#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to September 1966 to the boundary of the Shire of Eltham and the City of Heidelberg on the Plenty River and the construction site of the new Lower Plenty Bridge. Work is well under way preparing for the provision of utility services and the roadway; the concrete piers and prefabricated steel and concrete girders having been put in place the month before. The bridge was completed and open for use by November 1966. It was subsequently duplicated along with Main Road in 1970.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1986. Traffic congestion in and out of the district is heavy. Currently 38,000 vehicles per day use Grimshaw Street and Main Street, Greensborough, and it is estimated that half these vehicles are through traffic. The Government has initiated a plan to construct a 5.5km bypass of the Greensborough Commercial Centre
from Lenola Street, Macleod to Diamond Creek Road, Greensborough. The bypass will relieve the existing heavily congested sections of these roads, reduce travel time for motorists passing through the area, and improve safety and conditions for shoppers, residents and local traffic.
The bypass will be constructed in two stages. The first 3.5 km stage, from Diamond Creek Road to Grimshaw Street, will be constructed as a single two lane, two-way road with climbing lanes for east-bound traffic north of Kempston Street and east of Plenty River.
The second 2 km stage, from Grimshaw Street to Greensborough Road/Lenola Street, is being constructed as a divided road.
Drainage and earthworks continued during the year on the first stage and work commenced on the construction of a five span composite steel and concrete bridge over Plenty River.
A roundabout at the intersection of Diamond Creek Road and Civic Drive, where the bypass is to terminate was completed during the year.
Work commenced on the second stage late in the year with the construction of a deviation of Greensborough Road near Watsonia Railway Station to allow work to commence on the new road over rail structure. The project is estimated to cost $18 million and be completed in early 1989.
Reference: 1986, Parliament of Victoria, “Report of the Road Construction Authority for the Year ended 30 June 1986”, No. 124, p15, <www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1985-87No124.pdf>
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to circa 1966-1967 and Main Road, Eltham, just north of Bridge Street where we cast our eyes northwest across the fields that in a few years time will be developed into the Eltham Town Park and later Alistair Knox Park. In the distance, to the right, we see the recently relocated Shillinglaw Cottage and further on, the new Eltham Shire Offices, which were opened in 1965. In front of Shillinglaw Cottage is what will be developed into Eltham Common, later the site for the new Eltham Library in 1994 but presently still dominated by the Eltham Tip. To the left and behind the tip we see the iconic Eltham Railway Trestle Bridge and beyond that, Eltham Central Park and what appears to be part of the Football Club pavillion or is it part of the former Eltham Swimming Pool?
Everything we see is on what was once part of the original Shillinglaw farm which covered some 30 acres bordered by Main Road, Bridge Street, the Diamond Creek and Diamond Street.
#ThrowbackThursday – Roadworks, what a pain, and there seem to be so many going on lately. In reality the short term pain brings long term gain. After all, imagine what Fitzsimons Lane Bridge would be like today if it was still only a single lane each way. So today we time travel back 27 years to July 1991 where we can see work in progress, craning the final steel and concrete section into position to connect the Templestowe and Eltham ends of the duplicated bridge.
Originally Fitzsimons Lane was the name of the road on the Templestowe side of the Yarra River; on the Eltham side it was known as the Eltham-Templestowe Road. The road is divided on the Templestowe side but not on the Eltham side. When the new bridge was built c.1966, the divided road was not continued in the Shire of Eltham as it would have required a significant widening of the cutting.
#ThrowbackThursday – Eltham today is just getting busier and busier; more housing and unit developments, more people and lots more traffic. And a stroll along the Diamond Creek Trail during footy season weekends near Central Park will encounter plenty of people watching the latest game; you would be lucky to even find a car park. Next time you wander along the trail or head down to watch a game, cast your mind back a hundred years or so and ponder what it was like. To set the scene, today we time travel back to circa 1913 to a point just beside the Diamond Creek, south of Central Park. As we cast our eyes to the east we immediately see two of the iconic sights of Eltham; the timber railway trestle bridge built just over ten years earlier and Shillinglaw Cottage in its original location and the Shillinglaw trees standing proudly in front. If you look carefully beyond the trestle bridge, past where the current Eltham Library now stands, you will also see a weatherboard building standing in isolation. This is the new St Mary’s Catholic Church on Henry Street near Main Road (or Maria Street). The church site had been relocated from further south along Main Road (near Wingrove Cottage) in order to be more central to the congregation following the shifting of the township away from Little Eltham and closer to the railway station. It was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1961.
