Category Archives: About Us

April Meeting: Dr Andrew Lemon – Fifty years of the EDHS and why it matters

Eltham District Historical Society Annual General Meeting

12th April at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Our meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 12th April 2017 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 8 of our April Newsletter. Copies will be available on the night at the meeting or can be requested via email to edhsoffice@gmail.com.

At this meeting we are pleased to have as our guest speaker Dr. Andrew Lemon, a great friend of EDHS and a Fellow and the immediate Past President of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Andrew is an independent Melbourne historian, author of numerous books on local history, shipwrecks, biography, schools and sport and winner of national literary awards. He has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Melbourne for his published works. Andrew edited the Victorian Historical Journal throughout the 1990s and served on the Library Board of Victoria and the Heritage Council.

Andrew is a very entertaining presenter and in our 50th Anniversary year he has chosen to speak about ‘Fifty years of the EDHS – and why it matters.’ We look forward to again welcoming Andrew to share time with us.

 

EDHS Local History Centre Open Day – Sat March 4th

edhs-1967The former police residence at 728 Main Road, Eltham was built in 1859-60 to house the local police officer, with the first occupant being Constable Peter Lawlor and his family. This building is on the Victorian Heritage Register and is considered to be of state heritage significance as the oldest public building in Nillumbik, after the adjacent Court House, also built in 1859-60. A single stall brick stables building with a loft was also built in the rear yard, but has been substantially altered since. The original two-cell bluestone lockup, located where the rear car park now is, was demolished in the 1950s. Some of the bluestone blocks have been used as edging for garden beds.

Police activities ceased about 1952 when a new police station was opened in central Eltham. The residence was then used by the State Lands Department, followed by a Community Youth Support Scheme and later for the Shire of Eltham Parks and Environment Section.

edhs-2017Since 1998 our Society has appreciated occupying this former residence for our Local History Centre as the base for our operations and to house a range of local history resources, records and documents.

During the last six months we have undertaken a substantial refurbishment and reorganisation of the premises and to celebrate this achievement we will be holding an Open Day and official ‘reopening’ on Saturday 4th March from 2.00pm. Society members and visitors are invited to visit, browse around and explore some of our local history.

1967 – A Year of Change

50-years-maroon

A word from our Society President, Jim Connor.

While there have been many changes in the 50 years since 1967, the year our Historical Society was established, 50 years is not such a long time………in historical terms.

It is however a significant milestone for our small not-for-profit historical group, a milestone to be appropriately acknowledged and celebrated. We can remember our past and value our present, as we encompass our future.

Much has changed since 1967, the last year Harold Holt was Prime Minister, when Henry Bolte was the Victorian Premier, La Trobe University was officially opened, the Postcode system was introduced, Heidelberg Historical Society commenced and in June the Beatles released the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album, considered by Rolling Stone magazine to be the most important rock and roll album ever made. June was also the month the first meeting was held to establish our Society.

Since that time our Society has been actively involved in many activities, excursions, meetings and initiatives to support recognition of our local history. We have been, and are part of the social and cultural fabric that makes up our community. We, and other like groups, value our history and we continue to encourage the broader appreciation of the historical elements within our district, that once gone can never be replaced.

During this year we will look back to consider those individuals who helped establish the then Shire of Eltham Historical Society, now known as the Eltham District Historical Society. They set a course that has led us to where we are today.

Along the way there have been many, many people who have contributed their time, skills, passion and commitment to support our Society and to ensure it has continued to present, value and express the importance of protecting our heritage and maintaining memories of the past, our significant local history.

Now an appropriate question is…where do we go from here? No doubt this will be one of the many discussion points during 2017, our 50th Anniversary year.

2017 Program

To catch up with what is happening during our 50th anniversary year, our 2017 Program is now available to download directly from here or via the menu links.

2016 Program

Eltham District Historical Society would like to wish all members a Happy New Year for 2016.

Our program for 2016 includes topics and speakers for Society meetings as well as dates for other activities, committee meetings, records workshops and heritage excursions. We look forward to members being involved in our various activities during 2016. Any changes during the year will be notified in the Newsletter. A copy of the program may be downloaded by clicking on the “2016 Program” link.

In accordance with a decision of the Committee the meeting schedule has been altered from what it has been in past years. Following the first Society meeting in February, meetings will be held every two months with the Annual General Meeting to be held in April. There will be five meetings rather than the six held in past years. The Christmas function in December will take the place of the sixth meeting. Excursions and Committee meetings will be held in alternate months to Society meetings. The net effect of these changes is that Society activities will be spread more evenly throughout the year.

