Category Archives: District

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.

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June Meeting – History of the former Shire of Eltham Office site

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

Wednesday, 13th June 2018 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Eltham – Shire Office, at time of Main Road widening (formerly site of Shillinglaw Cottage), 1968. (Source: Shire of Eltham; from the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection No. 657 held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library.)

Prior to Shillinglaw Cottage (c.1878-80) being relocated to where it is now operated as a popular cafe near the Eltham Library, it was within Josiah Holloway’s 1850s subdivision known as Little Eltham, which later became the centre of the first Eltham township. Originally a farmer’s cottage it is historically significant because it is one of the Shire’s oldest dwellings and a fine example of the work of the well-known pioneer builder George Stebbing.

In 1964 the then Shire of Eltham purchased the Shillinglaw property with the intention of demolishing the cottage and constructing new Shire offices on the site. However extensive community action resulted in funds being raised to have the building saved and relocated further south to the Eltham Common, where it was joined by the Eltham Library in 1994.

The new Shire offices opened in 1965, but following municipal restructure in 1994 these were demolished in 1996 and the land sold to a developer, which precipitated a dramatic trail of community angst, threats of legal action, the sacking of a newly elected council and several unsuccessful development proposals, by subsequent councils.

After all these years the vacant site there is still guarded by the three trees that were outside the front of the Shillinglaw Cottage.

At our Society meeting on Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, Jim Connor will speak about the dramatic tale encompassing the history of the former Eltham Shire office site and the adjoining War Memorial Buildings complex, which are now being considered for sale or redevelopment by the current Nillumbik Shire Council.

As always, Society members and visitors are most welcome to attend this meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 13th June, in the Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham.

MysteryMonday: Footpath Maintenance Work, c.1990

#MysteryMonday – Today’s images are from a roll of negative film and feature maintenance work to a footpath section linking two roads at different levels. It’s quite unique so anyone who knows it should recognise it immediately.

(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

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.

Over to you . . .

MysteryMonday: Sackville Street, Montmorency, c.1990

SOLVED – Sackville Street, Montmorency near Harrington’s Reserve

#MysteryMonday – Today’s image from our collection has a note suggesting it is View Mount Court. We believe this is an error and we have not been able to correlate this apparently older residential street development with View Mount Court. View Mount Court also has underground power supply whereas this street is clearly equipped with power poles. Still, we are happy to be shown where, if it is. If not, are you able to identify it for us?

Sackville Street, Montmorency, c.1990 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where they are and help us catalogue these images.

Over to you . . .

MysteryMonday: A Boot in Time

#MysteryMonday – Today we present a MysteryMonday of a somewhat different ilk; rather than solving the identity of a forgotten image, what we have is a tale of a mysterious event that occurred recently within our midst. It is a story of a woman’s boot, set in Eltham Cemetery, as told by Heather Eastman.

Victorian Ladies Side Lace-up Dainty Boots, c.1860. (Image Source: 1860-1960: one hundred years of fashion and accessories)

While out walking the dog one day past Eltham Cemetery on Mount Pleasant Road, I came across a very old looking boot. It was freshly dug up, most likely by a hungry and inquisitive fox looking for something to eat. It was sitting beside a sizable hole right next to the old green caretaker’s hut.

The boot appeared to be a genuine relic of the past. All leather, including the sole; laces long since gone. It had certainly seen better days with a few holes here and there and it was full of dirt.

I had seen boots like this before in pictures from the past. At a guess, it was a hundred years old, possibly more, and its owner, female with dainty feet.

I considered it may have come from the little Bootmaker’s cottage on Main Road. The cottage is still there, but of course has not witnessed boots made for years. I imagined when it did, they probably looked like this one.

I understand, around the time boots like this were worn, people were also quite superstitious. Often burying or concealing a single boot or shoe in a wall cavity or the like, to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune.

I failed to take a photo of the boot that day, so I went back a few days later to do so. However, the boot was gone, and in its place, appeared a fresh pile of mulch. The boot provided a brief glimpse into our past, now a mystery as to how it got there and who once owned it. The above image is a good match for the boot.

Bootmaker’s cottage adjacent to Whitecloud Cottage, opposite the intersection of Dalton Street at Main Road, Eltham, 5 Jun 1990 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

Do you have any tales of mysterious happenings or events in the district you would like to share? If so, we’d love to hear from you

MysteryMonday: Route 9, Kangaroo Ground, c.1990

Frame No. 0 – EDHS_03179; Roll of 35mm colour negative film, 5 strips
Kodak GA100 5095
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

#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.

Frame No. 1 – EDHS_03179; Roll of 35mm colour negative film, 5 strips
Kodak GA100 5095
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

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.

Frame No. 2 – EDHS_03179; Roll of 35mm colour negative film, 5 strips
Kodak GA100 5095
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Frame No. 3 – EDHS_03179; Roll of 35mm colour negative film, 5 strips
Kodak GA100 5095
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Frame No. 4 – EDHS_03179; Roll of 35mm colour negative film, 5 strips
Kodak GA100 5095
(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

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.

Over to you . . .

MysteryMonday: Walsh Street, Eltham, c.1989

SOLVED: Near 5 Walsh Street, Eltham; looking east up Walsh Street from near Bolton Street

New speed calming measures, somewhere in the Shire of Eltham, c.1989 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).

#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.

Over to you . . .

New speed calming measures, somewhere in the Shire of Eltham, c.1989 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).