June 2000 Newsletter - Keith Fletcher (YHS 1940)

The Fletchers - Yallourn 1928 - 1978 Keith Fletcher (YHS 1940) was born at Yallourn Hospital to parents George & Cecilia. They arrived from England in 1924 and George started with the SEC as an Electrical Trades Assistant in the Electrical Workshops (and progressed in a very short time to foreman and upon his death in 1959 he was Electrical Workshops' Superintendent). The family soon moved to 5 Reservoir Rd; rental was 5 shillings per room per week. Joyce Fletcher was born in 1931. Over the years, the Fletchers also lived in Tarwin Grove and Stzelecki Rd. The briquetting industry got into Keith's blood. From the end of his apprenticeship, he went onto shift work as a shift electrician on Operations which covered all phases of briquetting from raw coal handling right through the dryers, pressing, handling, loading and storage. He feels lucky to have worked with such a lot of experienced men and supervisors who taught him the process. Morwell opened up and in 1959, Keith was selected as an operations foreman, progressing to shift engineer, the position he held on his retirement in 1987. Keith married Jean Guyatt from Sale and had four children Valma, Lorraine, Graeme and Peter (and has 9 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild) Their first home was the married quarters, which now is the site of 'W Station. The quarters consisted of 2 bedrooms, kitchen and lounge, with one wash house between four for 10 shillings per week. The married quarters were also known as Nappy Valley and were a great place to start with everyone in the same boat - no money! They walked to work, walked up to the town pushing prams to carry the kids and bring home the shopping. Not far to go to the river for a swim or catch a trout! Keith's sister Joyce married Roy Wardley who worked at the SEC as an industrial chemist. They had 3 children - Bruce, Neil and Lindy and on retirement they moved to Paynesville. Keith divorced and married Shirley Copping from Deniliquin and they now live in the Yallourn re-settlement area of North Newborough. The house they live in was removed from 50 Broadway West. Keith was selected for the 1961 expedition to Antarctica which is a part of his life he will never forget. They sailed from Melbourne in December 1961 for Wilkes station (now abandoned and replaced by Casey station). 23 in all - 17 Australians and 6 Americans. They were on the ice until February 1963 and sailed back to Melbourne on the Thala Dan