Yallourn North had a wide variety of of criminals (just like any were else), some were more akin to slap stick comedians, others were not as funny and there were some serious criminals – although no one from the Brown Coal Mine area were sentenced to hang until dead.
There are rumours some of the Kelly gang spent time in the hills around Yallourn North while hiding from the police. The walking tour will take you to Yallourn North’s historical law and order locations, and some of the places crimes occurred, we’ll journey through the criminal history, and end with the criminal history of the Haunted Hills. Many people say that the legend of the Haunted Hills was sent around by sly grog traders and other criminals who wanted to be left in peace… Join us the crime tour to discover and join us on a ghost tour to compare and decide for yourself.
Join us as we walk around the murky past of Yallourn North. Read about the the History of the Brown Coal Mine here.
Duration 1 hour and half
Tickets $25, or $20 concession, family rate available (2 adults, 2 children – teenagers are probably a better audience due to the crimes covered).
Yallourn North Ghost Tour running the 7th and 8th of November 2015
Coalies is the name the people who used to live in the Brown Coal Mine call themselves. It’s annual catch up of reminiscing and visiting the place they call(ed) home.
We’d love to meet some of the Coalies, hear their reactions to the tour.
Yallourn North Ghost Tour
Haunted Hills Tours is running a ghost tour in Yallourn North on Coalies Weekend the 7th and 8th of November at 8pm.
The format is a walking tour of Yallourn North, going to public spaces that have a tragic past and there are spirits remaining. It also covers a places we cannot walk too. Yallourn North is a lot older than it looks. There are quite a few ghostly tales, we walk for about five minute intervals between stories.
Join us for a guided walking tour back-in-time a chance to experience history, the paranormal and bizarre. Be drawn back with tales from Yallourn, Brown Coal Mine and the evocatively named Haunted Hills.
Duration: 1 hour and half
Tickets $25 ($20 concession)
Family rate available
Yallourn North was the first town Haunted Hills Tours opened with Ghost Tours.
Yallourn North is a lovely town in the Latrobe Valley, it was originally called the Brown Coal Mine, because it was built on the edge of a mine, called the Brown Coal Mine. The community here care about their town and share their town with some paranormal entities.
There are places in Yallourn North the locals will more quickly believe is haunted, it doesn’t look old but settlers started making their home in the late 1800s.
Come along to discover the secrets that hide in plain sight on these streets.
Yallourn North previously known as the Brown Coal Mine
The building of the post office brought about the naming and the official start of the Brown Mine Coal township in 1917. After World War II it was renamed Yallourn North.
Yallourn North formerly known as the Brown Coal Mine. A Brief History. The pictures above are: Left: Halls Bay looks left from the main car park. Second in from the left, is the arrangement out the front of the Old Brown Coal Mine museum, the third is the photo from the State Library of Victoria of the Brown Coal mine built on the edge of the mine, right is from a point to the west of Yallourn North looking towards Yallourn North.
The official start of the Brown Coal Mine township would probably come as a bit of surprise to the original settler. Who owned 135 acres bordering the Morwell Shire with Anderson Creek flowing through. His name was Andors Anderson and he settled here around 1884. He dug into a hillside and compacted the dirt into a floor, putting up a front he created a dwelling. For a time only he only lived here from Friday to Sunday, as he worked in Traralgon. He walked the 18 miles to Traralgon and stayed there from Monday to Thursday. Skilled with a whittle and willow, he made sporting equipment, like cricket bats. He planted the willows as they’re not a native species of tree to the Brown Coal Mine area.
Brown Coal or lignite coal was discovered after a land-slip on the side of Latrobe River banks, near Tom’s bridge, around 1879. Further investigation of mine shafts dug revealed more coal. Brown gold, coal. Henry Godridge, who discovered it, didn’t have enough capital to mine it himself. He spent the next ten years looking for investors, he found some in the Morwell Coal Mining company. The Brown Coal Mine was known as ‘The Hill’ during the time and is still sometimes still referred to as the ‘The Hill’. This venture wasn’t profitable and became difficult and they started looking for new investors. The Brown Coal Mine experienced a boom, as rumours surfaced that the State Government was taking over. People flocked to the town. There was 3 grocers, 2 butchers, 3 boarding houses and other shops cropping up on Main St.
One of the buildings was built without nails as they were in short supply after the first world war. There was even a two-story houses made from tin. Most people assume the entire community of Brown Coal Mine and surrounds worked for the SEC.
