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Unveiling the stories of Wonthaggi

Unveiling the stories of Wonthaggi

Tuesday 28 February 2023

The local significance and tragic history of the No. 20 coal mine shaft site at Dalyston has been remembered with brand new, striking signage which was unveiled yesterday. The landmark has also been profiled as part of an intriguing podcast series documenting the heritage of Wonthaggi.

Bass Coast Shire Council together with the Wonthaggi and District Historical Society have partnered with Storytowns, a group of travel-loving adventurers who record interviews with regional personalities to produce interactive geo-located podcast tours, to create a series about Wonthaggi.

The Storytowns Wonthaggi History Tour features seven stories about local icons, including the No. 20 Shaft on Bass Highway where 17 men lost their lives in two separate explosions on 20 February 1931 and 15 February 1937.

The episode coincides with the unveiling of new signage to commemorate the significance of the site, while complementing recent preservation and maintenance works undertaken by Council. The space, gives the community and visitors a place to remember, grieve and learn.

Bass Coast Shire Council Deputy Mayor, Cr Rochelle Halstead, was present at the unveiling:

“Marking the space at the Number 20 Coal Shaft is vitally important for our community – as it represents the worker’s foundations on which Wonthaggi was built, the brave lives lost but is also a stark lesson for today. The tragedies of 1931 and 1937 are weaved into our history, tightening the bonds of our community and a continuing respect for previous generations that we still feel today. Almost 100 years on, Wonthaggi’s pioneering industrial roots continue to inspire as we look to a renewable vision today.”

The podcast series also features stories about well-known street artist Jimmy Dvate’s local murals, the historic Union Theatre, mysterious whale bone at the Wonthaggi Hotel, and the town’s railway precinct.

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor Michael Whelan said documenting Wonthaggi’s rich, varied and, at times, quirky history meant the local stories could be savoured by the community and visitors for generations to come.

“This incredible audio series allows our community and visitors to uncover the hidden treasures, right here in the heart of Bass Coast,” Cr Whelan said.

“The episodes deepen the knowledge of listeners about places they know, while revealing intriguing secrets and stories on the less familiar.

“Storytowns’ fascinating interviews will drive excitement and curiosity about Wonthaggi, which we hope will foster greater awareness about the town and increased visitation that translates to a boost for our economy.”

The Storytowns Wonthaggi audio tour can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

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