Meet at 2.00 pm (Melway ref 33 B1) at the corner of Bonds and Stawell Roads, Lower Plenty. (Street parking is available in Montpelier Drive)
The predominant feature of this walk in the Bonds Road area, Lower Plenty is the large number of magnificent old River Red Gums that line the route. These trees are of the spreading woodland form of this species indicating that they must have been originally growing in a reasonably open setting. The walk also includes parts of the historic Cleveland Estate and the homestead “Rosehill” established by pioneer farmer Henry Stooke. The walk distance is about 3km and will take 2 to 2.5 hours.
This area was the site of the first recorded European settlement in what was to become the Shire of Eltham when the Willis brothers arrived in the late 1830s. From the southern part of Cleveland Avenue there are extensive views across and along the Yarra Valley.
The walk is open to Society members and the general public. Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions. The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.
George Bird was born in England in 1845 and arrived in Australia in 1856 as a child of assisted migrants. Soon afterwards he came out to Eltham to live with his uncle George Stebbing, working for him as bricklayer’s assistant in building, amongst others, Shillinglaw Cottage and the Anglican and Methodist Churches in Eltham. He later purchased 72 acres at the eastern end of Pitt Street (bounded by Eucalyptus Road, Mount Pleasant Road and present-day Rockliffe Street) and established the property “View Hill”, which was worked as a mixed farm and orchard.
In 1878 he married Janet Kilpatrick, who had emigrated from Scotland. They had ten children, three of whom died in infancy. The wedding in 1904 of their eldest surviving daughter Sarah (“Sis”) to Edward Pepper appears to have been quite a society event.
George was a staunch Methodist, a Church Steward and a Sunday School Superintendent in about 1890. Janet died in 1915 and George died in 1920 (though his gravestone says 1921). George’s will stated that his property was to be divided between all his children in equal shares. This necessitated subdivision of the ‘View Hill’ property, between 1922 and 1926. George, Janet and several descendants, are buried in a family plot in the cemetery.
One son, George Hugh Bird, operated a drapery store in Main Road (near Bridge Street) in around 1915.
Later, in the 1920s, he ran a greengrocer’s shop (also selling confectionery) in Main Road opposite Eltham Station. It was the first shop in Eltham to have plate glass windows. At the same time, his brother Reg had a grocery store on the station side of Main Road.
William MacMahon Ball (“Mac” Ball) was Professor of Political Science at Melbourne University from 1949 to 1968, having lectured there since 1923. He became known as an ABC commentator on international affairs from the early 1930s to the early 1960s. Between 1940 and 1944 he was Controller of Overseas Broadcasting (which later became Radio Australia). In 1945, he was political consultant to the Australian Delegation at the conference leading to the establishment of the United Nations, and in 1946 was the British Commonwealth Representative on the Allied Council during the post-war occupation of Japan.
Mac and his wife Katrine (plus daughter Jenny) came to Eltham in 1942, and in 1945 moved into an old timber cottage at the eastern end of York Street. With help from Alistair Knox, Sonia Skipper, Gordon Ford and John Harcourt, the house was totally renovated to become an early example of Eltham mud-brick.
Mac died in 1986 and is buried in Eltham Cemetery with Katrine. Part of their land backing onto Bridge Street was donated to Eltham Shire Council and is now a reserve called MacMahon Ball Paddock.
MacMahon Ball Paddock
Marshall, Marguerite; Nillumbik now and then : Eltham and beyond; with photographs by Ron Grant, Eltham 2002
Alfred Patrick Armstrong was born in England in 1825 and was employed under the renowned Isambard Kingdom Brunel as a civil engineer during the construction of the Great Western Railway and the South Wales Railway. He came to Melbourne in 1852 and purchased property in Eltham. He became a mining surveyor and was Inspector of Mines and the Mining Registrar for the St Andrews Division of the Castlemaine Mining District.
In 1855, he chaired a meeting calling for a bridge to be erected across the Yarra River between Eltham and Temple Stow. He was registered as an innkeeper in 1858, was involved in raising money for the establishment of Eltham Primary School, and was on the Eltham Cemetery Trust in 1860. He was elected to the Eltham District Road Board (forerunner of Eltham Shire Council) from 1867 to 1871 and then served as an Eltham Shire Councillor from 1871 to 1878 (including Shire President in 1873).
Alfred died in 1893, having been in ill health for some time, and is buried in the Eltham Cemetery with his wife Margaret. The monument features a tall pillar capped with a draped urn: a symbol of death.
Meet at 2.00pm at the corner of Bible and Bridge streets, Eltham (Melway ref 21 K6). The planned walk will take about two hours.
This excursion is planned to be a walk through the precinct covering John Street, Eltham and nearby streets where there are a number of mud brick houses dating from the 1940s through to quite recent times. This free guided walk passes houses built by Alistair Knox, Gordon Ford, Peter Glass and others who made significant contributions to the Eltham tradition of earth building.
Most of the route traverses streets of Josiah Holloway’s 1851 Little Eltham subdivision. We will discuss this subdivision and the origin of some of the street names. On the way to and from John Street we will view some other places of historical or heritage interest.
The walk is open to Society members and the general public. Please note that this walk does not include internal inspection of any houses.
Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.
The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.
Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham
Our meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 10th April 2018 is our Annual General Meeting, which includes the presentation of annual reports and the election of office bearers for the coming year.
At this meeting we are pleased to have a guest speaker from the Eltham Cemetery Trust to talk about their connections to our local history and how their current practices and projects continue to support artistic connections in the Eltham region.
Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham
As has happened previously at our first meeting of the year, we are going to again have a night when we will investigate some treasured pictures from our archives.
The difference this time is that we will view and discuss some photographs of Eltham, in earlier days, that you may never have
These are available due to the consistent efforts of our collections team, who over the last two years has been active in scanning and cataloguing a range of images to our pages on the Victorian Collections website.
Members and visitors are welcome to attend this meeting, on Wednesday 13th February 2018, at 8:00 pm at the Eltham Senior Citizen’s Centre. We look forward to seeing you then.
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia