Welcome to
......................................... This is a private, non-sponsored, totally unofficial website for Yarram and district, prepared by local resident Peter Stone (contact). 

It was created back in the dark ages of the internet, initially for the Yarram and District Traders and Tourism Association, then went into hibernation for a while when the Wellington Shire said they would provide an on-line presence. That never eventuated. Yarram Traders and Tourism Inc. now have an excellent professionally designed website, which you should access for specific community and tourist information, relegating this site to a mere medium of private expression. This does not however deny the relevance of this website. 

For fully updated information on accommodation, dining and wining, sports and activities, link to   YARRAM TRADERS AND TOURISM INC


PORT ALBERT - the town
YARRAM - the town
YARRAM - Historic Buildings


Gowrie House


In November  2011 the Victorian government recognised our local primary school with an extremely prestigious award, the Victorian Multicultural Education Award, for .... 

Recognising the outstanding practices in education that raise awareness and support implementation of multicultural initiatives. 

In making the award, presented to Principal Penny Earle and teacher Marg Beagley at Government House, the documented citation read:

At Yarram Primary School, global and multicultural education has been on the agenda since 2000 when the school first participated In Harmony Day as part, of the Federal Government's Living in Harmony initiative. This proved to be an enjoyable, hands-on way for students to become aware of the world outside Yarram, Building on the success of these activities, the school found innovative ways to immerse the students in another culture. In 2006 the school hosted a group of twelve African refugees for one week in the Yarram community. This involved members of the school community taking the refugees into their homes and bringing them to school each day to share activities Involving music, cooking, art and cultural exchange. The refugees shared some of their stories with the Yarram community. Other community organisations such as Rotary, the Historical Society and the Maritime Society were also involved in this initiative. This intercultura! experience was so valuable that It was held again in 2007. culminating In an event which raised funds for a hospital in Ethiopia.

From 2008 the school extended its global and multicultural citizenship program to encompass a relationship with an Argentinean school, making use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills such as video conferencing. Students became e-pals with Argentinean students and shared cultural interactions, and Ihe Yarram students produced video clips of Melbourne life to share with their counterparts In Argentina. This global relationship continues with students talking to each other via skype regularly.

The school has gone on to deepen their work in global education with their involvement in a research program, the Interculttiral Understanding Field Trials with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. They are using this opportunity to extend their understanding of their local Indigenous community.


Cultural awareness and understanding in the education system in the region commenced in 1991 with the appointment of head-teacher Wendy Bouker at Carrajung Primary School, a small two-teacher rural school thirty kilometres north of Yarram. Wendy had experience teaching a range of nationalities and cultures during her years at Melton and North Fitzroy Primary schools, and recognised the social implications of providing children with an understanding and acceptance of a diverse range of cultures and philosophies to enrich their life, especially as they grew into adults making their way in a multicultural society. 

At Carrajung, Bouker’s social education in a school of some twenty children living in a somewhat isolated rural area was initially more concerned with giving the children a greater awareness of life beyond the hills and forests of the Strezelecki Range. The annual school ‘camp’, for example, used to be held nearby and even on the school’s playground - Wendy took the elder children to Melbourne, to travel on a tram, to visit Lygon Street and, a favorite for the kids, Chinatown. The excursion was not without concern, indeed disapproval, from some parents, the adage being “you shouldn’t wander too far from home”. The children were billeted at Wendy's previous school, North Fitzroy Primary, where they integrated with a range of cultures, including Australian indigenous, for several days. 

On joining the staff of Yarram Primary School after three years at Carrajung (the school is now closed), Bouker continued her direction of promoting awareness of other cultures, and embraced the Harmony Day initiatives of the government. Living in a town and local rural community of 2000 predominantly white anglo-saxon inhabitants, Wendy searched successfully for people with non-Australian backgrounds to speak and work with the kids (making pizza was a favorite of course), but one day was hardly sufficient to endorse a cultural awareness. The indigenous community of nearby Latrobe Valley were approached by the school cluster (schools in the area) and several short-term one-off programs were established with moderate success. 

Wendy Bouker recognised that a one-day attempt to instill cultural awareness was totally ineffective. After extensive negotiations with community leaders in Melbourne, and with parents, in May 2006, Yarram Primary hosted twelve west African refugees, of ages fourteen to seventy, who were billeted out by local families. They came to the school each  day, and presented fascinating classes in their culture, geography, cooking, and music. The children loved it, and the Yarram community embraced the visitors. Led by a great humanitarian and remarkable man, Alan Herman, a white South African who is a pastor at a church in Reservoir, the visitors also gained immensely from the cultural exchange and many friends were made. The program was repeated the following year with equal success. The funding for the unique program was totally borne by the visiting group, the school, private contributions and the Yarram business community. 

It would be reasonable to suggest that the concept was not, initially, totally embraced by the school because of logistic and financial concerns but was supported by the parent’s committee. Any concerns were soon resolved, and Yarram Primary School was now a leading educational institute fully embracing multiculturalism. 

