A MEMORIAL CAIRN AT HERNES OAK - 1994
This is a photograph of Peter Scott and Dorothy Taylor unveiling a cairn in tribute to the community of Hernes Oak . The ceremony took place in 1994; and some 70 local people attended the special gathering.
Dorothy Taylor (Squires) grew up in Hernes Oak and spent many happy years in that unique small settlement. In later years, Dorothy recorded the memories of her life in a book entitled ‘Across the Old Bush Track - a History of Hernes Oak/Haunted Hills.’
Younger readers may be interested to know that, in earlier times, the settlement was known as the Haunted Hills, but the name was changed to Hernes Oak sometime around 1922.
People are often intrigued by the name Hernes Oak and its origins may possibly be traced back to William Shakespeare’s play entitled ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor …’
“ …in Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Windsor, Herne’s ghost appeared by an oak tree and terrified cattle.” Source: ‘Victorian Places.’
Furthermore, a comprehensive article regarding the Haunted Hills featured in ‘ The Argus’ in 1947; and the following extract may also help readers appreciate the history of the name ‘Hernes Oak.’
“As Yallourn developed, some of its overflow population drifted out and settled at the foot of the eastern slope of the Haunted Hills. At first it was just called the township of the Haunted Hills, then somebody with an imagination renamed it "Herne's Oak," after the original old Herne's Oak in Windsor Great Park, England. The real Herne's Oak was so named because of its association with a sinister phantom hunter, Herne, who was supposed to frequent Windsor Great Park, always in the vicinity of the tree, and riding a huge black charger. Whenever he was seen about, some catastrophe was about to befall the neighbourhood. Finally, the oak was blown down in a storm, but Queen Victoria planted another in the same spot, so that should the hunter return he would not be without his tree.” Source: ‘The Argus’ December 29th 1947 Page: 7.
The original article can be seen in the May 1994 edition of the ‘Contact’ magazine which can be found on this website. Peter Scott is a well-known Yallourn identity and photographs of Peter and his friends at Yallourn High School can be viewed at: http://www.virtualyallourn.com/node/24245
A copy of Dorothy’s book can be obtained by contacting the Morwell Historical Society.
Other interesting photos and articles, about life in Hernes Oak, can be seen on this website and further anecdotes and memorabilia related to Hernes Oak are always welcomed.
This article was prepared and presented for the Virtual Yallourn website by Roger Spaull and Julie George in January 2020.