#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to July 1969 to the intersection of Main Road and Grand Boulevard, Montmorency; specifically the section of land bordered by Grand Boulevard, Main Road and Looker Road. Recently it was announced that this piece of of land was the site for the all new Apex-Diamond Valley Ambulance Station.
Fast forward to 2017 and it has recently been announced that an all new Ambulance Station is to be constructed in place of the old station and that demolition of the old building will commence in November.
Demolition of the original station built back in 1969-1970 commences in November 2017 with the new upgraded station due to open in the second half of 2018.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1985. The Victorian Local Government Commission has produced a report titled ‘The Restructure of Local Government in Victoria – Principles and Program’ (the Morris review). The recommendation was to amalgamate the Shires of Eltham and Diamond Valley, something that Eltham Council did not support as being appropriate for the shire or compatible with the ‘Spirit of Eltham’. In response, the Shire of Eltham produced a video showcasing the unique environmental lifestyle which embodies the ‘Spirit of Eltham’ and features Shire President, Cr. Mary Grant talking with the Hon. Pauline Toner MP and Max McDonald MP. Eltham Shire CEO Rodney Roschellor presents an alternate proposal for a shire merging more aligned to the values of the local residents. Also featured are Eltham icons such as the Eltham Railway Trestle Bridge, Montsalvat, Eltham Community Centre along with mudbrick making, artist Matcham Skipper, the Green Wedge and St Andrews Market. Other commentary is provided by locals, Judy Wadham and Lester Eaton.
#MysteryMonday – Today’s images are of the first two frames from a roll of negative film. They feature two separate properties up for sale and which had been sold by November 17, 1992. The other frames on the roll of film are not related but are probably the reason the film was originall donated to us. They concern an excursion undertaken by the Society to One Tree Hill Mine on November 20, 1992. However, these images do interest us but we have no other information other than the thousand words contained in each picture.
The first is of a deceased estate sold by Peter McDougall of The Professionals; 23 acres in size on 2 titles in a prime position, with a made road frontage and close to the Pony Club with an easy drive to Eltham, Greensborough and Melbourne – so perhaps Kangaroo Ground? Given it is a made road frontage, probably one of the main roads and the property is number 100.
The second property is number 82, sold by Peter Reid Real Estate of 126 Bolton Street, Eltham. Not giving away much at all; so you either know it or you don’t.
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.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to October 10, 1973 and the location bounded by Main Road and Bridge Street, Eltham. It is Arbor Day and the school children of the Shire of Eltham are planting native trees in the newly created Eltham Town Park. This event had previously been planned to take place during the visit of Sir Rohan Delacombe to the Shire on 19th September, 1973 but was cancelled that day due to the inclement weather.
The following are four images from our collection of 24 images from that day and we invite you to review all 24 in our catalogue on @victoriancollections. In these you will see the areas allocated for Montmorency Primary School and Panton Hill Primary School. The lake in the park is still under construction.
Were you part of this Arbor Day event? Do you recognise yourself or friends in the photos? A number of teachers also feature. We would really appreciate any comments you can offer that would help identify people and other memories. Comments can easily be left against each image in our catalogue record on Victorian Collections.
#MysteryMonday – Have you ever wondered how the street you live on came by its name? People, places and events shape where we live and provide us with an insight into the past and what was important at the time. For instance, Lavender Park Road in Eltham was once known as New Street. Why would they change a perfectly good name for the street, when it did not need to be, or did it?
Maybe it was because on the 29th of May 1954, a local Eltham carpenter by the name of John Swallow, committed a double murder at his home on New Street. This happened on the same day as the federal election of that year.
John 48, his wife Mary 47, and step daughter Patricia 25, all went to the Eltham Courthouse on Main Road to cast their vote in the election that Saturday. After voting they returned home to their New Street house around midday.
Patricia would later recall to ambulance officers, that she was feeling unwell, and so went to lay down when she heard an argument erupt over voting between her mother Mary and step father John.
A concerned neighbour heard loud thudding noises and yelling coming from John and Mary’s house, he went to investigate. When he arrived at the house he was met by John at the front door. He would later describe John as “having a frantic look upon his face, and manic eyes”. John must have been a sight, bleeding and clutching a cut throat razor by his side. He then announced to the neighbour, “they voted commie!” before turning and going back inside. The distressed neighbour immediately raced home to call the Police.
When the police arrived, they found Mary dead on the kitchen floor from catastrophic head injuries; her daughter, Patricia, clinging to life, slumped on her bed. Both women had been attacked by the same weapon, a large hammer, or sledge hammer as reported by the newspapers. John was also discovered in the house, bleeding from self-inflicted wounds from the razor, and had attempted to ingest caustic soda.
Patricia was taken to St Vincent’s hospital, but died the following day, the 30th of May. John was also taken to St Vincent’s, where he remained under constant police guard for several months while he recovered from his injuries, at least the physical. He was eventually well enough to be taken to the City Watch House and then Pentridge Prison before his trial in October of the same year.
When it came time for John to face the courts, the Judge called a mistrial, the Crown would not prosecute on the grounds of insanity. John was led away from the dock of The Magistrates Court and taken directly to Willsmere, the Kew Mental Asylum.
On the 9th of August 1962, John Mervyn Swallow died of heart failure, he was 57. He had been a resident of Kew for four years. John’s body was returned to Eltham Cemetery and buried in the same grave as Mary. There is no mention of his name on the head stone. Patricia’s grave is next to Mary and John. A sad irony has an angel upon her grave, “its head missing”, possibly vandals or just an accident of time and events.
What became of the home where all of this took place on New Street shall remain a mystery but within six months of this horrific event, the street had been re-named to Lavender Park Road after the original property near the end of the road, Lavender Park.
#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>
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia