#MysteryMonday – Today’s images are five sequential frames from a roll of colour negative film. We are fairly certain that they are all of Route 9 through the old Shire of Eltham; pretty much because frame No. 3 shows the blue route sign. This suggests they are either of the Kangaroo Ground-Yarra Glen Road or the Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road. Again we feel that they are probably all around Kangaroo Ground.
Our collections team is keen to geo-tag as many images as we can in our collection. So, today’s MysteryMonday challenge is to identify the exact GPS coordinates for each of the five frames using whatever resources you have available. You may happen to know exactly where each of the pictures are taken. Road signage clues are always helpful; for instance, frame No. 1 warns of horse float crossings ahead. Or you may want to take a drive using Google Street View. Then again it is such a beautiful day, you may want to take a real drive and capture an up to date picture as well.
In frames No. 0 and No. 1 there appears to be a small stone building not far from the road, visible near the horse warning signage.
Can you identify these? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where they are and help us catalogue these images.
The original Shire of Eltham was founded in 1871. Prior to its founding, the district was managed by the Eltham District Road Board, which was established in 1856. The first rate assessment commenced in 1857 for the year ending October 14, 1858.
The honour of being recorded with the first assessment went to a farm of 110 cultivated acres at Lower Plenty, owned by John Porter and occupied by Albert Baines. It was assessed at 6d/acre providing for a rate income of £2 15s.
In July 2017, officers at the Shire of Nillumbik discovered some early Eltham Road District Assessment books and donated them to the Eltham District Historical Society. We were very excited as we soon realised the seven volumes handed over to us were the district’s first six years of rate assessments. This was a unique and significant record of early settlers in the pre-Shire of Eltham. They immediately became one of the oldest and most valuable items in our collection.
An article on page 5 in the Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser, Friday, 21 November, 1941 titled: ‘District’s Early History‘ states: “The first rate book which is still in existence at the Shire Office is for the year ending October 14, 1858 and is probably the best record possible to indicate the development of the district. At the time properties were rated as follows: Cultivated land. 6d. per acre; pasture land, 1d. per acre: estimated annual value of buildings, etc., 6d in the (pound). The total amount of rate recorded for the year was £153/14/8. Properties were described as being situated at Lower Plenty, Yarra Yarra, Eltham, Lower Eltham, Kangaroo Ground, Yarra Flats, Diamond Creek and the Yarra.”
Given the precious nature of this collection, priority was given to digitise the rate books and place them in suitable archival storage to minimise further handling. Subsequent discussion amongst our Collections team arrived at the conclusion that the most appropriate home for this valuable record was the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV), the archive of the State Government of Victoria and who are charged with archiving and caring for all Government related records. An approach was made to PROV and the air of excitement was palpable, just as it had been for us. These records completed their collection of rate assessment books for Eltham.
At a small ceremony held Friday, April 20 at the Local History Centre, Eltham, members of the Society and our Collections team, along with Ms. Vicki Ward, MP for Eltham, presented the seven volumes for 1858-1863 along with the complete set of digital files to Mr. David Taylor, Community Archives Manager and Mr. Charlie Farrugia, Senior Collection Advisor, Public Record Office Victoria.
“Thank you to the Historical Society for providing us with Eltham’s earliest known rate records. The receipt of these records means that a complete set for the district is now available for researchers to access from the state archives alongside other districts across Victoria. Rate books are a valuable resource for family and property researchers and are amongst our most popular records for those who want to know more about the history of their home. It’s fantastic to be able to add these early books from 1858-1863 to our collection,” David Taylor, Community Archives Manager, Public Record Office Victoria (pictured far right).
Society Vice President, Peter Pidgeon said that whilst the Society was reluctant to see the rate assessment volumes go, it was the right thing to do as they are now re-united with their brothers and sisters and Public Record Office Victoria was best equipped to care for them in a climate controlled environment for perpetuity.
This is another example of the extended reach the Society has been able to achieve in being able to catalogue and share our collection via Victorian Collections.
The Society will continue to retain the digital version of these records in our catalogue on Victorian Collections, which are fully accessible as per the following links.