As indicated above, the April meeting is the Annual General Meeting. Formal notice and the agenda for this meeting will be contained in the April Newsletter, which will be distributed in time to satisfy statutory notice requirements.

Members are encouraged to come along to our records workshops to assist with the on-going task of getting our records into systematic order. A growing number of members continues to make progress on this and other tasks associated with the operation of our Society. The first workshop for 2016 is scheduled for Tuesday 2nd February at 7.30 pm.

Contacts for the Eltham District Historical Society
• Jim Connor, President – Telephone 0418 379 497
• Russell Yeoman, Secretary – Telephone 9439 9717
• David Johns, Treasurer / Membership Secretary – Telephone 9434 3357

We appreciate the financial support provided by Nillumbik Shire Council and the Eltham Community Craft and Produce Market Committee of Management

We also appreciate the support of Vicki Ward MP, State Member for Eltham who assists with the printing of the Society’s Newsletter.

New EDHS Banner

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The Royal Historical Society Victoria (RHSV) invited affiliated historical societies and heritage groups to apply for the design of a rollup banner as a way to acknowledge and celebrate their History Week 2015 program. The Eltham District Historical Society was fortunate to be successful with an application, which meant we could proceed with submitting a layout to their graphic designers.

Our committee agreed with the draft design prepared by Jim Connor, which was then sent for final artwork and production. We are pleased with the banner we have received through the generous support of the RHSV.

This has already been displayed at a talk about Early Eltham Pioneers at the Eltham Library on 20 October 2015 as part of the RHSV Local History Week and also the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Local History Month. The banner will also be used at our meetings, future events and presentations as a means of promoting our Society and our interests in local history.

The Blacksmith and the Wheelwright

In November 1985 a monument was installed near the corner of Main Road and Pitt Street in Eltham, within the gardens at the front of what is now the Eltham Community and Reception Centre. This monument commemorates Victoria’s 150th anniversary and the former location of the Eltham Town Centre, which existed along this section of Main Road, then known as Maria Street. Beneath the site is a time capsule to be opened in the year 2035. A plaque was also erected at this site in October 1987 to commemorate the Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s 20th anniversary.

The main feature of this monument is a ‘tyring disc’, a blacksmith’s implement that was found on this site. This consists of a large iron disc that was used as a platform for fitting iron tyres (like the one shown on top of the platform) to wooden spoked cart wheels. The local blacksmith and wheelwright worked together to assemble the wheel, which was clamped to the platform placed close to the fire. The red hot iron hoop, previously forged to the correct size was lifted with tongs by the blacksmith over the outside of the rim, then hammered down amid flames from the scorching timber. The wheelwright drenched the tyre with cold water as soon as it was in position.

 A clamp placed on the naff (hub) and screwed down tightly kept the spokes at a constant angle as the tyre cooled. An even pressure from the contracting tyre tightened the joints at each end of the spokes and formed a vice-like grip, which would last for the life of the wheel.

 The Shire of Eltham Historical Society was originally established in 1967 to cover what was then the Shire of Eltham and its early activities extended over the whole Shire from Lower Plenty to Kinglake. The establishment of other local historical societies as well as municipal restructuring in 1994 has meant that the Society’s activities are now more confined to the Eltham district, which includes Eltham, Research, Kangaroo Ground, Montmorency, Briar Hill, and Lower Plenty. While this is reflected in the later change of name to the Eltham District Historical Society our collection of local records extends to cover the whole of the former Eltham Shire.

Blacksmith's shop, Main road, opposite Pitt street. Left Bill Baker, Right, Sid Brown.
Blacksmith’s shop, Main road, opposite Pitt street. Left Bill Baker, Right, Sid Brown.

Hello world!

Eltham District Historical Society Inc is excited to announce the launch of our new online presence; spearheaded with a major upgrade to our website and a new domain name URL, www.elthamhistory.org.au.

We hope you will find it a refreshing modern update; easier to navigate and quickly locate newly added material and featured content. The site now also has the ability to easily share content with your friends via social media connectivity buttons as well as the capability for providing feedback and comments.

To complement our new website and further extend our online presence, we have also established a new Facebook Community Organisation page, Eltham District Historical Society Inc, as well as a new presence on Twitter, @ElthamHistory – EDHS.

We hope you will feel free to share with us your own family stories of people, places and life in the Eltham district. History is not the stories told by others but the stories told by us.

Visitors and new members are always welcome to our meetings and events, so please come along and don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.