Category Archives: Early Eltham

Eltham’s first Rate Books handed over to Public Record Office Victoria (PROV)

The original Shire of Eltham was founded in 1871. Prior to its founding, the district was managed by the Eltham District Road Board, which was established in 1856. The first rate assessment commenced in 1857 for the year ending October 14, 1858.

The honour of being recorded with the first assessment went to a farm of 110 cultivated acres at Lower Plenty, owned by John Porter and occupied by Albert Baines. It was assessed at 6d/acre providing for a rate income of £2 15s.

Eltham Road District; Assessment for the Year ending October 14th, 1858

In July 2017, officers at the Shire of Nillumbik discovered some early Eltham Road District Assessment books and donated them to the Eltham District Historical Society. We were very excited as we soon realised the seven volumes handed over to us were the district’s first six years of rate assessments. This was a unique and significant record of early settlers in the pre-Shire of Eltham. They immediately became one of the oldest and most valuable items in our collection.

An article on page 5 in the Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser, Friday, 21 November, 1941 titled: ‘District’s Early History‘ states: “The first rate book which is still in existence at the Shire Office is for the year ending October 14, 1858 and is probably the best record possible to indicate the development of the district. At the time properties were rated as follows: Cultivated land. 6d. per acre; pasture land, 1d. per acre: estimated annual value of buildings, etc., 6d in the (pound). The total amount of rate recorded for the year was £153/14/8. Properties were described as being situated at Lower Plenty, Yarra Yarra, Eltham, Lower Eltham, Kangaroo Ground, Yarra Flats, Diamond Creek and the Yarra.”

Given the precious nature of this collection, priority was given to digitise the rate books and place them in suitable archival storage to minimise further handling. Subsequent discussion amongst our Collections team arrived at the conclusion that the most appropriate home for this valuable record was the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV), the archive of the State Government of Victoria and who are charged with archiving and caring for all Government related records. An approach was made to PROV and the air of excitement was palpable, just as it had been for us. These records completed their collection of rate assessment books for Eltham.

At a small ceremony held Friday, April 20 at the Local History Centre, Eltham, members of the Society and our Collections team, along with Ms. Vicki Ward, MP for Eltham, presented the seven volumes for 1858-1863 along with the complete set of digital files to Mr. David Taylor, Community Archives Manager and Mr. Charlie Farrugia, Senior Collection Advisor, Public Record Office Victoria.

L-R: Jim Connor (EDHS President), Charlie Farrugia (PROV), Vicki Ward (MP for Eltham), Peter Pidgeon (EDHS Vice President) and David Taylor (PROV); 20 April 2018

“Thank you to the Historical Society for providing us with Eltham’s earliest known rate records. The receipt of these records means that a complete set for the district is now available for researchers to access from the state archives alongside other districts across Victoria. Rate books are a valuable resource for family and property researchers and are amongst our most popular records for those who want to know more about the history of their home. It’s fantastic to be able to add these early books from 1858-1863 to our collection,” David Taylor, Community Archives Manager, Public Record Office Victoria (pictured far right).

Society Vice President, Peter Pidgeon said that whilst the Society was reluctant to see the rate assessment volumes go, it was the right thing to do as they are now re-united with their brothers and sisters and Public Record Office Victoria was best equipped to care for them in a climate controlled environment for perpetuity.

Ms. Vicki Ward, MP for Eltham, with Eltham District’s first rate assessment book for the year ending October 14, 1858 at the Local History Centre, 728 Main Road, Eltham; 20 April 2018
Ms. Vicki Ward, MP for Eltham and Mr. David Taylor, Community Archives Manager, Public Record Office Victoria inspect Eltham’s earliest rate assessment books; 20 April 2018.

This is another example of the extended reach the Society has been able to achieve in being able to catalogue and share our collection via Victorian Collections.

The Society will continue to retain the digital version of these records in our catalogue on Victorian Collections, which are fully accessible as per the following links.

