Located on the M1 Princes Freeway, less than two hours east of Melbourne, Morwell is the centre of the Latrobe Region, one of Australia’s key industrial, electricity generation and commercial centres.
Set within rich rural surroundings, Morwell has a population of approximately 14,000 (Census SA2 2011, ABS) and sits within the Latrobe City Council municipality.
One of Morwell’s strengths is its long established multicultural community. Migrants from many nations were attracted by Morwell’s employment opportunities after the second world war, with the town’s diversity of clubs, recreational and entertainment facilities reflecting the significant influence of these nationalities over the years.
Morwell has a number of competitive advantages that include affordable housing, well, developed infrastructure, a broad range of business activities and highly skilled workforce. It has a vast array of social, sporting, cultural and educational facilities, which when combined with an affordable and high quality lifestyle, make Morwell not only a great place for business, but a great place to live.
Morwell is located in the centre of the Latrobe City, the key industrial and commercial area of Gippsland in Eastern Victoria, and has an extensive and well-established range of services and infrastructure. Morwell’s central locality (which provides the best location for servicing the Latrobe Region) and transport connections, such as Latrobe Regional Airport and the Gippsland Rail Corridor, make Morwell the ideal location for decentralised industry or commercial activities.
Morwell is well serviced by retail businesses both in central Morwell and at Mid Valley. It has an eight theatre cinema complex, excellent swimming and leisure centre and high level soccor, football and cricket facilities.
Morwell has a large variety accommodation, suiting all tastes and budgets, and is an ideal base from which to explore the Latrobe Region.
Only a short drive away are the picturesque hills of the green Strzelecki Ranges which beckon visitors to the Morwell National Park, there is the historic mining village of Walhalla, the unique Tarra Bulga National Park, numerous beaches and several snow resorts among many other local attractions.
Our sporting facilities are excellent, catering for every need, ranging from a golf course, a golf driving range, tennis courts, bowling greens, tenpin bowling, squash and many other popular sporting activities. We also have an eight screen cinema complex and leisure centre complex along with a range of cultural and social clubs.
Local tourism icons include Morwell’s Centenary Rose Garden, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Gippsland Immigration Park and Bev’s Wonderworld of Dolls.
It was the Government’s approved the construction of a railway line from Melbourne to Sale in 1873 that led to the development of the township of Morwell, with the first public sale of land taking place in January 1879 prior to the opening of the railway line in April of that year. At this time there were around ten traders operating in the town, with a brickworks, pottery, butter factory, schools and cordial factory established in the following twenty years.
The Shire of Morwell was formed in 1892. Following fires in the commercial area in both 1890 and 1912, the Morwell Waterworks Trust was formed and in December 1913 a town water supply from Billy's Creek was connected.
Morwell’s development was further fostered following the establishment of the Yallourn open cut mine and power station in the 1920s and the opening of the Maryvale Paper Mill in 1937, all of which provided Morwell with opportunities for employment and trade.
The State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) commenced work on the Morwell power station and briquette works in 1949 with production at the plant starting in 1956, which provided briquettes for domestic and industrial use, including in the production of Town Gas for Melbourne at an adjacent gasworks built by the by the Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria.
Further development by the SECV at Hazelwood strengthened Morwell’s economy, which underwent subsequent retraction in the 1980’s and 1990’s with subsequent electricity industry restructuring and privatisation.
Forming the western entrance to the Morwell Business District is the spectacular Morwell Centenary Rose Garden of international significance.
The garden which proudly showcases about 3000 roses in manicured beds , is a community project undertaken by the "Friends of the Rose Garden", volunteers and sponsors with the generous support of Latrobe City Council.
In 2009 this garden was presented with an Award of Garden Excellence by the World Federation of Rose Societies.
This Rose Garden is an outstanding example of what a community can achieve with dedication and hard work. A local councillor’s idea in 1991 was sold to the Council of the day. A site was selected, public meeting called and a Steering Committee formed. This committee has been totally responsible for the project comprising the design, fund raising, construction and on-going maintenance of the garden which was officially opened in November 1992.