The passion continued within the school, not just with the established Harmony Day but throughout the teaching year with individual one-off programs, and within the school’s curriculum, for example in the art and music programs. 

In 2009, the Yarram Primary School established a close relationship with a large school (of primary and secondary levels) in Buenos Aires, conceived and established by teacher Marg Beagley, and again embraced by Wendy Bouker and all staff. Telecommunication video links were established and educational materials and gifts exchanged. Calegio Ward school is perhaps the only one in South America which can sing Waltzing Matilda, even though they may be confused with the implications of its words! Teachers from Yarram Primary have attended Argentinian cultural events in Melbourne, and in 2011, teacher Beagley visited the school in Buenos Aires in her own time and at her own expense. The relationship between the schools continues.

In 2011, Yarram Primary School was invited by the Victorian Education Department to participate in a three-month study to develop the concepts of multicultural education in state schools. Teachers Wendy Bouker and Marg Beagley represented Yarram Primary school, and on one occasion, four students also represented the school at a forum seeking experiences and ideas. 

The achievements of Yarram Primary School through the initiatives of teachers such as Bouker and Beagley and the support of principal Penny Earle and all the staff is quite remarkable considering that the school is 200 km from Melbourne, has under 160 pupils, and like many states, has its share of social concerns and administrative time constraints. But the school has demonstrated what can be done with dedication of a few teachers and the support of others. The effort is rewarded by a rounded social education for the children - and great fun for all who participate. 

The efforts of Yarram Primary School were recognised in November 2011 by the Victorian government with a presentation at Government house of the Victorian Multicultural Education Award, to principal Penny Earle and teacher Marg Beagley. Wendy Bouker, whose passion and initiative in Gippsland started twenty years ago, could not attend on the day due to health reasons. The school continues to embrace multiculturism and the principal and two teachers mentioned remain at the school (2012). 


During the mid-19th century, an elephant was brought to Alberton by Edward Martin. This recently found photograph is believed to indeed be of that pacyderme. According to Kenneth Cox in his excellent history Land of the Pelican, and John Adams in his equally informative From These Beginnings, the elephant was enjoying, presumably, a leisurely sea cruise from Hobart when the vessel called in to Port Albert and anchored off, it is thought, Kate Kearney entrance. Here it was landed, probably by swimming it ashore. The elephant had been bought from a 'Ceylon syndicate of sailors' in Hobart by Edward Martin of Alberton. Local folklore has it as a once circus animal but if it were owned by a Ceylonese sailors, it was probably brought to Australia from Ceylon to sell. Local folklore also has the 'circus animal' heading from Hobart to Sydney to be sold. Be that as it may, Edward Martin bought and brought the elephant to Alberton to work on his property, much to the utter astonishment of the early settlers and of frightening bewilderment to the local aborigine population. Edward's belief was that the elephant would be an ideal ‘draught horse' to plow his land. Instead it frightened the cattle, drove off the aborigines, and proved impractical on the land. No doubt the elephant came to the same conclussion and wandered off one cold night into the bush and disappeared. Its carcass was later found on the Martin property, a sad end to a magnifient animal. 

Research has not, so far, revealed any specific date on the elephant's arrival at Alberton. Edward Martin lived at ‘Fen Farm' on the road to West Alberton - when, is not certain but the property was later owned by a Mr G. Scott. Edward Martin died in 1883. We are probably looking at a period from 1850 to 1870. 

The photograph shows what appears to be a man of dark colouring sitting atop the elephant. Edward and his brother Jacob were know to have dressed their aborigine labour in western clothes made of striped bed-ticking; this could be a local aborigine who had obviously overcome any apprehension toward the animal. Well, we hope so anyway.  It begs the question of course - who are the four people in the photograph, and indeed was this photo taken at Alberton. The photo was recently presented by a well-established district family of several generations and thus has a measure of veracity that it was local. 

A quiz question: How can you determine whether it is an Asian elephant or an African elephant.?

Any information on this period would be appreciated, especially verification of the photograph. You may like to contact David Gregory at the nursery in Commercial Road, or Peter Stone by email peter@oceans.com.au.

It has been generally agreed that this is NOT the Martin elephant. Yarram resident Kate Remfrey recalls that in the fifties and before, a circus would come to town quite regularly, and her father would enthusiastically collect elphant poo for the garden, it being especially high in nutrients so itt is said. She believes the photo if of a curcus elephant. The clothing seems to endorse that. 


Link on the photo for a larger image.


