The following news article was published in the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ some 66 years ago; and centres upon the Annual Christmas Appeal conducted by local radio Station 3TR. The money raised from the Appeal was distributed to the Yallourn Hospital, other local hospitals and the district’s ambulance services. In that era, 3TR’s Christmas Appeal was an important source of income for the hospitals of Gippsland; and it was effective in involving local communities in supporting the work of the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff in the local hospitals.
From reading the newspaper reports of that period, it appears as though the Victorian Broadcasting Network was most successful in raising funds for many Victorian rural hospitals.
The footnotes, which accompany this story, endeavour to give some background information about 3TR and the generosity of the people of Yallourn in assisting ‘worthy causes.’



INSTITUTIONS participating in the 3TR Christmas Day Appeal for Gippsland Hospitals include the Shire of Morwell Hospital, Latrobe Valley and District Ambulance Service, Yallourn Hospital (Latrobe Valley Community Hospital Yallourn), Moe Hospital (formerly Moe Bush Nursing Hospital),Latrobe Valley Community Hospital (proposed Moe Hospital) and Traralgon Hospital Trust.
All that will be necessary will be to ring up on Christmas Day and say "Hospital Appeal". The Latrobe Valley Hospital and Health Services Association number should be contacted for the Morwell Hospital and the Latrobe Valley Ambulance Service and those of Yallourn and Moe hospitals for those institutions.
This press appeal is directed to all those who have had cause to be thankful for the work of the hospitals or Ambulance Service of this Gippsland region of Victoria. If you have known acute anxiety concerning a loved one, brought back to health in one of our hospitals, express your thanks by, a donation to that hospital or ambulance service.
The financial difficulties of hospitals are well known to every citizen, and, of course, varying opinions are held as to whose is the responsibility for finding the necessary money for hospitals to carry on.
In the meantime before the problem is solved, it is the hospitals themselves who carry the strain and worry and, who, at the same time continue their service to the sick and injured of our community.

1. The origins of 3TR can be traced back to 1929 when Frank Berkery founded a small radio station in the Mechanics Hall at Trafalgar. It was originally known as 3FB (i.e. the initials of Frank Berkey)

2. The station began operation under the call sign 3TR sometime in 1931…
“…TRAFALGAR STATION.TRAFALGAR, Wednesday-Official advice has been received that the Government has created Trafalgar and District Radio Club 3FB, a B class professional station. The station will relay wireless programmes from the metropolis to the rest of Gippsland.” Source: ‘The Age’ April 10th 1930. Page: 13

3. The station relocated to Sale in 1932 when it was acquired by the ‘Herald and Weekly Times.’
Note: The station also operated from Traralgon in later years; which may explain a common misconception that ‘TR’ referred to Traralgon.

4. In an article for this website in May 2015, Neil Crawley stated that his Great Grandfather, W.H. ‘Dad’ Brewer, a dynamo in the history of Yallourn sporting clubs, was a Director of 3TR in those early days of local radio.

5. In 1939, 3TR’s new (modern) broadcasting studios were opened in Sale; and it was an important chapter in the history of Gippsland broadcasting…
“…3TR's NEW STUDIOS… Opened by Prime Minister DISTINGUISHED RADIO GATHERING On Saturday night there was a gathering of more than a hundred people at the new 3TR studios, which were officially opened by the Prime Minister (Mr. R. G. Menzies). Although unable to be present in person, the Prime Minister's remarks were recorded in the Melbourne studio of 3TR. The disc was played on the new studio equipment in Sale and this portion of the programme, together with the speeches…” Source: ‘Gippsland Times’ May 1st 1939

6. In the period 1934-39, 3TR was owned by Archibald Gilchrist who was best known as a Western Australian politician and enterprising, perhaps entrepreneurial, businessman. His colourful and eventful life included military service in World War :1, several years as a pastor, librarian and, for a time, Archibald was the sub-editor of the ‘Sunraysia Daily’ newspaper . It is also known, that in the period 1934-39, Mr Gilchrist lived in the USA.

7. The other Gippsland radio stations that Yallourn residents may have listened to in that era were : (i) 3UL (Warragul) which went to air in 1937 and (ii) 3GI (Gippsland – Sale).
Note: 3GI was part of the Australian Broadcasting Commission network and began broadcasting in 1935. 3GI was Victoria’s first ABC regional radio station.

8. 3TR’s Radio Program Guide, of July 1949, indicated that the station provided such entertainment as : news, women’s programs, a children’s radio club, weekly sporting round-up, dramatized serials, plays ( radio theatre), quiz shows, religious programs, various genres of music, social diary/events etc. However, the radio guide did not include any programs specifically listed about the township of Yallourn and other ‘Valley towns.

9. During the football season, 3TR provided an excellent coverage of local football; and during the 1954, the first season of the LVFL, it was announced that 3TR would broadcast three games in which Yallourn Football Club was involved (May 22nd v Warragul, May 29th v Morwell and June 5th against Sale). Football broadcasts generated considerable interest throughout Gippsland in those days.

10. One of the problems, that the residents of Yallourn experienced in relation to listening to the radio, was the poor reception of metropolitan stations. Interference (static) was common; and to receive Melbourne radio broadcasts, an aerial was usually required. Consequently 3TR , 3UL and 3GI became the primary source(s) of news and entertainment for the people of Yallourn in those days prior to the advent of TV (1956).

11. A fact that young readers, of this website, may not appreciate was that in those early days of radio, listeners were required to possess a licence (i.e. a subscription fee to own a radio). Licence fees were abolished for radio (and television) in 1974.
Note: In the 1970’s, a combined TV and radio licence cost Australians $26.50 per year.

12. In 1953, money for various hospitals/health services in the ‘ Valley , including the Yallourn Hospital, was collected via a Latrobe Valley Queen Carnival Competition. The special effort raised in excess of £15,300 ( pounds). Yallourn’s participants in that quest were Eva Thompson, Lauris Stanger, Pamela Williams and Helen Watts who collected a combined total of £3517 (pounds).

13. In 1953, more than £ 70,000 was collected by 3TR, 3HA (Hamilton) and 3SH (Swan Hill) as part of the Victorian Broadcasting Network’s Christmas Day Appeal…
“…More than £70,700 was raised tor country hospitals yesterday by three radio stations of the Victorian Broadcasting Network in their combined Christmas day appeal. More than they raised last year. The appeal was opened this £5400 by the Governor. (Sir Dallas Brooks) on a special recording sent to each station. Last year the appeal raised £65,284 for country hospitals. 3HA Hamilton, 3SH Swan Hill and 3TR Sale, conducted their appeals throughout yesterday, and augmented staffs were kept busy answering telephone calls from donors. Money was not the only commodity donated. The appeal organisers have also been promised bags of wheat, sheep and other farm produce. Source: ‘The Age’ December 26 1953 Page: 6

14. As mentioned in the above footnote, some donors to the appeal offered wheat and livestock. Other means of raising extra funds for patients, staff and new medical equipment during the life of the Yallourn Hospital can be exemplified in 1947 when:-
• The pupils of Yallourn North State School collected 70 dozen eggs for the hospital.
• The Hernes Oak Presbyterian Church donated oranges, lemons and flowers.
• The Newborough Sunday School collected cakes, fruit and flowers.
• Other donations to the Yallourn Hospital that year included pumpkins for the kitchen and books for patients to read.
Other Yallourn Hospital fund raising activities, over the years, included Annual Balls, concerts, direct giving, street stalls, dances and raffles.

15. While 3TR’s Christmas Appeal was a foremost source of additional finance for local hospitals, the residents of Yallourn also provided ongoing and generous support for the Yallourn Hospital including its very own auxiliary organization. From the first year of its operation in 1929 (originally 24 beds), the hospital had always been a priority in the altruistic endeavours of the residents.

16. In 1958, a group of dedicated women formed the Yallourn Ladies’ Hospital Auxiliary, which, in the next seventeen years, raised more than $10,000 (dollars) to maintain and improve the facilities and equipment at the hospital.

17. It is recorded by Prue McGoldrick, in her book ‘Yallourn Was’, that Mesdames Bell, Collins, Coulthard, English, Ingram, Slatter, Stewart, Matron Miller and Nursing Sister Stallard were the driving force(s) behind the fruitful efforts of the YLHA in that era of the history of the town.

To the long list of people who provided photographs and information about various aspects of the history of Yallourn, your generous assistance during the past year was greatly valued. Thank you also to those people who forwarded positive comments regarding the ‘From the Newspapers’ history project throughout 2018.


This story is part of a history project entitled ‘From the Newspapers’ and a full list of titles in this series can be obtained by contacting Julie George. The story was researched and written by Roger Spaull; and presented and posted by Julie George for the Virtual Yallourn website in December 2018.
The above extract from the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ has been faithfully reproduced. The only amendments to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing, so to enhance the story for the purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.