The Latrobe Valley contains one of the world’s largest coal deposits and nearly 90% of Australia’s brown coal reserves. It currently produces approximately 72% of the State’s electricity. Two coal mines/open cuts feed three major power generating stations (Loy Yang A, Loy Yang B and Yallourn) situated in a 30 kilometre zone. The coal belt runs east-wards from Yallourn almost continuously for over 60 kilometres and ranges between 8 and 20 kilometres wide. The Latrobe Valley deposit is estimated at 15 to 50 million years old. In geological terms it is young coal, which explains its soft, crumbly texture and high moisture content. These qualities are partly compensated for by the thick seams close to the surface which make it comparatively cheap to be dug in large amounts.
Coal was first discovered in the Latrobe Valley in 1873 and mined on the north side of the Latrobe River by the Great Morwell Coal Mining Company and later by the Victorian Government. The State Electricity Commission (SECV) was formed in 1921 and by 1924 power began flowing down the transmission lines to Melbourne. To supply an increasing demand, Morwell Power Station commenced in 1958, Hazelwood Power Station in 1964, Yallourn W in 1973, Loy Yang A in 1984 and Loy Yang B in 1993.
Approximate travel time: 2 hours