Meet Latrobe City
TRARALGON – Population 24,933
As the largest town in Latrobe City, Traralgon offers wide, tree-lined streets and spacious parkland whilst also being the region’s entertainment capital flush with alfresco dining options and a thriving pub and club scene. Take in a live show at the Latrobe Performing Arts Centre after dining in one of the many restaurants. Pack a picnic or pop into a vibrant café for lunch before taking the kids to the adventure playground at Newman Park which includes miniature train rides that operate on the fourth Sunday of the month.
Located in the heart of Gippsland, Traralgon offers excellent accommodation options enabling access to many of Gippsland’s greatest attractions such as Morwell and Tarra Bulga National Parks, the historic gold mining town of Walhalla and a number of state parks. Traralgon has grown to service the region’s energy, agricultural, pastoral, papermaking and timber industries.
A short drive south of the town is the Loy Yang Power Station and open-cut coal mine. The Hyland Highway passes right by the station and open cut and visitor lookouts are provided to marvel at the massive scale of coal mining and electricity generation. The power station’s two cooling towers are 260 metres high – similar in height to Melbourne’s Rialto Towers.
MORWELL – Population 13,771
At the heart of Latrobe City you’ll find the town of Morwell. Home to the world famous Morwell Centenary Rose Garden, a rose filled parkland of over 3500 roses which invites the visitor to relax and explore the tremendous variety of blooms, best visited in November though to April. Morwell also boasts one of Gippsland’s major cultural facilities, Latrobe Regional Gallery, hosting national and international exhibitions throughout the year. There is always something to engage the viewer, with a broad range of contemporary and traditional Australian art on display.
Just south of the town is Morwell National Park, situated in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges, it offers close encounters with native flora and fauna, in particular koalas, echidnas, wallabies and over 40 different native orchid species. A few minutes from the town centre is the large shopping complex of Midvalley which is next to the fascinating Gippsland Immigration Park. The park consists of an informative walk, around Kernot Lake, telling the story of Gippsland’s indigenous history and celebrates the contribution of immigrants to the development of Gippsland.
MOE – Population 15,541
Nestled between the Great Dividing Range and the Strzelecki Hills, Moe welcomes the Melbourne visitor to Latrobe Valley. Offering an active town centre for shopping and dining, with nearby bushland and lakes providing great recreational activities for visitors. The Spring Racing Carnival is celebrated by the Moe Cup which is run in October and to the north is Lake Narracan, a popular water playground for waterskiing, swimming, fishing and sailing. The town also serves as a gateway to the historic goldfields at Walhalla and the snowfields at Mt Baw Baw and Mt St Gwinear. A colourful town dotted with public artworks hinting at the diverse art culture in the area.
Step back in time to the 1850s and visit Old Gippstown, Gippsland’s Heritage Park. Stroll along the streets with authentic old buildings, horse-drawn carriages, agricultural machinery, and a general store. Walk along the Moe to Yallourn Rail Trail taking in the diverse scenery of bushland, lakes and distant mountain views, as well as the imposing Yallourn Power station. Enjoy the wildlife rich walks at the Edward Hunter Bush reserve or visit the nearby Old Brown Coal Mine Museum in Yallourn North. Close to the town centre, Apex Park offers children a fantastic adventure playground complete with sandpits and slides for all ages.
CHURCHILL – Population 4,784
Churchill was created by the Victorian Government in the 1960s to house workers and their families who were constructing the Hazelwood Power Station. The town was first known as Hazelwood after a pastoral run established in 1844, but in 1965, the government changed the name to Churchill to honour the former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. The power station was subsequently closed in March 2017.
The town has a 32 metre high landmark, a tall square “golden” tower, unveiled in 1967. First known as the spire, it was affectionally nicknamed by locals as the big cigar because of the association with Sir Winston Churchill.
The town has a modern shopping complex, hotel, parks and playgrounds, Council service centre and library with children’s day care, sporting and community facilities including a recently upgraded leisure centre catering for basketball, swimming, gym, child care and more.
Mathison Park, named after Wal Mathison, secretary of the Morwell Shire from 1948 – 62, is just a few minutes from the town centre. The park has picnic facilities, BBQ, playground and Lake Hyland which is stocked with fish regularly for recreational fishing. The park is a popular place for anglers, birdwatchers and walkers.
Churchill has abundant education facilities with primary schools, the Gippsland Education Precinct which includes the co-location of Kurnai College’s VCE/senior Campus, Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE and Gippsland Group Training and Federation University.