The Morwell Chamber of Commerce strongly supported the Rose Garden project, providing the Committee with funds to assist in the initiation of the project, with Advance Morwell providing ongoing support in recent years, through project funding.
The 100 acre reserve was the last patch of native bush in Morwell. While it had been neglected, Peter Ryan, a nearby resident, saw the potential of this site and gathered together a committee of 10 like-minded people. This committee gained local council funding to have the area cleaned and regenerated. The Reserve is now fenced, roads made and walking tracks which follow contours constructed. In addition, a shelter, tables and chairs and breeding boxes have been provided. All this has been achieved as a result of help from various local groups, community volunteers and service organisations.
All schools in the area are Friends of the Reserve. Little Athletics, Traralgon Harriers, local football and soccer clubs all use it for training. It is also popular with horse riders. The Reserve is now home for over 170 different plants and approximately 30 native orchids. Native birds, and animals such as koalas, kangaroos, wombats are starting to return. Amenities for visitors include an information booth and picnic shelter. The committee continues to be aided by a large team of enthusiastic volunteers, and it has the continuing support of Council, sponsors such as the Lions Club of Morwell, the Rotary Club of Morwell, Advance Morwell, and the community.
Prior to the widespread use of motor vehicles, horses were widely used for farming, drawing heavy vehicles, and for personal transport. In hot weather they often became distressed when drinking water was not available. The animal loving Bills family sought to lessen horses’ distress by providing drinking troughs in various towns throughout Victoria and well beyond.In Morwell a trough was placed in Hazelwood Road opposite the then Town Hall, now the Regional Art Gallery. The Morwell trough was special as it included an attached small bowl for dogs to drink from.
In later years the trough was removed and taken to the Pony Club premises, where it fell into disrepair. Recognising its historical importance, the Morwell Historical Society decided to return the trough and dog bowl to their original position. Latrobe City Council and the Rotary Club of Morwell were responsible for repair and enhancement of the trough, before it was returned close to its original position in Hazelwood Road on June 7, 2010.
Morwell and the wider Latrobe City attracted many overseas migrants in the aftermath of the second world war, who made Gippsland their home. Recognising their contribution to the region, The Immigration Wall of Recognition was established to record the names and achievements of those migrants who came to Gippsland and helped build our community. It was officially opened in March 2007.
Airlie Bank homestead and farm occupy a special place in Morwell’s history.
The history of Airlie Bank Homestead in Morwell Victoria dates back to 1879 when David Ogilvy built Airlie Bank. David Ogilvy and his family lived there until 1897 when it was sold to Robert Bridle, his wife and seven of their ten children. The Bridle family occupied Airlie Bank until 1959.
Consisting of the homestead, outbuildings and farm of 263 acres including a large brick cheesehouse and cellar standing between the house and nearby Waterhole creek. The original homestead was made up of a brick home, a detached timber kitchen, a bathroom and pantry on the south side, and a detached four-bedroom timber building on the north side. The major water supply was provided by a brick-lined concrete-rendered underground tank and a couple of smaller underground tanks. The cheesehouse and cellar were later used for grain and chaff storage.
The building survived the floods of 1934 and the disastrous bushfires of 1939. More bushfires in 1944 destroyed the grain and chaff storage buildings. The farm was later sub-divided into what is now known as the Bridle estate
The last of the Bridle family left Airlie Bank in 1959 and although occupied for a number of years, it gradually fell into disrepair and became a target for vandals. Airlie Bank was later given to the then Shire of Morwell by the Bridle family
Airlie Bank Homestead has been restored under the guidance of Max Williamson and Advance Morwell and was re-opened to the public in 2000.
From Friday 23rd July 2010 Airlie Bank Gallery has hosted a magnificent display of dolls from every corner of the world under the name of “Bev’s Wonderworld of Dolls”. The collection will be open to the public from Tuesdays until Fridays each week during the hours of 10:00am until 3:00pm on each of those days. Other times are by appointment only.
ADVANCE MORWELL INC.
PO Box 1061, Morwell Vic 3841 | Secretary, Keith Brownbill | Tel: 03 5134 2676 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To Advance Morwell and the wider Latrobe City through unity and active community involvement.