A dormitory town for the local coal mine and power station, Yallourn takes its name from the local Aboriginal word for ‘ever burning’.
It is an apt name on account of the fact that Yallourn lies at the heart of the Latrobe Valley and one of the largest deposits of brown coal in the world. The seam is 16 kilometres wide, 100 metres thick and stretches for 60 kilometres and, God forbid, should it be set alight it would burn forever.
Massive, bucket-wheel dredges 12 storeys high scoop 30,000 tones of brown coal a day from the Yallourn open cut mine. The coal, in turn, is railed to the huge electricity power stations which dot the valley.
Despite the intensity of the heavy industrial action, the valley is also acknowledged as a lively centre for both fine and performing arts. The City of Latrobe, in fact, boasts a number of art galleries and the municipality’s major Performing Arts Centre is a professional venue for live theatre, concerts and cabarets.