The Meers men didn’t. Harry Meers built a grocery store, that was the go-to shop. His wife, Fanny ran a boarding house, later when Eda, his daughter was looking for work he bought her a restaurant to manage. His sons, worked in different jobs and moved away, one worked in the diary industry. another worked in the government Foundary at Footscray and the other a foreman on the NSW railways. The Meers moved to the Brown Coal Mine in 1916 and are also considered a founding family.
The SEC started building power plants in 1922. The Brown Coal Mine attracted people who didn’t want their employer and landlord as the same entity, or who wanted to own their own homes.
As the Brown Coal Mine grew people lived in boarding houses, until they saved up enough to buy or build a simple dwelling. As their needs changed or income freed up they’d build again.
In 1950 the town changed irrevocably, the mine destablised and Main Street being right on the edge of the mine. The Bakery split and other shops fittings pulled from the walls, 9 families were relocated. There are still discrepancies in how many or how much fell in to the mine. Luckily, no lives were lost. The bakers apprentice wasn’t so sure she’d survive for sometime as she held onto the edge of new mine.
This drove change, the shops relocated to where they are today on Reserve Street. While they rebuilt the shops, they also took down all the shanties and built houses in the 1950’s style. A lot of history was lost in the process.
A brief history of Yallourn – photos used – top: is a postcard from the 1920-1930’s and the Left: Broadway in 1930’s and Right: The cover of Welcome to Little Europe used with permission.
A town memoralised in fountains of good memories. Really the only thing missing in way of a memorial is a fountain. I guess one of the benefits of having an expiration date, with a defined ending to a town makes people consider the good things which they put in writing defending their town. Sharing stories of their town to whoever would listen in an effort to save it, would cement a lot of those stories, reminiscing over the good things that happened. It united them. While the site of the town is no more they have preserved a virtual Yallourn. A place of reminiscing and loads of photos, and a community, whilst no longer located in the same space, a vibrant community none-the-less. They have annual reunions.
I should back up for the readers who aren’t in the Latrobe Valley, or wider Gippsland.
Yallourn, the name is a combination of two GunaiKurnai words Yalleen meaning Brown and Lourne meaning Fuel or Fire. The Brown Coal (also known as lignite coal) was the reason for its inception and it’s destruction. This was the second attempt to mine the brown coal in what is now known as the Latrobe Valley. A previous attempt had failed due to the moisture and the NSW black coal being more viable. The part of the process we had the most difficulty with was creating briquettes to fire up the boilers, after a change of management to the Victorian State Government who set up the State Electricity Commission (SEC as it was more commonly known), hiring of some German experts in briquette making Yallourn was born, and there was a future for Yallourn to power the whole state. The power industry and mining created an employment boom, the numbers in the town and surrounding camps grew.
Yallourn was a company town, run by the company to house the workers, and administration. This posed it’s own challenges. In the 1930’s volunteer community groups had sprung up to help build Yallourn and bring heart and soul, with dancing, bands, and a whole host of other communal activities. The Boulevard was completed as originally planned shortly after world war one, with shops and the theater.
In 1968 there was discussions the town was too costly to maintain, and in 1971 the residents told it would shut down. The residents rallied to save the town, to no avail. By 1981 the town was a ghost town, the last residents remember watching the bones of the town leave on the back of trucks, it wasn’t the same place they’d fought to save. The brick buildings, built with bricks stamped with the towns name on them, where also shipped out as they dismantled buildings and built them elsewhere. A little piece of Yallourn has moved to all corners of the state, a lot of it stayed in the Latrobe Valley, but some of those houses moved far away.
Sestokas, Josef. Welcome To Little Europe. Sale, Vic.: Little Chicken Publishing, 2010. Print.
Welcome to Little Europe: Displaced Persons and the North Camp by Josef Sestokas
This is an excellent history of the people who migrated and lived in the North Camp. It has history about Yallourn as well, because that was the major employer in the area. This book also looks at immigration policy and how that affected migrants of the North Camp. It describes the conditions from the early settlement of Yallourn and the surrounding camps. I found it an enthralling read and great resource on Yallourn and the Brown Coal Mine (which was the North camp and today is called Yallourn North).
This is the ABC Radio National Broadcast, called The Model Town and the Machine: A history of Yallourn. Part 1 and part 2
I found this really inspiring listening to the accounts told and feelings conveyed throughout.
Is a wonderful collection of stories from residents of Yallourn with a little bit of an introduction at the start. There are lots of pictures, and the personal recollections are a great record of everyday life in and around Yallourn.
“To Yallourn with Love”
The photos in the meme, postcard and broadway are both out of copyright but here is the links to find them at the State Library of Victoria