Category Archives: Bridges

ThrowbackThursday: Greensborough Bypass Construction, 1986

#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.

Looking northeast across the new 5-span bridge construction across the Plenty River; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. Shows the intersection on the left for the future Northern Ring Road connection. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

The second 2 km stage, from Grimshaw Street to Greensborough Road/Lenola Street, is being constructed as a divided road.

Looking south towards Grimshaw Street, Greensbrorough; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. This view is taken from near the future intersection of the Northern Ring Road looking south along the Bypass towards Grimshaw Street which can be seen running horizontally across the view. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

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.

Looking east across the new 5-span bridge construction across the Plenty River from the western side; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east across the new bridge construction across the Plenty River from the western side up to the new roundabout at Civic Drive; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east across the new bridge construction across the Plenty River from the western side up to the new roundabout at Civic Drive; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east across the new 5-span bridge construction across the Plenty River; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east across the new 5-span bridge construction across the Plenty River; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east across the new 5-span bridge construction across the Plenty River; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east across the new 5-span bridge construction across the Plenty River; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

A roundabout at the intersection of Diamond Creek Road and Civic Drive, where the bypass is to terminate was completed during the year.

Looking east along the newly sealed road from the pedestrian overpass to the new roundabout at Civic Drive; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking west along the newly sealed road from the pedestrian overpass; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east from the new bridge towards the newly completed pedestrian overpass and the roundabout at the end of the Bypass at Civic Drive; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. Note the two cyclists riding along the newly sealed road up the hill. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking west across the new bridge construction across the Plenty River from the eastern side; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. Shows the service access road on the hill side which would later be cut away to provide the connection to the Northern Ring Road which was opened in April 1994. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east across the new 5-span bridge construction across the Plenty River; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. The east side lanes of the Bypass and Bridge were the first stage. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

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.

Looking southwest from the location of the new overpass being constructed over the railway line near Watsonia Railway station; Greensborough Bypass construction, c.1986. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

 

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>

Advertisements

ThrowbackThursday: Icons of Eltham, Main Road, Eltham, c.1967

A view of part of the original Shillinglaw farm acreage, c.1967. Shows the trestle bridge to the left, Eltham Tip in centre and the Eltham Shire Office prior to extensions and Shillinglaw Cottage (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

#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: Fitzsimons Lane Bridge Duplication, 1991

#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.

Installation of the final section to join the two ends of the duplication of Fitzsimons Lane Bridge, 6 July 1991.
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Installation of the final section to join the two ends of the duplication of Fitzsimons Lane Bridge, 6 July 1991.
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Installation of the final section to join the two ends of the duplication of Fitzsimons Lane Bridge, 6 July 1991.
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

 

Installation of the final section to join the two ends of the duplication of Fitzsimons Lane Bridge, 6 July 1991.
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Bridgeworks on Fitzsimons Lane across Yarra River, Eltham, 1991. The new lanes are now in place and final works are in progress.
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Looking north across the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge over Yarra River between Eltham and Templestowe, c.1985. Turnoff to Candlebark Park on right. It can be seen that the road on the Eltham side has now been widened to two lanes each way, merging to a single lane to cross the bridge.
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Looking north across the newly constructed Fitzsimons Lane Bridge over the Yarra River between Eltham and Templestowe, c.1966. It can be seen that the road on the Eltham side is only a single lane.
(Polaroid photo from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

ThrowbackThursday: Timber Railway Trestle Bridge, Eltham, c.1913

Trestle Bridge, Eltham, c.1912; note the Catholic Church in Henry Street and Shillinglaw Cottage visible in background

(from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

#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.

Postcard of St Mary’s Catholic Church, cnr Main Road and Henry Street, Eltham which was opened 13 October 1912 and subsequently destroyed by fire.
(Donated by: Garnet Burges; from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

MysteryMonday: Long Gully Road Bridge, c.1970

Long Gully Road Bridge over Long Gully at Panton Hill, c.1970 (Photo: Russell Yeoman; from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

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: Rafting in the Yarra, 1985

#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?

A Holden Gemini in the Yarra River at Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
A Holden Gemini in the Yarra River at Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
At least the Ford entry could float, Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
And the Jeep could float as well, Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The Great Yarra Raft Race, Westerfolds Park, Templestowe, 1985. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

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: 1934 Diamond Creek Flood

#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).

1934 Diamond Creek flooding across Main Road looking towards Eltham at the intersection with Falkiner Street; a Council truck blocking Main Road; Eltham Lower Park on right; Eltham Park Tea Rooms (later Ansell and Muir) on left flooded. The bridge can just be seen on far right centre (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society, donated by the former Shire of Eltham)

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).

Floodwater from Diamond Creek across Main Road in 1934 at what is present day Wingrove Park. In the distance, left of centre, is Mr. Montieth’s Ford Wagonette stranded in the floodwater near Wingrove Cottage looking up Main Road towards Eltham. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society, donated by Peter Bassett-Smith)

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?

Main Road looking north adjacent to Lower Eltham Park near Falkiner Street in 1986. Ansell and Muir’s Chicken Shop (former Eltham Park Tea Rooms) can be seen at centre.(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; Photo: Marjorie North)
Main Road looking north adjacent to Lower Eltham Park near Falkiner Street, Feb 2017 (Google Street View)
Main Road looking north towards Wingrove Cottage adjacent to Wingrove Park, Feb 2017 (Google Street View)
A view of the area showing it in 1945 (Melbourne 1945)

 

References
  1. 1934 ‘Eltham Council’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 9 November, p. 6. , viewed 17 Aug 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56747061
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 1934 ‘FLOODS AT ELTHAM’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 7 December, p. 1. , viewed 17 Aug 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56747374
  5. 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