Heritage Walk: Murray’s Farm – 2 May, 2pm

Saturday 2nd May 2015 at 2.00pm

May Excursion

Murray’s Farm originally established by John (Black Jack) Murray in the 1850s ultimately comprised some 190 acres and stretched across the Diamond Creek valley at Eltham North from Ryans Road to Zig Zag Road. Today it is largely a residential area but with extensive parklands along the Diamond Creek and an undeveloped area around the hilltop site of the former farmhouse.

The history of this farm includes its transition from orcharding to dairying to beef cattle and ultimately to residential subdivision. The creek area includes the features now known as Murrays Wetlands and Murrays Bridge, the former farm crossing of the creek, now adapted for pedestrian and bicycle use.

For our excursion on 2nd May we intend to walk around the creek parkland and discuss the history of this farm and surrounding area. At the conclusion of the walk there will be the opportunity to drive to the location of the former Murray house for views over a large area of the farm.

This short walk is about 1.5 km in length. The excursion is expected to take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the car park of the Eltham North Reserve in Wattletree Road opposite Banks Road. (Melway ref.11 K12)

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members……… but numbers are limited.

Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

Phone number of contact on the day is 0409 021 063

EDHS Excursion flyer 2 May 2015

Montmorency Railway Station

Photo: The train to Montmorency crossing the Sherbourne Road overpass, c.1970 – courtesy of Russell Yeoman.

When the railway came to Eltham in 1902 it traversed an extensive farm and bushland area between Greensborough and Eltham, known as the Montmorency Estate. This 925 acre property, Crown Portion 3, Parish of Nillumbik, was purchased from the Crown in 1840 by Stuart Alexander Donaldson. He soon sold the land but then it remained in the ownership of the Donnithorne family for very many years. A public road from Eltham to Greensborough was constructed through the land, (part of today’s Sherbourne Road and Karingal Drive). Apart from that the land remained intact until acquisition of land for the railway which ran through the middle of the estate.

In 1911 the whole of the estate was subdivided and sold as the Greensborough Railway Station Estate. It comprised two sections, one being 52 half-acre residential lots, taking in most of today’s Briar Hill. The balance of the land was subdivided into lots, generally
of about 10 acres each. New roads were created through the land including Sherbourne, Rattray and Mountain View Roads. The development was promoted as having access to the railway at Greensborough station but there was no station within this estate.

By 1923 a community had developed within the Montmorency Estate. It included a school and St Faiths Anglican Church. Local residents and the Eltham Shire Council became involved in moves to have a railway station opened at Montmorency. Many years later Shire Secretary Max Watson assembled a file of correspondence and newsletter articles on the station and this file forms part of our Society records.

The proposed station site had no road access and the Railways Department required that access be provided before it would open a station. The streets opened for this purpose are Mayona Road, Were Street and Binns Street.

The file indicates that there was widespread community agreement to the project which included provision of roads through private property and payment of construction costs by residents. This enabled the Council to provide a guarantee to the Railways Department to enable construction of the station to commence. It was noted that 40 people had agreed to buy train tickets.

As the project proceeded a level of disagreement between neighbours became apparent. Some were donating land for roads but others required payment. Those donating land did not think that they should be paying any costs. Some thought that the roads should only be available for use by those involved in the scheme. Dr. G Nicholson was only prepared to donate his land if the roads were available for public access.

The station opened on 5th September 1923. Children and the School Committee were granted a joy ride to Eltham and back.

It seems that the disagreements in the community were resolved and the Council constructed the access roads soon after the station opened.

The establishment of the station at Montmorency led to development of the area for residential purposes. By the end of the 1920s many of the large blocks of the Montmorency Estate had been subdivided into conventional suburban building blocks and soon the fledgling Montmorency shopping centre appeared in Were Street.

Eltham and District 1865

The Victorian Gazetteer – 1865

Eltham
37º 44’ S. lat., 145° 10’ E. long. (Co. Evelyn), is a postal village in the parish of Nillumbik, and electoral district of Eltham, situated 14 miles from Melbourne on the road to Queenstown. The river Yarra is 1½ mile distant. There is a steam flour mill (Dendy’s), a brewery, and a tannery in the village. The neighbourhood is generally elevated and rangy, except along the course of the creek. It is principally pastoral, with but little agricultural land. In several of the gullies in the vicinity gold has been found in small quantities, but there is no gold field known by any distinctive name. From 3 to 4 miles N.W. are two quartz reefs, known as Phipp’s and Orme’s reefs, both on private property. The nearest towns are Warringal, 6½ miles S.W.; Templestowe, 3 miles S.; Greensborough 2½ miles N.W.; and Kangaroo ground 6 miles N. There is communication with Warringal and the Kangaroo ground by coach, but none with the other places, except by horse or dray. The distance from Melbourne is 14 miles, and there is communication up and down on the Wood’s Point line each day. The hotels are the Eltham and the Fountain. There are no regular carriers or coaching offices, but parcels left at the hotels are taken up by the coach, and goods are taken to New Chum, Wood’s Point, and Melbourne, both by horse and bullock drays. Eltham is under the control of a road board, the population is about 350; and the geological formation is upper silurian rock with sandstone shales, &c.

