Yallourn - Year by Year - 1934

The first sod in the Victorian Government’s ambitious scheme, to generate electricity at Yallourn, was turned more than a century ago (sometime around 1920); and for the next six decades the township of Yallourn ‘took root, bloomed, withered and died’….

“Yallourn was swallowed by the coal mine it was built to serve”… ‘The Herald Sun’ May 2016.

In this history series for the Virtual Yallourn website, various events in the life of the town and its industries have been chronicled. The monthly activities, shown in each year, are not necessarily the most momentous occasions but simply attempt to show the many varied and interesting happenings that made the local (and sometimes national) news in that era.

The walk down ‘Memory Lane’ (not to be confused with Meadow Lane which ran off Latrobe Avenue) begins in the year of 1925 when the plans for the Yallourn Project were well underway and the ‘garden town’ of Yallourn was creating interest far and wide. This article relates to 1934.

JANUARY:  New Year celebrations in Yallourn   “…1934 was received with a hearty welcome...”  Source: ‘Morwell Advertiser’ January 4th 1934. Page: 9

Sir Robert Gibson (born 1863), the Chairman of the Commonwealth Bank, died in South Yarra on 1st of January 1934. Very few people would appreciate Sir Robert’s association with the town of Yallourn but, in earlier years, he was Victoria’s representative on the Central Coal Board (1916); and, as a member of the SEC, since its founding in 1919, Robert Gibson was vitally concerned with the progress of the Yallourn project…

“He was a member of the State Electricity Commission from its inception and despite the pressure of other duties, public and private; he watched closely the development of Yallourn in which he had great confidence. His experience on the Coal Board during the war had led him to appreciate the need for making Victorian industries independent of possible industrial troubles in another State, and that he regarded as one of the chief functions of Yallourn…” Source:  ‘The Argus’ January 2nd 1934.  Page: 7

Sir Robert Gibson

In an effort to raise funds for improved swimming facilities in Yallourn, a competition entitled ‘Swimming Club Queen Carnival’ was conducted throughout the summer months.  The following extract, from the newspaper in January 1934, showed the progressive voting for the Four Queens (Briquette Factory, Township and Store, Coal Supply and the Power Station).


The eventual winner of the Yallourn Swimming Club Carnival Queen was Win Drummond. Win was one of four Drummond girls; the others being Anne, Dorothy, Kitty and Margaret. This photo of the entrants was published in ‘Yallourn Was’ and shows Win wearing the Carnival Queen’s crown.

Mrs Win Drummond

Caption text: Miss Winnie Drummond, Yallourn Swimming Club Carnival Queen Winner 1934. Source: ‘Yallourn Was’ Page: 73.

Win Drummond and her family were actively involved in many of Yallourn’s organizations. Win was also an enthusiastic member of the tennis and golf clubs; and was a regular contributor/correspondent for ‘The Live Wire.’ In the early years, the Drummond family lived in Green Street. In 1942, Win married Phil Ashmead from Wangaratta. Phil was a sportsman of outstanding ability and represented Yallourn in golf, football, cricket and badminton. Their children Neil and Joan were both born at Yallourn.


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