Eltham Road District; Assessment, For the Year ending Oct. 14th, 1858

Eltham Road District; Assessment, For the Year ending Oct. 14th, 1859

Eltham Road District; Assessment, For the Year ending Oct. 14th, 1860 (Version 1)

Eltham Road District; Assessment, For the Year ending Oct. 14th, 1860 (Version 2)

Eltham Road District; Assessment, For the Year ending Oct. 14th, 1861

Eltham Road District; Assessment, For the Year ending Oct. 14th, 1862

Eltham Road District; Assessment, For the Year ending Oct. 14th, 1863

 

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Heritage Walk: Eltham Cemetery Artworks – March 3rd, 2pm

Saturday, 3rd March 2018 at 2.00pm

Photo: Jim Connor

Newsletter No 236 October 2017 contained a report on the unveiling of a significant new art project at the Eltham Cemetery. Titled “Our Eltham – Artistic Recollections” it features 31 ceramic panels containing artwork with a local history theme. The work is the joint creation of artist Nerina Lascelles and ceramicist Linda Detoma, supported with stonework by Leigh Wykes and steelwork by Neil Carter, all skilled local Nillumbik artisans.

Photo: Jim Connor

The main purpose of our excursion on Saturday 3rd March 2018 at 2.00pm will be to view the panels and will include readings from the interpretive booklet published by the Cemetery Trust. There will also be the opportunity to inspect other artworks within the cemetery.

Enter the cemetery from Metery Road (Melway Ref. 21 K9) and proceed to the adjacent car park.

This excursion is free and is open to the general public as well as Society members.

Please note that dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.

Heritage Excursion: Saturday 4th Nov. – The Shillinglaw Farm

Come join Eltham District Historical Society on a walk to follow the boundaries of the original Shillinglaw Farm in central Eltham.

Saturday, 4th November, 2017.

Meet at 2.00 pm in Panther Place Eltham, outside the Eltham Library (Melway Map 21 J5).

The Shillinglaw Farm comprised Lot 90 of Holloway’s 1851 Little Eltham subdivision. It was originally 30 acres in area and situated east of the Diamond Creek and north of Henry Street.

This short walk will include a number of stops to look at early photographs and maps to illustrate the gradual reduction of the Shillinglaw Farm, as well as the early history of the adjacent railway. It will also include many photos of the Eltham Town Centre.

Shillinglaw Cottage Cafe will be open before the excursion for those
who might like a coffee or something else.

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members. Phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.

Please note that dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

Heritage Excursion: Saturday 2nd Sept. – An Eltham South Ramble

Photo: Old Main Road Bridge over Diamond Creek, Eltham; a timber trestle bridge which was damaged in the 1924 floods and subsequently replaced in 1926 with a concrete structure. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society) – Turnaround point for this heritage excursion.

Saturday, 2nd September, 2017 at 2.00pm

This walk was originally scheduled for May but for several reasons including inclement weather it had to be postponed. We hope for better luck this time.

Early view of Main Road looking south from Brougham Street to Dalton Street; site of the Avenue of Honour in memory of the 1914-1918 War.

In the early days of our Society our excursions were usually bus trips to places of historic interest away from Eltham. For nearly 20 years our excursions have been far more local, mainly comprising walks around many parts of the Eltham district. The first such walk was a leisurely stroll through the Eltham South area.

Although that walk has been repeated several times with some variations it is considered appropriate in this our 50th year to again take a ramble visiting historic sites in Eltham South. On the way we will pass artist Percy Leason’s house “Landscape” where we will read from Margot Tasca’s recent book on Leason’s life about the construction of the house and studio. Other sites will include White Cloud Cottage, the old buildings of Eltham Primary School and teacher David Clark’s cottage, “Shoestring”. We will walk through the historic Eltham Cemetery and Wingrove Park, a site of Aboriginal significance.

This walk on Saturday 2nd September 2017 is about 3.5 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the Eltham Local History Centre 728 Main Road (Melway ref 21J7). Our early walks finished with a cuppa and biscuit and we will reinstate that feature for this walk.

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members. Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions. The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.

Photos of Percy Leason’s Residence Studio “Landscape” by David Bick from the Shire of Eltham Heritage Study 1992.

Source: RESIDENCE AND REAR CONCRETE STUDIO – “LANDSCAPE”, 60 LAVENDER PARK RD – See more at: http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/63480

ThrowbackThursday: Willy Wonka’s Icecream Shop

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back in four jumps to the site of 820 Main Road, Eltham;

Photograph: J. Connor 2008

First stop is  around ten years ago c.2007-2008 where we find Eltham Fine Food & Ice-cream, otherwise known locally as Willy Wonka’s given its motorised feature above the ice-cream servery. Many a child would have stood and wondered at this feature whilst waiting for their treats.