#ThrowbackThursday – From 1966 to 1968 the Shire of Eltham undertook extensive improvements to Bible Street; sealing the road surface, new concrete curb and channeling and footpaths and stone masonry work to a number of adjoining property boundaries following construction of the footpaths. The work was broken into two stages, the northern half from the top of the hill to Grove street was completed first in 1966-67 and then the southern end to Dalton Street in 1968. Today we time travel back to 1968, just south of the highest point near 71 and 74 Bible Street where we see the work in progress. The curb and channeling has been completed as has the footpath on the western side. We have arrived just in time to catch a load of gravel being delivered for final grading of the road surface prior to sealing. On the eastern side we can see the footpath has yet to be constructed and we can also see how the land has been cut into to form the footpath. Bible Street, like many other streets in the shire has stonework edges for gardens abutting footpaths where the the road and footpath have been cut into the terrain. Much of this stone masonry work was undertaken for the council by C.J. Watson and Sons.
Edendale Community Environment Farm in Gastons Road, Eltham now operates as Nillumbik Council’s environmental centre. The historic homestead has undergone a significant restoration and there is on-going development of the site consistent with its community education purpose. The house and the gateway sculpture “The Fences Act 1968” by Tony Trembarth are covered by a Heritage Overlay in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme.
Our May excursion will comprise a walk through the farm property and will radiate to other nearby places of historic interest. These will include the site of the Eltham North Adventure Playground to discuss its history and destruction by fire. Also nearby is Colemans Corner where the early road system has undergone some unusual changes. If time permits we may visit some other nearby places of interest.
This short walk on Saturday 5th May will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the car park of the Eltham North Reserve accessed off Wattletree Road, opposite the Eltham North School (Melway ref 21 K 1).
This excursion is free and is open to the general public as well as Society members.
Please note that dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.
The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.
SOLVED: Near 5 Walsh Street, Eltham; looking east up Walsh Street from near Bolton Street
#MysteryMonday – Today’s image is again of a residential area; once again featuring the new speed calming devices introduced by the Shire of Eltham, circa 1989. These residential roadscapes can sometimes be the hardest to solve unless you are familiar with the road. Given the level of success achieved so far, only two MysteryMonday posts remain unsolved since we started, we think this is a great way to assist us reducing our catalogue backlog.
Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is and help us catalogue this image.
#ThrowbackThursday – Anyone in need of a trim or perhaps feeling a little lucky? Well today we time travel back to the period 1968-1972 where you are in luck; perhaps not so much with the lottery ticket but you can get a short back and sides and your smokes. Today we visit the Barber shop or for the more refined, the Men’s Continental Hairstylist, located directly opposite Arthur Street and adjacent to Lyon Bros. Ford. Previously situated around the corner past the Post Office near the railway station, the Barber shop is now front and centre in the town where all the men folk congregate (apart from the pub). It is 1972.
Who remembers sitting and waiting, listening to the constant banter between Barber and customer, most likely about the latest footy or cricket results; even the horses, a constant in the background on the radio. The smell of tonics and antiseptics and for the older fellows, the sharp acrid smell of a singe by candle; the buzzing of the clippers and the snip, snip, snip of the scissors. Layers of hair tumbling before you, gathering in your lap then falling to the floor beneath the chair, swept up in between customers; the classy reading material full of PIX magazines and then with a flourish of the cloth like a Toreador, you are beckoned to take a seat with “What are we having today?”, the next victim in line, defeated by your Mum or Dad in your attempt to emulate the flowing locks of John Lennon or Mick Jagger.
Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham
Our meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 11th April 2018 is our Annual General Meeting, which includes the presentation of annual reports and the election of office bearers for the coming year. The official notification of the Annual General Meeting and Agenda are on page 9 of our April Newsletter. Copies will be available on the night at the meeting or can be requested via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At this meeting we are pleased to be able to show a film of the early activities of the Briar Hill Timber and Trading Co Pty Ltd, in Sherbourne Road, Briar Hill. This film details the various operations involved in this business during the 1950s/60s, from sourcing trees and machining the timber through to the manufacturing of various building materials and components.
Bob Manuel, who was an active part of this family owned business will attend our meeting to add his comments and insights about some of the scenes shown.
Frederick and Hazel Squire established this company in 1934 and their properties covered approximately 15 acres, on either side of Sherbourne Road. Their large timber mill that started in 1941 processed timber from Kinglake, Flowerdale and the Otways.
The company was noted for supplying timber to the Australian government for construction during World War Two, as well as joinery for the Heidelberg Olympic Village in the 1950s.
Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting.
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia