History of Brown Coal Mine

Brown Coal Mine

Brown coal mine history people of Haunted Hills Podcast

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.

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First known resident

The official start of the township would probably come as a bit of surprise to the original settler. Anders Anderson owned 135 acres bordering the Morwell Shire with Anderson Creek flowing through and he settled here around 1884. He dug into a hillside and compacted the dirt into a floor, putting up a front door, he created a dwelling.

History of brown coal

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. 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 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 three grocers, two butchers, three boarding houses and other shops cropping up on Main St.


Local Entrepreneurs

The Meers men didn’t, only men could work at the State Electrical Commission in the beginning years. Harry Meers built a grocery store. His wife, Fanny ran a boarding house, later when Ada, his daughter, was looking for work he bought her a restaurant to manage. His sons worked in different jobs and moved away. 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. This place attracted people who didn’t want their employer and landlord as the same entity, or who wished to ownership over their homes.

As the small town 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.

The brown coal mine collapsed in 1950

In 1950 the town changed irrevocably, the mine destabilised and Main Street right on the edge of the pit. Bakery walls had split, and shops fittings pulled away. The collapse resulted in 9 families relocating. The townspeople were worried they wouldn’t have time to move their belongings before rain destabilised the area further. Thankfully the rain stayed away, and the people moved into the large public halls in town including the Old Brown Coal Mine Museum which was used for a different purpose at the time. Luckily, no lives were lost.

The shops relocated to where they are today on Reserve Street. While they rebuilt the shops, they also took down all the huts and built houses in the 1950s style.

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virutal tour Yallourn North

Very brief history

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Old Brown Coal Mine Museum

We recommend you visit the Old Brown Coal Mine Museum on Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm on Third Street when they’re open.

Other things to do in Yallourn North


More about the Latrobe Valley


Learn more through this link

Check out some stunning photos of Gippsland, including Yallourn North

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