirely conceivable that migrants leaving the UK (and elsewhere of course) would never see other family members again. I believe this reality, plus the fact that most people were literally starting a new life, encouraged the making of deep and lasting friendships to compensate at least in part for the absence of extended family networks which, in those days, were such a strong part of life back “home.” Remember also, in those days, that families in the UK were much more inclined to live and remain comparatively close to parents and other family members.
    The estate houses were similar in design and appearance. This fact, plus the broad common knowledge of pay and salary conditions at the SEC also, I suspect, contributed to a broad egalitarianism in the community. There were few social tensions. All these comments are offered with the wisdom (if any) of hindsight. I had absolutely no idea at the time.
    One of the first acquisitions my family made following arrival in Australia was a piano (not a new one of course – I suspect that no one we knew had the money for such a luxury). My father was an accomplished pianist and I can recall our house becoming a venue for other musicians, such as an Irish tenor (later, together with his musical family, to become well known in the district), and a Polish violinist. My parents also formed a close-knit group of friends who, in turn, hosted some memorable parties. (I remember returning home from a dance several years later with my great friend Bob Nash to such a party. Following a quick visit (by me at least) to the keg we wowed everyone with our version of “On Moonlight Bay”).
    Reg (dad), Norma & Reg having an ice cream at Camp Shop 1951
    My time at YHS started late September 1950 and finished end school year 1954. It was at first a tough gig. Fresh from being a top dog in Primary School in the Greater Manchester area and then as still a ten year old into a High School class not only half way around the world but also approaching the end of first year took some adjustment. The couple of months until end of 1950 school year became an interregnum before formally starting high school in 1951. Interestingly (to me anyway) I have since come to realize that even though I stayed “down” in order to start in 1951 I think I was maybe still the youngest kid in the whole year group. Somehow or other, perhaps due to the difference in northern/southern hemisphere school commencement dates, I think I missed some schooling. (No wonder I didn’t like maths).

    I should also mention that my sister, Norma, also started at Yallourn High at the same time. While attending YHS, Norma met Alan Marr who, I think at the time was Head Prefect. Norma and Alan were married at St John’s, Yallourn in June 1956. (They had a guard of honour of local Newborough girl guides). Not all readers who knew Alan may be aware that in December 1977, he suffered a very serious accident on a building re-development site in Canberra. Alan never fully recovered. He died in Merimbula in August 1990. Norma now lives near her daughter a few kilometres from Caloundra. I also noticed a recent obituary notice in the Newsletter to Alan’s sister, Mavis. Through Alan I knew Mavis and other members of the Marr family – although contacts were few over recent years. Mavis died in Canberra where she had lived for a long time.
    After coming to terms with a new school environment, I eventually started to quite like High School. Class mates and other kids were pretty much like kids anywhere, I expect, and ditto the teachers, although perhaps one or two of them thought we migrant kids were from Mars (bear in mind that in the early 1950’s it’s unlikely that many of the teachers would have travelled much). I participated in most sports with great enthusiasm and limited ability. I formed the view (and I was not alone) that Yallourn High School girls were the best-looking girls anywhere. [The Editor agrees with this!!] I went to school socials and danced like a block of wood. In those early days, Newborough kids had to find a way to get home from Yallourn – walking over Coach Road hill was not unknown. Dancing skills improved following an interesting visit to a dance class in Morwell. During all this time I would chat away nineteen to the dozen to girls I regarded as friends or “my mates”. When it came to girls I really “liked” however, I had barely a word to say – pathetic really.
    High school years had a certain rhythm. Cricket and swimming early in the year; football in the winter (we migrant kids mostly played soccer football); athletics in the autumn (I can remember my mum asking why I had soil in the turn ups of my new school long pants – the answer, of course, was because I had been practising long jumping at lunch time.) Winter time would also see the senior boys splitting firewood and junior boys carrying the wood to boxes outside the class rooms. (I doubt you’d ever see anything like that these days). High school retention figures were much lower then and, against my mum’s wishes, I left YHS at the end of Form 4 (Dec 1954 – I had recently turned 15). (In the 1970’s, I completed several Higher School Certificate subjects and then slogged my way part time through University, but that’s another story). I find it sad these days to hear about violence and bullying in so many of our schools. I can only vaguely remember witnessing one incident the whole time I was there. In fact, particularly in
    YHS 1954 Form 4B Boys - from L-R: Back - David Baldock, John Jell, Derek Harris, Bob Nash, Reg Penkethman, Peter Butcher Front: Garry Grant, Frank Jewell, John Quinlivan
    Reg & Bob Nash - 1954 Taken at YHS (still good mates)
    Form 4, the boys all seemed either friendly acquaintances or really good friends.
    Before moving on from school days I’ll recount just one more little personal disaster. I have previously mentioned that my father was an accomplished pianist. Well, dad agreed to lead a three piece combo to play at an end of ’54 school dance to be held at the school. The combo was to consist of my dad on piano, class mate Derek Harris on piano accordion and a drummer (an edgy group obviously). To cut straight to the chase, I turned out to be the drummer. It did not go well. A really great friend of mine, if not feeling too well, will occasionally lift his spirits by telephoning to remind me of this and other shortcomings.

