ThrowbackThursday: Willy Wonka’s Icecream Shop

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back in four jumps to the site of 820 Main Road, Eltham;

Photograph: J. Connor 2008

First stop is  around ten years ago c.2007-2008 where we find Eltham Fine Food & Ice-cream, otherwise known locally as Willy Wonka’s given its motorised feature above the ice-cream servery. Many a child would have stood and wondered at this feature whilst waiting for their treats.

Source: Copy held by Eltham District Historical Society of original photograph; photographer unknown

Next leap is 40 years back to the mid 1970s when the shop was then known as Marchant’s Milk Bar.

Source: From the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection (No. 702) held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library; originally donated by Bruce Burgoyne to the former Shire of Eltham.

Now we jump back 77 years to 1940 where we meet the original owners, the Burgoyne family standing outside their shop. The extension with entrance to the right was a recent addition which in later years was variously modified and blocked off.

Source: From the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection (No. 701) held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library

And finally back approximately one hundred years to its original version, J.N. Burgoyne’s Grocery Store and Post Office.

As always, we’d love for you to share your memories of visits to Willy Wonka’s (Eltham Fine Food & Ice-cream) or to Marchant’s Milk Bar.

Of course it is unlikely that many today will personally remember Burgoyne’s as it was back in its time but it’s great to see the heritage of our area still standing and still being used.

The original Burgoynes store as seen by Google Streetview, Feb 2017

Back to the future and more recently, the shop was known as Sweet D Lites though has since closed. Big changes are now in store for the original building with a development application, initially refused by Nillumbik Council.

In November 2016 the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) approved an application to allow the redevelopment of this property to provide two shops, building and works, including part demolition, alterations and extensions to this existing heritage building and construction of a contemporary addition with three, two-bedroom dwellings, including partly above the roof level of the existing heritage building. The Eltham District Historical Society was an objector at VCAT to this application.



6 thoughts on “ThrowbackThursday: Willy Wonka’s Icecream Shop”

  1. We stopped off at Burgoyne’s Milk Bar every Sunday in the late 1960’s and 70’s after church and also after youth group. It was the Eltham Methodist Church then, corner John Street and Main Rd, with Burgoyne’s a short walk two houses towards Eltham. No major roads to cross.
    We never knew it as “Marchant’s” Milk Bar, though Marchants lemonade was sold there.
    Always Burgoyne’s Milk Bar!
    It was a shame when it closed. No more mixed lollies, carefully chosen from under the glass counter. No more icy poles on hot Sundays.
    It was also the easiest Milk Bar to call into quickly. Two or three car parks out front on the Main Rd meant pull up, run in, buy milk or smokes and run back out to the car….
    I still refer to that building as “Burgoyne’s”! Happy place!


    1. Hi Hans, thanks for sharing those great memories and clarifying the Marchants aspect. Like you, we at EDHS also refer to the shop as Burgoyne’s throughout the ages regardless of its current ownership. We think they deserve that memory as a significant icon of the Eltham landscape.


      1. My brother, Bruce Burgoyne, just sent me a this link in regards to our family milk bar – I never get sick of looking at the old shop! I never knew the shop was also known as Marchants Milk Bar – would like to think that everybody only called it Burgoyne’s Milk Bar! I have a lot of fond memories of when my parents ran the shop. That whole corner was a family concern. Dad’s brother Frank, who lived on the other side of the shop was the local briquette man. Another brother Jack was behind Frank in Bridge Street – he had the soil and screenings. I often see some things on Facebook with people’s memories of our shop – especially how patient my father Harry was with them choosing lollies – he certainly was patient! Lovely to see the link.
        Doreen Burgoyne (Geelong).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for sharing Doreen. We can assure you that there are many in the wider community who have very fond memories of Burgoyne’s and that is generally the name that people respond to.


  2. I lived across the road in the 70s and Doreen and Hans are eight. I have very fond memories of Mr Burgouyne who’s first name sadly eludes now. Was it Richard?


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