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Moe, VIC

City in the heartland of the Latrobe Valley.

Moe is located at the western end of the Latrobe Valley on the Princes Highway. The area to the west of the city was originally an extensive swamp which was bounded to the north by the Great Dividing Range and to the south by the Strzelecki Ranges. The swamp was prized for its food resources by the Boonwurrung people who occupied the area. Moe is surrounded by the flood plains of the Latrobe River and the Narracan Creek. Today it is a city which has suffered from the changing nature of coal mining. The main attractions in the district remain the impressive power stations and open cut mining operations. There is an excellent historical village known as Old Gippstown.


Moe is located 136 km south-east of Melbourne via the Princes Highway. It is 70 metres above sea level.


Origin of Name

The area was originally known as 'The Moe' or the 'Mowie' swamp. It is claimed that the town's name derives from a Boonwurrung or Kurnai First Nations word meaning "the marshy nature of the area".


Things to See and Do

Old Gippstown - Gippsland Heritage Park
Located at 211 Lloyd Street, Moe's main attraction is Gippsland Heritage Park, a pioneer township consisting of forty-seven relocated buildings from the Gippsland region and set on 8 acres (3.2 ha) of land at the western end of town. The buildings date from the 1840s through to the 1930s and include: 
* Bushy Park homestead, originally situated on the Avon River at Briagolong, was built by Gippsland explorer, Angus McMillan, in 1850, out of pit-sawn redgum timber, after the original homestead had been destroyed in a bush fire. It is on the National Trust Register. 
* Holy Trinity Anglican Church which was dedicated in 1895 and deconsecrated in 1968.
* 'Loren', dating back to 1853 or 1854, is one of the few remaining examples of the prefabricated iron houses which were once imported from Great Britain. It was initially located at 62 Curzon St, North Melbourne. It was moved to Gippstown in 1968 and was the first building on the site.
* The Cobb and Co. Coach Inn, known as Rhodens Halfway House, is a slab building with lath and plaster outer walls that was built in 1850. It was originally located east of Packenham on the Melbourne to Sale run. 
* The miner's hut was erected on the Tanjil goldfields c.1860 and is a good example of the bark huts which once dotted the Gippsland goldfields. 
* Once the office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths, the Neerim post office, as it became in 1920, sold sweets, stationery and school supplies. 
* Sunny Creek School, built in 1889 on Sunny Creek Road, between Traralgon and Yarragon, is one of the few surviving examples of a weatherboard design once common in Gippsland. It continued to operate as a school until 1966.
* Meeniyan National Bank (1889) - originally built as the Colonial Bank of Australia, it became the National Bank in 1914. It has a mock stone facade and pressed tin ceilings.
* Narracan Mechanic's Institute Hall (1905) which is notable for its collection of 2,300 library books. They can be viewed by appointment. There is also a Travelling Book Box which contains 40 original books.
This list is far from comprehensive. Other items of interest are a general store, a church, a doctor's residence, a livery stable, a seamstress's shop from Traralgon and the Kilmany railway station and platform, complete with a K-class locomotive. There is also a number of collections including a tinsmith's collection and a superb collection of horse-drawn vehicles, including the Gippsland Omnibus, which still carries up to twelve people around the town. Tel: (03) 5127 3082. It is open from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm. Check out http://www.gippslandheritagepark.com.au for details. There is a brochure available at the entrance which provides detailed information on all the buildings in the park.

Botanic Gardens
Located off Narracan Drive this pleasant parkland is ideal for picnics and quiet walks. It does have a range of exotic and native trees and the Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail (for both bicycles and walkers) runs through the northern and western edges of the gardens.


Other Attractions in the Area

Lake Narracan
Located to the north of Yallourn and Yallourn Power Station, Lake Narracan is an artificial lake on the Latrobe River with a surface area of 281 ha which is used to cool the power stations in the area. It is suitable for power boating, water skiing, jet skiing, sail boarding and sailing as well as swimming and the shore is ideal for picnics. There are boardwalks around the shoreline. For more information check out http://www.visitlatrobevalley.com/pages/lake-narracan.