The Eltham electoral division commences at a point on the river Plenty due W. of the southern boundary of portion 1, Section 12, parish of Morang; thence E. to Arthur’s creek; thence by that creek to a point due W. of Stevenson’s bridge; thence E. to the said bridge; thence S. to the river Yarra-Yarra; and thence by the rivers Yarra Yarra and Plenty to the commencing point.

The Eltham road board district has an area of 344,960 acres, and an estimated population of 1500 persons, the number of dwellings being about 150. The total value of rateable property amounts of £55,000; the estimated annual value of rateable property amounts to £6,800; the revenue from all sources to £1614 13s. 10d.; and the expenditure to £2,082 17s. 9d.

Eltham Bakehouse Secrets

The following newspaper article comes from the Diamond Valley Local, Tuesday, February 16th, 1954.

It relates to a site at the corner of York Street and Main Road, Eltham. It contained a weatherboard shop and dwelling fronting Main Road and a brick bakery at the rear fronting York Street. The shop was at various times a baker’s shop and a grocery shop. These buildings were demolished in 1979 and replaced by residential units named Bakehouse Court.

Murder Mystery-3-2

“WAS WOMAN FOUND IN WELL PUT IN IT? 

Eltham Bakehouse was the scene of a drama whose details have never been cleared. Was the woman whose body 
was found in the old well inside the back part of the home murdered by her husband? Eltham bakehouse and residence now
 occupied by Mr Jim Arnett and family is 
one of the very old residences of Eltham.
 Mr J J Burgoyne, father of J N Burgoyne, 
so long known in Eltham in connection
 with the P.O. and store took over the bakery 
in 1896. At that time mystery was at its height, 
for the baker’s wife had been found down the well.

Did she fall, or was she pushed? No one knows.

But her ghost didn’t trouble the Burgoyne family, who had plenty of work on hand. The bakehouse supplied 20 large loaves of bread a day to far-scattered pioneers. Mr Burgoyne recalls his breadcarting days, and says that roads were rough. But they had metal on them. At least that puts them a few points ahead of how they stand today. 
When the bakehouse was sold six years later it baked 200 loaves a day.
 All of this is early history stuff, now being collected by the LOCAL. It has some wonderful stories, too.

Right, or Else 

Today, the quaint old house is still giving shelter and the bakehouse is equipped with an automatic “no-hands-touch-anything” machine which forms 2,000 large loaves an hour.
 What happens inside that bakehouse is worth telling. Strong and weak flours are blended to make dough. 
Strong flour alone would provide a loaf burst everywhere and misshapen. 
Weak flour bakes into a hard, miniature loaf.
 Just the right mix has yeast food added, then a malt improver, then vitamised powdered milk, then yeast, and finally water.
 The temperature of the dough is carefully regulated. If it goes over 82F. there is trouble. Ice water keeps it back in very hot weather. 
Acid calcium phosphate is added to prevent sourness during hot spells.  A lot of trouble isn’t it? But if the dough is one degree over 82F the oven will require 15 degrees more heat.
 The huge 18ft. by 15ft. Scotch oven is fired to 550F. Its firebricks glow all over. When the dough is ready a very wet cloth is scuffled over the floor of the oven. This produces steam and temporarily cools the sole of the oven to 500F. The burn on the sole of the oven is just taken out long enough to save burning the bottoms of the loaves.

Endless Care 

Loaves stay 35 to 40 minutes in the oven. Then they are turned out on to movable wire-mesh trolleys. Old J J Burgoyne would indeed be astonished
 if he could see what has been put inside his 
old bakehouse without changing the outside appearance.
 There are some thousands of pounds’ worth of the most modern machinery very much in use inside.
 Master baker Jim Arnett is obviously a man who takes a pride in the quality of the bread he bakes. The trouble and care taken is a revelation to anyone who hasn’t thought previously of what goes to make a loaf of bread.
 Formulas are exact. Records are kept of each bake.
 On big master sheets every detail of dough temperature, outside temperature, and oven temperature are kept. 
After so much care has been taken to produce good bread, it seems a pity that bread-eaters don’t keep it as carefully as they keep milk, for example.”

Peak Hour on the Eltham Train, December 1911

According to a correspondent in ‘The Argus’ on Saturday residents of the Eltham district are desirous that the morning trains from Eltham should arrive at Melbourne an hour earlier. It is also contended that the time occupied on the journey on weekdays should be reduced to about the same as that taken on Sundays. It is stated by railway officials that some time ago a number of residents requested that the train which was due to leave Eltham at 7.33 a.m. should be started an hour earlier. Regular travelers who had made their business arrangements in connection with this train were consulted by the department, but as the majority of them were strongly opposed to any alteration of the time-table no further action was taken. On Sundays trains ran through to Eltham, and, as there was no transference of passengers at Heidelberg, the journey was naturally covered in a quicker time than on week days. When the new station at Heidelberg was built however, there would be very little detention.

Source: 1911 ‘ELTHAM LINE.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 12 December, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11638884