Yarram means 'swamp' in the local indiginous language, and Yarram Yarram, the original name for the area, means a bloody big swamp. It is on this swamp that opur delightful town was built, due in most part to the location of the first pub around which the town grew. Unfortunately, the town centre has a few problems with drainage during a downpour, with water overlapping onto the footpath, and occassionally, coming very close to entering premises. In 1995, when the Wellington Shire was established after Premier Kennett destroyed many local shires, the new CEO, Humphries, decided to woo the locals with a plan to improve drainage in Commercial Road. Drainage was put on the five-year plan, but, like so many political promises, nothing was done during the next five years - then the next five years - then the next five years. Even for the Wellington Shire, this has gone on long enough, so without further consultation with the locals, the council decided to dig a large hole on the outskirts of the town centre, for water 're-use' into which the townwater will be drained, and thence allowing it to flow to the Albert River. 
A public meeting was held in Yarram on 24 February to which some eighty people attended to listen to the shire's proposal. It appears that we have the right to vote whether the project goes ahead or not because - we will be paying in part for it - that is, the property owners within the CBD of Yarram. Our proportion of the cost will be $477,000 at a stated average of around $6,000 per landowner. This 'average' is a meaningless figure as the charges will be based on a rate of $7 per square metre of titled property, and thus will vary from $4,000 to $20,000 per title - a considerable sum - which may be paid off over five years - with interest of course.
The lively, well conducted meeting (by local elected Councillor Jeff Amos), raised a number of concerns from the public:
1. Was the proposal necessary, considering the relatively infrequent flooding over the footpath.
2. The council has not maintained the existing outfall drainage, especially from the James Street corner heading west and south toward the Albert River, with restictions in drainage size due to poor design and lack of maintenance. Fix the existing system, attend to regular maintenance of the drains then see what else is required. 
3. The low flat land does not appear to have the capability to allow a sufficient fall for effective drainage. The question of the level of the natural water table was raised but not discussed - this will affect effect drainage, or more strictly, the outflow from the drainage away from the town. But 'expert engineers' have said that the proposal will work. 
4. Why should any individual be required to pay for the scheme when it is a public works project for the benefit of the wider community.
5. If a general purpose charge is to be levied on the community, why is the charge levied against just the landholders who have titled property fronting Commercial Road, and some adjoining roads, rather than the whole Yarram district community, when it is recognised that the whole community would, allegedly, benefit from the drainage proposal.
6. There is concern for the health and safety of the community with respect to the 'pond' being constructed off Lawler Street. Dubbed variously 'the Pond', Mosquito Lake, and Lake Amos by the community, it is adjacent to a BMX track and youth centre. Questions have been asked whether it will be fenced. The answer from council is no, with the comment that it will be shallow, and after all, the magnificent lake at Sale is not fenced. 
7. There is concern that if the proposal is outvoted, any consideration for the drainage of Yarram that may be raised in years to come will be ignored. "You had your chance", could be the response from the Sale-based shire. 
8. Wellington shire is questioned as to why the full amount of the works was not budgeted for, particularly considering that they have had fifteen years to do so. 
9. Questions arose as to how long the works will take, and what disruption there will be to traffic, to disruption of trade, and to access to premises. 
10. Concerns were raised about the co-ordination of efforts between the Shire, Vic Roads, and the South Gippsland Water Board should the project proceed.

The consultation process with the community will extend to the end of 2011, with defined expectation dates for various stages of the process. Although no reporter from the Yarram Standard News attended the meeting (why not?), it is hoped that the lcoal paper will keep us informed of the stages of the consultative process. The general feeling expressed at the meeting, and in 'foot-path consultations' in town, is that there is a hesitation to adopt the proposal, with concern for the competency of the council with respect to engineering aspects, and to the funding method propossed.  Clearly, there will be much debate before a definitive decision is made. 

And a word to the council members present: it is common courtesy to stand up when you speak without a microphone to a large audience; speak clearly, and leave your emotions behind. Nobody is interested in your retirement in six months time and that you don't care what the outcome may be. 

Whereas Yarram and Port Albert are located in one of the finest regions of Australia, we are also in the vicinity of timber plantations and a timber mill. Some, but not all, log truck drivers seem to think they own the road and their testosterone is boosted by their own weapon of mass destruction which they drive without much consideration nor intelligence for anyone else on the road. The community has been outraged by another car-log truck accident over the Easter 2009 weekend which left one injured adult and two injured children - and a family car written off. Private legal action  is being considered as Vic Roads and police don't seem to be able to do anything if the log-trucks speed on narrow unmade roads, hog the centre of the road and cut corners - as allegedly happened recently. The situation is so bad that local residents in some areas have been issued with, or provide their own radios to tune in as to where the log-trucks are - but that is no help to visitors. Be particularly careful on Bolgers Road, Devon North; Roberts Road, Calrosssie; the Hyland Way between Traralgon and Yarram, and the Albert River Road and Christies-Albert River Road in the Binginwarrie area - and connecting roads in these areas. Visitors to beautiful Hiawatha must take exceptional care especially around the Stacy's Bridge area. 


RATEPAYERS MEETING, re Shire performance.
13 OCTOBER, 2004

Use as Indigenous Adult Recreational Diversion Program.  Information Sheet from Department of Justice. 


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Last updated 2 February 2012
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