Moe-Yallourn Rail Trail
Departing from Bennett Street on the eastern side of Moe and ending at Yallourn Power Station on Eastern Road, this is a pleasant flat, 8.5 km gravel track which passes through farmland and offers pleasant views over the lake. In spring there are wildflowers and it offers impressive views of the Yallourn power station. The rail track replaces the railway from Moe to Yallourn which was constructed in the 1950's and which joined the main line between Moe and Morwell.  The new line was closed in 1986 when briquette production was moved to Morwell. It is ideal for both walking and cycling. For more information check out https://railtrails.org.au/trail?view=trail&id=207.

Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve
The Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve is 58 ha of protected bushland located off Coalville Road. It is one of the largest pieces of pre-European native vegetation in Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley. The website - https://ehhbreserve.wordpress.com - is particularly good on the fauna and flora within the reserve. It is worth consulting before walking on the tracks through the reserve. For example, here is what it has to say about the flora: "Flora in the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve is diverse and typical of ‘lowland forest’ and ‘fern swamp’ descriptors. It also includes many exotic or non-indigenous plants. Variability in the type of flora occurs throughout the Reserve depending on factors such as topography, moisture and soil type. For example, whilst the overstorey and canopy consists of a healthy diversity of Eucalypt species including E. cephalocarpa (Silver Stringybark), Yertchuk, Messmate and Narrow-leaf Peppermint, the canopy in drier areas tends to be lower and has a greater density of younger trees. Common and dominant tree and shrub species of the middle storey include Exocarpos cupressiformis (Cherry Ballart), Banksia spinulosa (Hairpin Banksia), Banksia marginata (Silver Banksia), Cassinia aculeata (Common Cassinia), Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood) and Daviesia latifolia (Hop Bitterpea). Drier north-facing slopes tend towards a less dense middle storey with a sparse cover of species such as Acacia myrtifolia (Myrtle Wattle) and a more comprehensive ground storey of grasses and forbs. Moister flats and gullies include a predominance of species such as Olearia lirata (Snowy Daisy Bush), Polyscias sambucifolius (Elderberry Panax) and Leptospermum continentale (Prickly Tea-tree) and a lack of ground storey species. Ferns include Gleichenia microphylla (Scrambling coral fern.)" It is an ideal primer for visitors keen to see this rare piece of native vegetation. There is also a downloadable list of the birds which can be seen in the reserve. Check out https://ehhbreserve.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/bird-listing-july-20131.pdf.

A Circular Route from Moe - The Power Station and Mines of the Latrobe Valley
The route from Moe is as follow (the numbers relate to the download brochure - download from http://images.bookeasy.com.au/website/images/latrobe/A3%20Power%20Drive%20Mar%202017.pdf or http://www.visitlatrobevalley.com/pages/scenic-driving) - it is called the Power Drive 98:
Head east from Moe on the Princes Freeway and north to Yallourn and Yallourn North. This is a circular route around the main attractions in the Latrobe Valley. You will start by seeing :

10. Yallourn Mine Lookout
Drive west along the Princes Freeway and turn north to Yallourn and Yallourn North. On the road north there is an excellent viewing area looking over the Yallourn Open Cut. Coal has been mined here since 1921. There is a map at the lookout which shows where the town of Yallourn, which was built in 1921 and which once had a population of  5,000, stood until 1971 when it was dismantled and moved so that the coal underneath could be accessed.

11. Yallourn Power Station
Located to the east of the road to Yallourn North, this huge open cut mine started in 1924 and was the site of Victoria’s first permanent power station. The Yallourn East Coal Field river diversion provided access to new reserves which means the mine can keep operating for another 30 years. 

13. Yallourn North and Old Brown Coal Mine Museum
The small town of Yallourn North was created as a Brown Coal Mine and now has, as its major attraction, the Old Brown Coal Mine Museum which is located on the corner of Third Street and Latrobe River Road. t is located in the YMCA, or Youth Club, hall. It was opened as a museum in 2001. The museum contains extensive displays of photographs, three shop fronts, collections of memorabilia, a turbine generator, detailed scale models of the dredges and Yallourn W Power Station and a No.8 Dredge Drivers Cabin. It is open Sunday from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm and Monday-Tuesday 10.00 am - 2.30 and shorter times in winter. Check out http://yallournnorth.vic.au/old-brown-coal-mine-museum or tel: (03) 5167 1046.

1. Miner's Lookout
Drive from Yallourn North to Traralgon (Yallourn North Road and the Princes Freeway) and at Traralgon follow the C482 (Traralgon Creek Road) road south towards Loy Yang. The Miner’s Lookout offers an excellent view of the Loy Yang Open Cut Mine with the Power Station to the south of the mine.

2. Loy Yang A & B Power Station
Continue on Traralgon Creek Road and the Loy Yang Power Station is clearly visible on the eastern side of the road.  Construction began in 1977 and it started producing electricity between 1984-1988. It currently has an output of 2,200 MW and it’s two chimneys are 260 metres high. Construction of Loy Yang B commenced in 1985 and it came online in 1993, when the first of its two 500 MW generating units began operation. The second commenced commercial operation in 1996. It produces 1000 MW of electricity. For more information check out http://www.gdfsuezau.com/about-us/asset/Loy-Yang-B-Power-Station.

5. Hazelwood Power Station
Drive west to Churchhill and then continue on Switchback Road. Turn north onto Yinnar Road and on your left you will see the Hazelwood Power Station. The Hazelwood Power Station was closed down in April, 2017. It was supposed to close in 2005 but was privatised and the government allowed it to keep operating. At its peak, when it was Victoria's second largest power generator, it had  a capacity of 1600 megawatts and required 160 million litres of cooling water. Hazelwood used thermal brown coal. It commenced operations in 1964 and had eight boiler-turbine units. When it was operating water left the plant at up to 50 °C and cooled as it travelled to the Pondage.

3. Hazelwood Mine
The mine had a surface area of 300 ha and at its peak it employed five dredges extracting 19 million tonnes of brown coal each year. The coal was carried on conveyor belts to the power stations. In recent times there has been talk of allowing the mine to fill with water and using it as a picnic and bird watching facility with a walking track, wetlands and a waterfowl refuge.

4. Jeeralang Power Station
If you return to Churchill and head north towards Morwell on Tramway Road you pass the Jeeralang Power Station which was opened in 1971 and is currently controlled by Ecogen Energy. It is a gas turbine peaking station which operates on natural gas from Bass Strait. Within 12 minutes the station can supply an extra 449 MW to the state's power grid. Jeeralang consists of seven gas turbines configured to operate in single cycle mode. The plant is divided into two stations, "A" Station which consists of four gas turbines with a combined capacity of 220 MW and "B" Station comprised of three gas turbines with a combined capacity of 240 MW.

6. Morwell Terminal Station
The Morwell Terminal Station can be viewed from Monash Way north of Churchill and south of the Princes Freeway. It is the main source of supply for a major part of south-east Victoria including all of Gippsland. The geographic coverage of the station’s supply area spans from Phillip Island to Bairnsdale and Mallacoota. 

7. Energy Brix Australia
On the left as Monash Way heads towards the Princes Freeway, is Australia's largest co-generation manufacturing complex. Between 1956 and 2014 it produced both electricity and brown coal briquettes. At its peak Latrobe Valley Coalfields produced about 300,000 tonnes of briquettes each year. It was progressively demolished starting in 2017.

8. Morwell Open Cut Mine
Located to the south of the Princes Freeway this huge open cut mine was the second to be established in the Latrobe Valley. It is hard to stop (as it is a freeway) but if you look south you can see dredges which, at their peak, extracted 19 million tonnes of brown coal each year. The mine is expected to continue operating until 2030. The best viewing point for the mine is at the PowerWorks Visitors Centre.

