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Digging People Up for Coal: a History of Yallourn

by Meredith Fletcher
Launched by
Graeme Davison,
Professor of History at Monash University
5.00pm, Thursday 28 February in the Bistro at Monash University Gippsland in Churchill.
The launch will feature a display of photographs and other Yallourn memorabilia, including copies of the Yallourn newspaper, The Livewire. Members of the public, particularly former Yallourn residents are invited to attend. Contact Louise Bye on 5122 6575.
Photos from the Book Launch

Press Release

How would it feel to be told that the town you grew up in and lived in was to be destroyed? What would it mean to lose the landscape that was part of your identity, never being able to show it to your children or grandchildren?
This has been the experience of the former residents of Yallourn, many of whom will be present at the launch of the first history of the town at Monash University Gippsland next Thursday.
Digging People Up For Coal is about the birth, life and loss of a community. It is a beautifully written history about Yallourn, designed in the 1920s as a garden town laid out on 'hygienic and aesthetic principles'. It became a thriving and close-knit community, home to several generations of State Electricity Commission workers and their families.
By the 1960s, however, the town was surplus to requirements. It had become an 'area' to be 'cleared'. The Save Yallourn Campaign was long and bitterly fought, but the residents' efforts were in vain.
Local historian Meredith Fletcher brings to life a community that still exists vividly in memory and imagination. She looks at the intense grief people feel for lost places and at the creativity that grief can release.
Digging People Up for Coal is the first book to examine the process of deconstruction, demolition and detachment of an Australian town.
In resurrecting Yallourn from the depths of the open cut, it both celebrates and mourns a lost community.
Dr Meredith Fletcher is Director of the Centre for Gippsland Studies at Monash University's Gippsland Campus. Her books include Avon to the Alps: A History of the Shire of Avon (1988) and Strathfieldsaye, A History and Guide (1992) and she is the editor of the innovative Gippsland Heritage Journal.
Copies of the book are available at the launch, at local bookshops or by contacting the publisher, Melbourne University Press on 9342 0360 or at