Station’s migration link highlighted

A submission to the Heritage Council regarding an application to have the Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factory listed on the Victorian Heritage Register by the proponent of the listing has argued that the site is inherently linked to the region’s immigration history.

Moe community activist Cheryl Wragg is the proponent for heritage listing the site and said her submission was one of about 30 made to the Heritage Council on the issue.

Submissions closed in late July with a full hearing of the Heritage Council to be held in Morwell in October.

“My submission supports the heritage listing and provided additional heritage-related information about the relationship of the Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factories to the immigration history of the Latrobe Valley and to the history of the people who advised the State Electricity Commission of Victoria about the need for the power station and briquette factory,” Ms Wragg said.

“The information shows that Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factories not only meets three of the criteria identified by Heritage Victoria but also meets another two criteria and possibly another one criteria, totalling six out of eight criteria required under one legislation.

“Only one criteria is required for listing under state legislation, however it is possible that it meets six of the eight.”

In her submission, Ms Wragg argued the workforce of the Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factory was “populated with immigrants drawn to the region by work and accommodation made available by the significant expansion of the SECV Latrobe Valley scheme serviced with state-provided accommodation in the SECV towns of the Valley”.

She said Australia’s multiculturalism was well known, however it was perhaps less known the Latrobe Valley’s status as one of the most multicultural places in Australia.

“Many Latrobe Valley residents even today are very aware of their grandparents who migrated to Australia and into the Latrobe Valley after the Second World War. They came here for a job at the SECV building the Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factory and the expansion of Yallourn Power Station and for house and home,” Ms Wragg said.

“This led to a concentration of post-World War II immigrants in the Latrobe Valley that was unsurpassed anywhere else in Victoria and in the mid 1950’s, nationally.”

As a result, Ms Wragg said it was “extremely fitting” that the Gippsland immigration park is located in Morwell close to the Morwell Power Station and Briquette Factories.

“The Latrobe Valley Italian community is to be congratulated on that initiative and hopefully with the heritage listing of the Morwell Power Station and Brick Factories we can continue that celebration of the Latrobe Valley’s special identity and extremely important place in Victorian history,” Ms Wragg said.

Among the submissions to the Victorian Heritage Council was Latrobe City Council’s submission which supported the listing of the site on the Victorian Heritage Register.