9. PowerWorks Visitors Centre
The PowerWorks Visitor Centre is a coal and power museum  which was operated by the Latrobe Valley power generation operators until it was closed in 2012. It was gifted to the community by AGL Loy Yang, GDF Suez Hazelwood and Energy Australia Yallourn. It has since been reopened with volunteers who curate the exhibits and interactive displays and it offers lots of information about the changing nature of power generation. It provides good views over the Morwell open-cut mining operation. The main feature is Dredger 21, the huge No. 21 Bucket Wheel Dredger which was the first of its type to operate in the Morwell mine and was originally used to remove the overburden. The sign records: 'The postwar years brought about radical change to mining methods and the use of this kind of bucketwheel technology is now commonly used throughout the Australian mining industry.' Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10.00 am – 3.00 pm. For more information check out  http://www.powerworks.net.au. Get back onto the Princes Freeway and return west to Moe.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Boonwurrung First Nations people.

* In 1840 the explorer, Angus McMillan, passed through the area and named the Latrobe River, the Glengarry River.

* The two earliest runs in the region, Haslewood and Maryville, were taken up in the mid-1840s.

* A man named Walsh led a party of Aboriginal police into the region in 1845 or 1846 and a pastoral holding, named 'Merton Bush', was later taken out in the vicinity by Henry Scott.

* A small gold discovery was made in the district in 1852.

* The area was settled in the 1850s and the township of Moe was originally located 3 km to the north of its present site. At the time it was known as Westbury.

* A Post office was opened in 1862.

* The town was moved to its current site when the railway arrived from Morwell in 1877.

* The local Narracan shire was proclaimed in 1878.

* The railway from Melbourne reached the town in 1879.

* The Moe town site was surveyed in 1879. That year saw the building of banks, a church, a school and hotels.

* The Mechanics Institute was built in 1884. That same year the Moe Forest Reserve was opened for selection.

* The shire offices were opened in 1885.

* A mine, which had operated at Yallourn North between 1887 and 1899, was reopened in 1916.

* Between 1894-1899 the swamps around the town were drained.

* A railway line from Moe to Walhalla was opened in 1910.

* The Princes Highway from Melbourne was constructed after World War I.

* The State Electricity Commission began building a power station in 1922.

* The power station opened in 1924 it became the primary source of energy in the state.

* The model town of Yallourn was developed in order to house the workers.

* From 1925 the coal was also made into briquettes for domestic and industrial use.

* The arrival of bucket dredges and electric locomotives in the late 1920s and early 1930s saw the acceleration of production at the Yallourn mine site.

* Several thousand more homes were built between 1947 and 1952 to attract employees.

* By 1955 the population of the town had reached 13,500.

* Gas was produced from the coal between 1956 and 1969.

* Moe was declared a borough in 1955

* Moe became a city in 1963.

* In 1969 the SEC announced they were phasing out Yallourn.

* A power station was constructed at Hazelwood in 1971.

* Demolition of Yallourn commencing in the 1970s and was completed in 1982. It became a coal mine. The population of Yallourn was relocated to Moe, Traralgon and Morwell.

* A new 1450 megawatt plant was opened at Yallourn West in the 1970s.

* The Victorian power industry was privatised in the 1990s by the Kennett government.

* The local hospital closed in 1998.


Visitor Information

There is no visitor information in Moe. The closest is Latrobe Visitor Information Centre, 41 Princes Street, Traralgon, tel: (03) 5176 3030 and 1800 621 409.


Useful Websites

Visit Victoria has a useful site about Moe. Check out http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Gippsland/Destinations/Moe.

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2 suggestions
  • If memory serves me correct it was the labour government who started privatisation with selling of Loy yang (A or B )

    • Not quite correct. The Guardian reported: “Australia’s Loy Yang A power station will remain available to operate until mid-2035 under an agreement signed between its owner AGL Energy and the Victorian government aimed at providing certainty to workers, the community and industry.”

      Bruce Elder