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Morwell

Morwell is a town in the Latrobe Valley area of Gippsland, in South-Eastern Victoria, Australia approximately 149 km (93 mi) east of Melbourne.

Details

  • Area:44.795 km2
  • Elevation:88 m
  • Population:13,771
  • Local Government Area:Latrobe City Council

Description

Morwell is a town in the Latrobe Valley area of Gippsland, in South-Eastern Victoria, Australia approximately 149 km (93 mi) east of Melbourne. Morwell has a population of approximately 14,026 people.It is both the seat of local government and administrative centre for the City of Latrobe. Morwell is located in the centre of the Latrobe Valley urban area, which had a total population of 75,031 in 2018, and is home to many of the greater urban area's civic institutions, administrative functions and infrastructure. The city is known for its role as a major energy production centre for Victoria as the centre of a major coal mining and fossil-fuel power generation industry. Morwell has a rose garden in the business district, whichwon an award in 2009 for 'garden of excellence'. # History The earliest inhabitants of the Morwell district were the Braiakaulung people, one of the five Indigenous Australian clans of the Gunai/Kurnai nation. The Braiakaulung people manufactured stone tools, as long as 5,000 years ago, from silcrete quarries in the Haunted Hills, west of Morwelland the Gunai/Kurnai had lived in the region for more than 20,000 years, according to evidence found at the New Guinea II cave near Buchan, Victoria.The first Europeans to travel through the are include party of Count Pawel Strzelecki on their journey from the Snowy Mountains in April 1840, after Strzelecki had named Australia's highest peak as Mount Kosciuszko. In 1838, Scottish pastoralist Angus McMillanrode horses up the Latrobe River near Sale, but not as far as Morwell, then made further journeys to Latrobe River after Strzelecki had visited the area. McMillan named the region as 'Caledonia Australis' after his homeland, but the preferred name was 'Gipps Land', later becoming Gippsland, as chosen by Strzelecki in honour of New South Wales Governor George Gipps.The first Europeans to take land in Morwell were called squatters and ran pastoral leases such as the 17,300 acre Hasellwood (later called Hazelwood) established by Albert Eugene Brodribb and William Bennett in October 1844, the 22,900 acre Mary Ville (later called Maryvale) established by Thomas Gorringe in February 1845, the 24,780 acre Merton Rush station established by Henry Scott in 1846 and the 5,730 acre Scrubby Forest established by Nicol Brown and William Hunter in 1848.The 1870s were a time of railway building in Victoria. In 1873 the government approved the construction of a railway line from Melbourne to Sale and it was this decision which gave rise to the development of the township of Morwell. The railway station was approximately 3 miles (5 km) from the settlement by the river, leading to new development occurring around the railway station.The first public sale of land in the town took place in January 1879 but there were at least ten traders operating in the town by that time, a Post Office in the township having been open since 1875 (an earlier PO having served the rural area from 1870 to 1873). On 1 January 1880 Morwell PO was renamed Morwell Bridge and Morwell Railway Station PO (open since 1877) became the main Morwell PO.Even in the 1880s, coal was seen to be of importance to Morwell. In 1888, two coal mining companies were established—The Great Morwell Coal Mining Company and the Maryvale Proprietary Coal Mining Company. Both these companies produced steam coal and were part of the industrial growth of the town which included timber getting, food processing (butter and cordial factories), brick and pottery manufacture and the transport of goods along the main railway line. Fires in the commercial area in 1890 and 1912 caused major damage to shops. This led to the formation of the Morwell Waterworks Trust and in December 1913 a town water supply from Billy's Creek was connected.The development of the Yallourn open cut coal mine and power station in the 1920s contributed to Morwell's development, providing employment and trade.Work on the Morwell power station and briquette works commenced in 1949 by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV), when field works on the Morwell open cut mine commenced, and briquette production equipment was ordered from Germany. It was originally known as the Morwell Power Station and is now known as Energy Brix. Production at the plant started in 1956, with the briquettes produced used for domestic and industrial use. As well as this a town gas production for Melbourne at an adjacent gasworks by the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria was built.The 1980s were a growth period for the township of Morwell. Schools were built to educate the children of families settling in the area. A major Research and Development project into the conversion of brown coal into oil, (Brown Coal Liquefaction Victoria or BCLV) was established in Morwell in 1983/84. Funded by the Japanese Government at a cost of over one billion dollars this project established a 50 tonne per day pilot plant which ran until 1991. The project saw several hundred Japanese families move to the area and led to the establishment of a unique educational experiment in the form of a Japanese/Australian combined curriculum at the Commercial Road Primary School.Thriving on the success of the power industry, Morwell developed into a city offering substantial housing and financial opportunities for its many residents. With the general growth of the Latrobe Valley, Morwell's success appeared destined to continue. However, the approval by the City of Morwell to build the Mid Valley Shopping Centre complex away from the CBD led to the decline of the CBD, with many empty shopfronts the result. Further, restructuring and privatisation of the State Electricity Commission in the 1990s led to massive job losses in the region, which accelerated the decline of Morwell's central business district. Many shops are now empty and in a state of disrepair.Amalgamation of the local councils following a Statewide review of local government boundaries in 1994 saw Morwell become part of the City of Latrobe and the civic centre established in Traralgon. With the re-establishment of an elected council, the civic centre was moved back to Morwell and the new council building constructed in 2005 in the hope of leading to a revitalisation of the city centre. Unfortunately, that revitalisation failed to eventuate. The new justice precinct was completed in 2006 and has somewhat increased CBD activity as alleged criminals come to the Morwell justice precinct for processing through the Justice System. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in March 2011 show the average wage of Morwell residents to be the lowest of the three major Latrobe Valley towns.Morwell is the headquarters of the Central Gippsland Institute of Technical and Further Education. It contains a major regional art gallery with an excellent local collection and is noted for its extensive rose gardens. Nearby at Churchill is the Gippsland Campus of Federation University. A commemorative bust of Lt Gen Sir Stanley Savige was erected in 2006. Born in Morwell, Savige founded Legacy Australia following World War 1 to assist widows and families of servicemen. Morwell is home to the Morwell Centenary Rose Garden, a parkland of over 2 hectares on a former railway reserve that showcases over 3500 roses. In 2009 the garden was presented an 'Award of Garden Excellence' by the World Federation of Rose Societies. # Weather # Things to do

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