MYSTERY SOLVED – Long Gully Road Bridge over Long Gully at Panton Hill. The house in the background (believed to be 50 Long Gully Road burnt down in 1977.)
#MysteryMonday – Today we start a new feature; a mystery challenge. As we progress through our collection we sometimes come across a photo where we have no information about its identification or location, etc. Or sometimes we may just want to verify our own thoughts. So on Mondays, not necessarily every Monday, we will post a challenge and throw it open to the experts in our community to see if we can add more information to these wonderful old records.
Today’s image is of a local Eltham bridge. Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is, any stories you can tell about it, and better still, any similar photos you can share?
Over to you . . .
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1985 and the Candlebark Park carpark just in time to catch an adventurous soul taking a dip in the Yarra below the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge. No bikini for this keen swimmer, rather a Holden Gemini seemed more the go. Seems the Gemini twins couldn’t decide whether to go to Templestowe or Eltham. Or perhaps it was a late entry in the Great Yarra Raft Race of 1985?
We recently digitised an album containing these images of the car in the Yarra and the Great Yarra Raft Race but apart from the date of 1985, have very little other information to record about them.
Does anyone remember this incident and the circumstances? Were there any news stories at the time about it? Or were you involved in the Great Yarra Raft Race? Any details or stories are greatly appreciated.
#ThrowbackThursday – In our July 6th post on Ansell and Muir’s chicken shop, we stated that because the store stood within the 1934 flood zone, the property was unable to be redeveloped. Consequently the former Shire of Eltham acquired the land and the building was subsequently demolished. But why did 1934 become the benchmark for our modern day flood zone planning laws? Well today we time travel back to November/December 1934 where we can gain some appreciation of the devastation that flood brought to the district; to its infrastructure and the community.
In early November 1934 much damage was done around the Shire from recent rains, detailed at the Council meeting held Monday, 5th November 1934 (1).
However, worse was to come. On Thursday evening, November 29th, the rains came again, ceasing the following Saturday morning, December 1st. It was reported in the Advertiser on Friday November 30th, more than 8 inches of rain had been recorded at Eltham North that morning; 80% of the annual total and nearly five times that of the previous November (2).
The flooding was the highest level recorded in the district for over 40 years. Lower Eltham Park was under 5 feet of water which also covered Main Road for over a mile (3).
The Diamond Creek rose rapidly engulfing all before it; houses and shops were submerged, livestock and poultry swept away and drowned in the raging torrents, bridges severely damaged or destroyed, fences laid flat and trees uprooted. At 1pm on Friday December 1st, Main Road was under water and cut off. Early in the afternoon, Mr R. Monteith’s ‘bus became stranded near the concrete bridge. The driver and passengers escaped but the bus was stuck there till the floods receded the following Tuesday morning. By that afternoon it was back in service and people could start returning to their homes. What they found was a six inch layer of slime, which covered floors, furniture and bedding; crockery piled up against doors and window openings, bodies of dead pets which had failed to escape. And in some cases, snakes had sought refuge in the houses. Not since 1868 had floods caused so much damage. The levels recorded were now reported as the highest in 60 years (4).
At a Special Council meeting held Wednesday, December 12th, the Shire Engineer reported that damage was estimated to be £2,000 to roads and bridges; two large bridges being completely washed away. In today’s terms, based on economic project costs that would equate to almost $4 million. A detailed breakdown of damage throughout the Shire and private property was reported. Council applied for a grant towards the cost of repairs and opened a local relief fund through the Lord Mayor of Melbourne’s Flood Relief program for those whose homes had been inundated. It was noted that whilst other districts also suffered, Eltham Shire was particularly impacted not just through the loss of livestock but also because some of the cultivated land had been totally washed away rendering it unusable in the future for further cultivation (5).
Of course over the years Eltham has seen further regular flooding, the most recent significant event occurring Christmas day, 2011. Some of our members can remember the 1934 floods but they were only very small children then. What are your experiences and memories of floods in the area? Do you have any photos to share?
- 1934 ‘Eltham Council’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 9 November, p. 6. , viewed 17 Aug 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56747061
- 1934 ‘DARING RESCUES AT NORTH ELTHAM’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 7 December, p. 2. , viewed 17 Aug 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56747404
- 1934 ‘DISTRICT’S RECORD FLOOD’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 30 November, p. 7. , viewed 17 Aug 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56747355
- 1934 ‘FLOODS AT ELTHAM’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 7 December, p. 1. , viewed 17 Aug 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56747374
- 1934 ‘SPECIAL ELTHAM COUNCIL MEETING’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 21 December, p. 2. , viewed 17 Aug 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56747561