GLENGARRY – Population 1,399
Just a 10 minute drive north of Traralgon is the peaceful township of Glengarry. The town was established in 1883 with the construction of the railway line and was first known as La Trobe. It was later renamed Glengarry in 1884.
The shops in the main street include a supermarket, hairdresser, pharmacy, post office, a great country pub and popular bakery, well known for its famous hot cross buns and support for community fund raising. The town has preserved its country feel with its tree-lined streets and the historic town hall, churches and hotel.
The town’s facilities include Apex Park, playground, primary school, sporting grounds and skate park.
The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail follows the route carved by the old railway line from Traralgon to Stratford and passes through Glengarry offering walkers and cyclists a well-earned break. The rail trail has views over the surrounding farmland and the Great Dividing Range to the north. The Glengarry station is the only original station building located right on the trail.
The nearby Narkoojee cellar door and restaurant has a five-star rating in James Halliday’s Wine companion and is a must for wine-lovers.
BOOLARRA – Population 1,109
Nestled in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges, Boolarra takes its name from the Kurnai word meaning ‘plenty’. Surrounded by farmland and bush, the town has a strong community spirit.
The Post Office opened on 1st September 1884 prior to the railway arriving in 1885 which was instrumental in the development of the town. Logging and the dairy industry was important to local residents and still is today as is the Boolarra Fish Farm whose 60 acres of ponds supply goldfish to the Australian whole sale market.
Boolarra services its residents and visitors with a post office, café and popular community owned hotel. There is a lovely park in the centre of town, primary school, historical museum and sporting facilities.
The Boolarra Folk Festival is held every year in March and attracts music lovers from around Australia and the world. The festival is known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere and fantastic live music. An art, craft and food market provides visitors with the opportunity to discover the work of many local artisans.
The town is at one end of the Grand Ridge Rail Trail, which meanders through temperate rainforest and bush in the Strzelecki Ranges. The original railway branch line from Morwell to Boolarra was opened on 10 April 1885, with the last train being run in 1974. The railway was constructed through difficult hilly terrain requiring construction of massive embankments and numerous bridges. Now, the old railway line welcomes walkers and cyclists along the 13 kilometre path to Mirboo North.
YINNAR – Population 1,589
Yinnar is located in the picturesque Morwell River Valley with views of the Strzelecki Ranges. Situated 20 kilometres south west of Morwell, the township provides a rural residential area for those employed in the Latrobe Valley’s industrial, educational and service sectors. It is the centre of an active mixed farming industry.
The District of Yinnar includes the communities of Yinnar South and Jeeralang Junction.
Yinnar was established in the late 1800s and was a thriving town with many services and businesses. The first hotel was built in 1885. The Church of England was first established in 1898, and in 1921, the Firmins children donated an inscribed bell to St Mathews in honour of their parents. The bell was removed when the church was demolished in 1999 and is now displayed in the Main Street as a reminder of the town’s heritage.
Yinnar has a primary school, kindergarten, bowls club, sporting reserves, playground and community garden.
Permanent sculptures along the main street set the scene for the eclectic arts community. ArcYinnar, housed in a former butter factory, is a unique centre for creativity and contemporary arts that combines a superb gallery, a performance venue, studio spaces for artists, and resource services.
The Railway Goods Shed Museum contains historical items for Yinnar and district and is open by appointment.
The local hotel provides a meeting place for locals and visitors with the Strzelecki Stringbusters band playing on the last Wednesday of each month.
Nearby attractions include Morwell River falls, Morwell National Park, Hazelwood Pondage, hiking Grand Strzelecki track, and one of the smallest churches in Australia, ‘Holy Innocents’ at Yinnar South.
TYERS – Population 825
Tyers is a small town 10 kilometres north-west of Traralgon with new subdivisions opening up offering a rural setting for new residents. The township was known as ‘Boola Boola’ until 1852 at which time it was named after the surveyor and explorer Charles Tyers. The town offers a post office, general store with fuel, primary school, community hall, CFA, sporting grounds and parkland.
The Tyers Arts Festival is an annual event held in November which commenced in 1979 and has grown to be one of the most anticipated arts festivals in regional Victoria.
Tyers was the birth place and home town of Jean Galbraith, well-known Australian botanist, gardener, writer of children’s books and poet. A flora reserve in Tyers is a tribute to her work.