    AFTER SCHOOL The next two years or so saw employment as a Junior Clerk at the ever present SEC. Highlights there included a stint at the Power Station timekeeping office deep in the bowels of the power station complex. It was always possible to leave the office to chase up attendance record “time sheets” and I always found the old boiler houses and the long, sparkling-clean turbine room interesting. I marvelled that the turbines bore a brand stamp “Metropolitan Vickers Manchester” meaning that those mighty machines and myself had travelled an almost identical journey to that very turbine room (I guess you had to be there). Lunch times were usually spent playing table tennis and snooker at West Camp.
    Weekends were spent playing sport. At one stage my well-known mate, Bob Nash, and I were so fit that we played underage Australian football on Saturday mornings and senior Latrobe Valley soccer in the afternoons. Newborough won the Under 17 football premiership. We may also have won at least a heat of the unofficial world champion filthy song singing competition on the way home. We later had a pie night. Nashie was awarded the “Best Defender” trophy. I was awarded the “Most Rugged Player” trophy. I believe I received this award because I had a tendency to run into people. Given that we won the premiership, you may appreciate that we did have some really good players. The late John Somerville, who later played for Essendon, is but one who springs to mind.
    While working at the SEC, Bob and I were studying Accountancy at night school. After a while, it became clear that Accountancy was not for us so I must confess that, occasionally, instead of attending Thursday night Accountancy classes at the Tech, we would finish work, go to soccer training, scrounge some food and later head off to the “Valley Dance” at Traralgon. We also greatly enjoyed the dances at Shaw’s in Moe and sometimes the RSL in Morwell - suits and ties in those days. Plenty of opportunities for social disasters such as slipping on polished floors - generally great swing music just ahead of guitar based rock n’roll.
    Round about 1956, one of my more idiotic moments occurred at the hall in East Newborough where I attended a performance of a hypnotist by the name (I think it was) of the Mighty Raveen. Like a fool I volunteered to be one of his “subjects” and for days after that people would point at me, cover their mouths and whisper to their companion/s. My father heard about
    SEC Picnic held at Frankston - Jan 1955 - Reg and Miss Butler. “The girl was from Melb. She approached me and asked if I would partner her in the Siamese race. I had never seen her before - we won!”
    it and I don’t think he was impressed. I still think it was all a bit unfair.
    In March 1956 Bob, who had figured in so many of these stories, and so many not told, left to join the Navy. In November that year I too moved to Melbourne in search of adventure (and I found it!) In October 1957, within a year of my leaving the Valley, my parents moved from East Newborough to Mornington. Consequently from that time onwards at weekends or days off I went home to Mornington, rather than to the Valley, and a whole new chapter began.
    There are many names (and many more stories) that probably could and should be mentioned in this piece. Some of you will know who you are. Thanks for the memories. Any errors are purely innocent!
    PS : Proud Yallourn, the model town, has gone. The vigour and optimism that was an integral part of life in the Newborough estates seems also to have gone. It’s not too late though to wander around and reflect. While you may not hear the lilt of an Irish tenor, or the passionate violin sound of a Polish Mazurka, you just might, particularly if a soft summer breeze is blowing in the right direction, hear the voices of two lusty teenagers still sailing along – on Moonlight Bay.

    19/01/2019 - 11:54
  • 32744

    Lance White YTS 1956 wrote with this small, but significant question which appeared in Albury/Wodonga local paper “The Border Mail” in August 2012:
    Q: Who said, “Knowledge is Power”? Of course this was our motto under the YTS / YTC’s blazer badge which many of us proudly wore.
    A: Sir Francis Bacon ( 1561-1626).
    “We all knew the motto very well, but I wonder how many students knew who this was attributed to or from where it originated. An interesting enough item which many OB’s might appreciate.
    I cannot recall ever being told this - maybe the phrase was coined by an early local student, teacher or someone and this fact is mere coincidence. Food for thought!! (Maybe one for Graham Beanland to help with?)
    Those “ Pylon” issues are great to read. We at the Technical School had “The Current Call” run along the same lines. What great memories they elicit from that wonderful past we shared at Yallourn.”

    19/01/2019 - 11:52