Source: Copy held by Eltham District Historical Society of original photograph; photographer unknown

Next leap is 40 years back to the mid 1970s when the shop was then known as Marchant’s Milk Bar.

Source: From the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection (No. 702) held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library; originally donated by Bruce Burgoyne to the former Shire of Eltham.

Now we jump back 77 years to 1940 where we meet the original owners, the Burgoyne family standing outside their shop. The extension with entrance to the right was a recent addition which in later years was variously modified and blocked off.

Source: From the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection (No. 701) held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library

And finally back approximately one hundred years to its original version, J.N. Burgoyne’s Grocery Store and Post Office.

As always, we’d love for you to share your memories of visits to Willy Wonka’s (Eltham Fine Food & Ice-cream) or to Marchant’s Milk Bar.

Of course it is unlikely that many today will personally remember Burgoyne’s as it was back in its time but it’s great to see the heritage of our area still standing and still being used.

The original Burgoynes store as seen by Google Streetview, Feb 2017

Back to the future and more recently, the shop was known as Sweet D Lites though has since closed. Big changes are now in store for the original building with a development application, initially refused by Nillumbik Council.

In November 2016 the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) approved an application to allow the redevelopment of this property to provide two shops, building and works, including part demolition, alterations and extensions to this existing heritage building and construction of a contemporary addition with three, two-bedroom dwellings, including partly above the roof level of the existing heritage building. The Eltham District Historical Society was an objector at VCAT to this application.

 

 

Heritage Excursion: Eltham Lower Park Walk and Talk – 1st July 2017

Saturday, 1st July, 2017 at 2.00pm

Eltham Lower Park has played an important part in the history of our area since the early days of European settlement when it was used by local residents as an informal racecourse. Prior to that its location at the junction of the Diamond Creek and the Yarra River made it an
important meeting place for the Wurundjeri people.

Australia Day 1968; Members Macedonian Society hold get together at Lower Eltham Park. (From the collection of EDHS: Donated by George W. Bell)

The park combines formal elements and sporting facilities with remnant bushland that is of environmental significance. It is home to sporting and horse riding clubs, popular play spaces and the Diamond Valley Miniature Railway, which attracts large numbers of visitors.

Black and white photograph of Diamond Valley Miniature Railway with a train at the station in the early 1960s (From the collection of EDHS)

The park will be the venue for our July excursion which will comprise a walk of about 3.5 km around the park and adjacent areas. Along the way we will discuss the history and natural history of the area. The path along the creek and the river provides a pleasant and scenic walk.

The walk will start at 2pm at the Main Road car park at the front of the park. (Melway ref 21 H 10).

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members. Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions. The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.

Heritage Excursion: An Eltham South Ramble – 6th May 2017

Saturday, 6th May, 2017 at 2.00pm

Early view of Main Road looking south from Brougham Street to Dalton Street; site of the Avenue of Honour in memory of the 1914-1918 War.

In the early days of our Society our excursions were usually bus trips to places of historic interest away from Eltham. For nearly 20 years our excursions have been far more local, mainly comprising walks around many parts of the Eltham district. The first such walk was a leisurely stroll through the Eltham South area.

Although that walk has been repeated several times with some variations it is considered appropriate in this our 50th year to again take a ramble visiting historic sites in Eltham South. On the way we will pass such places as White Cloud Cottage, the old buildings of Eltham Primary School, teacher David Clark’s cottage “Shoestring” and artist Percy Leason’s house “Landscape”. We will walk through the historic Eltham Cemetery and Wingrove Park, a site of Aboriginal significance.

This walk on Saturday 6th May 2017 is about 3.5 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the Eltham Local History Centre 728 Main Road (Melway ref 21J7). Our early walks finished with a cuppa and biscuit and we will reinstate that feature for this walk.

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members. Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions. The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.

Photos of Percy Leason’s Residence Studio “Landscape” by David Bick from the Shire of Eltham Heritage Study 1992.

Source: RESIDENCE AND REAR CONCRETE STUDIO – “LANDSCAPE”, 60 LAVENDER PARK RD – See more at: http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/63480