Just two kilometres north of Tyers is a lookout offering expansive views of the Latrobe Valley across to the Strzelecki Ranges in the south and is a delight to see at night with the lights below.
Set in the foothills to the north of the town, Tyers Park encompasses the fine scenery of the Tyers Gorge where the Tyers River winds between steep forested slopes. The park has an abundance of diverse wildflowers and the birdlife, making it a favourite destination for naturalists. Six kilometres north of the town, Peterson’s Lookout overlooks the Tyers River Gorge
TOONGABBIE – Population 992
The small historic country town came into existence in 1863 as an important supply depot en route to the Walhalla goldfields. Goods were transported from Port Albert to Toongabbie by bullock wagon and then transferred to packhorses and mules for the arduous journey to Walhalla. As Walhalla boomed, the Toongabbie township thrived. Other industries important to the town were timber and farming.
Today, Toongabbie has a primary school, volunteer run 18 hole golf course and the general store and post office, the hub for the community. The railway station was closed in 1986 and the former railway line now forms part of the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail, a level family friendly track ideal for walking and cycling, attracting locals and visitors alike.
Restored historic buildings including the heritage listed Mechanics Institute and Free Library, one of only two existing two storey timber buildings in Victoria and St David’s Uniting Church with 13 different pressed metal designs internally stand as reminders of the town’s resilience and origans. The restored grandstand looks out over the village green and is used for football and cricket. The cemetery has many graves dating from the late 1800s.
A memorial was erected in Toongabbie to Ned Stringer for his discovery of gold in 1862 at Walhalla and its importance for gold heritage in Victoria.
TRARALGON SOUTH – Population 563
Traralgon South is a rural locality on the Traralgon Creek, 11 km south of Traralgon.
Soon after farmers took up selections in the area a school was opened in a private farm house in 1879. There have since been at least three replacement school buildings, in 1880, 1923 and the latest one. In addition to the school, the small town also had a Mechanics’ Institute and a church in 1913
Traralgon South today has become an outer rural residential locality for Traralgon and the Latrobe Valley. It has a store, a large public hall, a kindergarten, a recreation reserve, a CFA station and primary school in a lovely bush setting.
Nearby is the Traralgon South Flora and Fauna Reserve, a nature lovers park to discover flora and a habitat for native birds and animals with easy walking tracks.
YALLOURN NORTH – Population 1,543
Prior to 1947, Yallourn North was named Brown Coal Mine, after the discovery of brown coal in 1879 and housed the workers who toiled in the mine. The Post Office opened 1917.
Surrounded by undulating hill, the town offers a rural setting
Facilities in town include Monash hall for community events, supermarket, café, hotel, primary school and kindergarten. Sports available are Australian rules football, cricket, lawn bowls and carpet bowls, tennis, netball, angling and has an outdoor swimming pool.
The town contains many churches, including the only Serbian Orthodox Church and Mosque in the region.
Yallourn North has an active historical association which preserves the history of the area through the Old Brown Coal Mine Museum, dedicated to future generations. Run by volunteers, the museum is open three days a week to the public and by appointment. The museum holds an extensive display of photographic memorabilia and artefacts depicting the early days of the town and coal history. It also tells the story of Yallourn, a town which was closed and eventually dug up for coal.
Perched on a hilltop ridge, the area offers views over Lake Narracan, Latrobe Valley , and the impressive Yallourn W Power Station nearby.
YALLOURN, the town dug up for coal.
Yallourn was a company town built between 1920 and 1950 to house employees of the State Electricity Commission who operated the nearby Yallourn Power Station complex. At its peak, the town’s population reached 5,000. Expansion of the adjacent open-cut brown coal mine led to the closure and removal of the town in the 1980s. Yallourn W Power Station now stands in place of the town.
Yallourn was a beautiful town, with well-planned streets, town centre, theatre and shops. The town had top facilities with schools, hospital, parklands, sporting facilities, and an olympic size swimming pool which held regular swimming carnivals. Efforts by the community to save the town were unsuccessful and house removals began in 1975.
Whilst the town no longer exists, many buildings were salvaged and relocated either to the nearby towns or on occasions, moved further afield. Some public art works were saved with Arthur Boyd’s church mural going to the Morwell Anglican Church and the bust of Sir John Monash now resides at PowerWorks. Kernot hall in Morwell was named after the hall in Yallourn. The golf club and bowling green were relocated to Newborough.
The story of Yallourn is captured in several books and the Old Brown Coal Mine museum in Yallourn North houses much information of this era.