A Conversation with Alan Marshall and Joh Ebeli 1977

During the COVID-19 Pandemic State of Emergency Stage 3 lockdown, our Collections team has continued to work in the background from home, digitising material and cataloguing it onto Victorian Collections. Included amongst these items are a number of old audio compact cassette tapes. Even though we say ‘old’ (because they are), many of us are still familiar with these items. Finding the old analog technology still functional to play them is increasingly difficult.

Alan Marshall in his studio bungalow, 13 Park Road, Eltham, c.1977
(Photo: Joh Ebeli; from trhe collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

One of the tapes was recorded for us in April 2002 on the occasion of the centenary of Alan Marshall’s birth, by long term society member and local artist, Joh Ebeli (1918-2012). In 1977 Joh undertook to create a sculpture of the face of Alan Marshall. Joh recorded a conversation he had with Alan during one sitting in 1977 at Alan’s studio bungalow, 13 Park Road, Eltham. (The property owned by Alan’s sister was sold shortly after his death and was only recently sold again in March 2020.)

Alan Marshall: plastercast from the original by Joh Ebeli, Bicentennial/Heritage Week Display, “The Eltham Tradition”, Eltham Shire Office, 17-22 April 1988
(Photo: Peter Bassett-Smith; Eltham District Historical Society)

During this pandemic, we have decided to make this audio recording accessible for all to enjoy. It runs for just over 32 minutes and consists of general chit chat and banter between Joh Ebeli and Alan Marshall on various current affairs, matters of the past, artists and Joh’s method of sculpture production.

We hope you enjoy listening in.

Audio Recording; Alan Marshall sitting for Joh Ebeli in his bungalow, Eltham 1977 with introduction by Joh Ebeli 2002

Joh Ebeli outside Falkiner Cottage, Ely Street Eltham, September 1982 (Photo from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)


Sidenote: Joh Ebeli also designed the logo for Eltham District Historical Society, a combination of the Eltham Trestle Bridge and Shillinglaw Cottage.

Stories from the Shire with Geoff Paine: Eltham District Historical Society

We have a new video to share thanks to the generousity of society member and local identity, Geoff Paine.

Stories from the Shire with Geoff Paine: Eltham District Historical Society

In this short video you will be given a brief look at the Eltham Justice precinct on Main Road and how it came about in Little Eltham as well as some background history leading to the establishment of the Shire of Eltham Historical Society (now Eltham District Historical Society) arising from the relocation of Shillinglaw Cottage.

Touchstone – keeping in contact

Greetings to all from Eltham District Historical Society; from our homes to your homes.

As an initiative to keep in touch with our members during the COVID-19 State of Emergency Stage 3 lock-down, our committee initiated a one-page information sheet to be sent approximately every two weeks to our members.

As part of documenting our own history and in the interests of sharing with all in the community, we are now going to make these Touchstone newsletters accessible via our web site, along with our regular Newsletter.

The following is a reproduction of Touchstone No. 1 and this issue and an archive of subsequent issues may be accessed from the Main Menu at the top of each page.


No.1 – 9th April 2020

We send our best wishes to all our members.

Until we are able to see you again for our Society Meetings and Heritage Excursions, we hope all our members are well and staying safe, during these times of enforced isolation.

EDHS will continue to connect with you, distribute our newsletters and email any other information of interest. There are also other ways you can still stay connected with our local history.

You can visit:

• Our Victorian Collection pages at:

Here you can explore over 10,000 catalogued items, the majority of which are images, there due to the activities of our dedicated Collections Team who continue to work behind the scenes.

• You can visit our website at: http://www.elthamhistory.org.au

Here you can read various stories and also catch up on past newsletters.

• You can visit our Facebook pages at: https://www.facebook.com/elthamhistory/

Here you can explore a range of local history stories and information, including Throwback Thursday and On This Day features.

• You can visit the Wikinorthia website at: https://wikinorthia.net.au

Here you can see an extensive range of local history stories about the northern suburbs.

During this down time perhaps consider writing your memories and stories of living and working in Eltham and District for our archives. See the attached as a guide.

You could go through your photos and share your memories with family members. Consider donating archives, including photos relating to Eltham and District to EDHS. We can also arrange to digitise these.

So, while we cannot be with you in person, at this time, you are in our thoughts.

Please take care, we hope you are able to stay safe.

Jim Connor
President, on behalf of the committee of the Eltham District Historical Society