Friday, July 21, 2006

A Beautiful Town Update

Ben was right on the mark with his suggestion that the town I wrote about had something to do with open cut coal mining.

The town referred to in the previous post was Yallourn (Yalorn) in the Latrobe Valley, Gippsland. I visited it more than once as a teen and I certainly went to the theatre but I am not sure if that building was also the picture theatre that I visited more than once.

Here is a clip that says it better than I can.

The town was planned, built and owned by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, whose aim was to secure a contented workforce by providing ideal living conditions. When Yallourn was no longer essential for the SEC, the town was demolished to make way for the coal deposits that lay under it.

What I did forget about was the coal dust, which was a problem in many close by towns. Note is one of the links that it states that the SEC towards the end of the town's life used to visit each house and vacuum the coal dust from the ceiling spaces.

To my knowledge, the SEC never built another town or house and the task of supplying reasonable housing for the SEC workers and other folk in the area went to the State Housing Commission.

Here are a couple of links for further information and there has been a history of the town written and I have checked that it is available at the City Library. I will borrow it soon.

Meredith Fletcher's book 'Digging up People for Coal'

and a house biography.

Pics are a view of the town, the theatre, the pool and a bust of Sir John Monash.


  1. Was it Yallourn or one of the other towns that sold the houses so you could have them towed away to where ever you had a block of land? It was a cheap way to get a house as they didn't cost much.

  2. I think that must have been the case. I heard one went to Toongabbie. The must have looked a little odd, out of their surrounds.

  3. Nice post Andrew. The original plan for Churchill, originally called Hazelwood, was as a replacement for Yallourn. The SEC was heavily involved even if they didn't do all the planning themselves. Quite a few of the houses from Yallourn probably moved there, others were just rebuilt. Not all of the population moved though, for various reasons.

    On a related note, look up Tallangatta, the "town that moved in the 50s".

  4. Thanks Russ. I was at the opening of the Churchill Hotel and I have swum in the warm waters of the Hazelwood Pondage.

    Interesting about Tallangatta. Can I pronouce it like Wangaratta?