Professor Bear – Chapter 1

Day 1 – Friday, November 19, 2016

Today’s cooler weather is such a relief after yesterday’s 30 degree heat; far too hot for me in my fur coat. Pam and Richard, who have been looking after me these last few days, have told me I can come on their WU3A Lakes Entrance Trip.  I am very excited but also nervous as I do not know many of my other fellow travellers. I am to wear my new blue jumper by Norma Creations, embroidered with the WU3A logo.

At 8 am we boarded the bus at Thomastown and then on to Epping to pick up the remainder of the group. I was amazed at the heavy morning traffic that made for slow going.  Will we ever get out of Melbourne!  I was introduced personally to each of my fellow travellers who quickly made me feel welcome.  Relaxed, I made my way to the best seat in the bus, up front beside our bus driver, Allan, who seems a good sort of chap and a safe and experienced driver.

Finally, we were on the Princes Highway and after a quick morning tea stop at a picnic ground beside Gumbuya Park, Tynong, we travelled to Traralgon where we stopped for lunch.  Everyone got off the bus, but I was forgotten.  No matter, I had a nice nap.

Back on the Princes Highway and on to the Latrobe Valley and the former Loy Yang Power Station, now Power Works Visitor Information/Energy Education Centre, where our Guide is to give an informative talk on the history of the Valley and the enormous coal deposits that lie beneath.

Once again, I was forgotten and left on the bus.  Didn’t anyone think I might be interested!! 

After the talk, I was remembered, so thank you Glenys, because now I could have my photo taken beside the statue of General Sir John Monash, an important and respected Military Commander of the First World War whom I had learned about on Remembrance Day, (Nov.11).  Sir John, a skilled engineer, was the first Chairman of the State Electricity Commission.  Mary R then took me to where we could look out over the Valley and see the giant… (please insert info from photo) which was used to extract the brown coal from the ground. 

Back on the bus I read the Fact Sheet handed out by the Guide which gave a time line from the discovery of brown coal in 1873 to the present.  Some of the dates are:

1889 early mining of coal by a private company begins. 1921 the formation of the State Electricity Commission to generate and distribute electricity. 1924 power begins to flow down transmission lines to Melbourne and in 1982 production begins at Loy Yang open-cut mine. 

A diagram and video showed the process of converting coal into electricity.

 Some of the group took a photo of a mural depicting the artist’s impression of what the valley looked like in prehistoric times. In front of the mural were two skeletons of kangaroos, one of which had actually been found embedded in the coal at Loy Yang. 

During the day, Allan pointed out places of interest while Richard handed out presents and lollies. 

We then returned to our Motel for some free time before dinner.  What a great day and by now I was one of the gang and would not be forgotten again. Thankfully I can now sleep ready for a new busy day tomorrow.