#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to the corner of Pitt Street and Main Road, circa September 1966 where we will commence our walk eastwards to Bible Street.
On the southeast corner of Pitt and Main we see the iconic Eltham Hotel with its sunny Beer Garden out back and Drive In Bottle Shop accessed from Pitt Street. A sign on the left advises us of roadwork ahead. Reconstruction of Bible Street and a number of the cross streets was undertaken by the Shire of Eltham as part of infrastructure upgrades from 1966 through 1968. Typically the underground services would be completed then new footpaths and nature strips along with many of the characteristic rock retaining walls. Lastly, the new road surfaces would be sealed.
As we head towards Bible Street we have to walk along the road. Pitt Street is still unsealed and there are no footpaths on the nature strip, just the odd track. On the left we see some of the large underground pipes placed on the nature strips in preparation for the roadworks that are under way. On the right we see a glimpse of Stebbing Cottage at 88 Pitt Street, built by George Stebbing over 100 years ago around 1860. In the distance we can see Pitt Street climbing the hill east of Bible Street.
As we dip down the hill towards Bible Street we can now see the local Milk Bar on the southeast corner of Pitt and Bible streets. A Bulla delivery truck is pulled up out front delivering a fresh load of milk, cream and ice cream. A red Telephone Box stands on the nature strip. Apart from the Milk Bar, no other buildings or houses are visible on the southern side of Pitt Street and only a few on the northern side as we look up the hill. Some children are riding on bikes.
As we arrive at Bible Street, also unsealed, we notice the red kerosene warning lanterns placed on stakes on the road verges around the intersection in preparation for the road works. The Bulla truck just pulled away. A little girl walks past us carrying a bag and heading up Pitt Street. The local Milk Bar also offers a Delicatessen and Self Service Grocery and Drive Through customer car park. Perhaps she just picked up some groceries from the Milk Bar for her mum who has promised to bake her a cake for afternoon tea.
What memories do you have of the Eltham Milk Bar and other local neighbourhood Milk Bars? It remains a survivor in our time poor, modern society; a link to a more leisurely pace in our past. There used to be two others within a short distance; one in Hartland Way and one in Eucalyptus Road, both now re-purposed more than a decade ago.
#ThrowbackThursday – Who does not enjoy the aroma that permeates a baker’s shop? Often when going into a bakery the smell can instantly take us back in time to a favourite bakery of our childhood and the anticipation of some freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven or maybe even some small sweet treat.
Today we time travel back to September 1979 to the old Eltham Bakehouse at the corner of Main Road and York Street. It has not been a bakery for some time now and looks sad and run down.
But this was once at the centre of a thriving community. It is nearly 120 years old and has stood on this spot, still recognisable, since the 1860s. It even holds some secrets; an unsolved murder mystery from the late 1890s. And it seems those secrets may never be revealed for today we are to witness the demolition of this once busy building.
There has recently been a substantial amount of publicity in the local press regarding the demolition of the old baker’s shop on the corner of Main Road and York Street, Eltham.
The old weatherboard building comprises a dwelling with a shop in the front room opening off a timber verandah deck which directly fronted the Main Road footpath.
At the rear is a brick building of much later date which was for many years used for the bakery. The buildings are being demolished for flat construction.
Recent publicity has been oriented towards moves to preserve the weatherboard building. Preservation initiatives have come from a number of individuals including members of this Society. It should be noted that the Society has no official connection with any proposal to retain the building or any part of it on any other site. The issues involved in this matter are part of a wider consideration of the matter of preservation of historic buildings.
In this case the Society and in particular the committee has been aware for some years of the impending demolition. The possibility of the preservation of the building has been canvassed on a number of occasions. The Society’s view is that whilst the baker’s shop is an interesting old building which contributes to the character of Main Road, it is not of sufficient importance to wage an organised campaign for its preservation. It is considered that if the building were to be preserved for historical reasons it would be far more feasible to retain it in its present location than to re-build it on another site.
Unfortunately as we can see standing in front of the building on this grey September day in 1979, demolition is now well in progress. It is not known whether the proposal to retain part of the building for re-erection elsewhere is proceeding or not. Substantial funds would be required for any re-erection and restoration project. The Society considers that at this time the highest priority for allocation of any funds available for local historical preservation works is the restoration and preservation of the old cottage in Ely Street. But that is for the future and another leap in time.
Back to the future – Whilst the Society was not engaged in any preservation efforts, Society member Joh Ebeli along with Howard Elwers certainly did try to salvage some portions of the building. Enquiries today indicate that ultimately nothing came of this but hopefully some of these items; the timbers and fittings did find new life, integrated into the fabric of other buildings, either new or restored. And maybe, just maybe, those other secrets may still be discovered.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1960 and Pryor Street, Eltham near the intersection with Main Road.
Standing about halfway on the southern side of Pryor Street looking towards Main Road, we see on the northeastern corner, the new branch of the State Savings Bank of Victoria under construction. A brickie’s cement mixer stands on the footpath beside the building and the roofing is yet to be completed. In 1980 the State Savings Bank of Victoria name was revised to the State Bank of Victoria, which was eventually sold and absorbed into the Commonwealth Bank in 1990. Given the Commonwealth Bank already had a branch in Eltham, the building was acquired by the Bank of Melbourne which itself was acquired by the Westapc Bank in 1997. Despite some modifications and extensions, the current @Westpac Eltham branch building remains very recognisable especially when viewed from Pryor Street, even 58 years later.
Next door up the hill is a white timber building, Eltham Plumbing Supplies operated by Leonard and Jeannette Patricia Whiteway. Unlike the bank, this site has seen many changes. In 1963 a Petition for Bankruptcy was issued re Jeanette Patricia Whiteway of 88 Napoleon Street, Eltham, house duties, and carrying on a business at Pryor Street, Eltham in partnership with another as a plumber under the names Eltham Plumbing Supplies and L. & J.P. Whiteway. The Whiteways kept trading and four years later sought a notice for discharge. Eventually the building became the Eltham Bookshop including bric-a-brac items for sale.
With the development of the Eltham shopping district and Commercial Place, the building was demolished and a new cafe, the Eira Cafe and Lounge Bar replaced it and which more recently came under new ownership as the Jock and Eddie Cafe.
In this view, the house immediately to the left was the first house built in Pryor Street. By 1964 the property was in the ownership of the Shire of Eltham and was relocated c.1965 near to the area of the currrent Barak Bushlands.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to Main Road, Eltham, c.1910, opposite the relatively new Railway Station. At that time and up until the late 1940s, Main Road was known as Maria Street.
In this view we are standing near the northeast corner of what will become the intersection of Arthur Street and Main Road looking northwest across the road. The railway station can be seen on the left. In the centre is a small wooden shop front with H.H. Clark painted on the sides, believed to be from where Mr. Horace H. Clark conducted his estate agency and auction sales business. Further down the road to the right of picture is another shop belonging to Mr. W.J. Capewell, butcher.
The same view today.
And in this view we are standing near the future intersection of Pryor Street and Main Road looking to the southwest across Maria Street. W.J. Capewell’s shop front is forefront on the right; note the Hot Water sign painted on the fence. In the distance is a larger shop, Lloyd’s General Store (later Staff’s) with Summer Drinks and Hot Water also advertised on the building’s side. This shop was located opposite to where Arthur Street is now situated. Between these two buildings can be seen H.H. Clark’s agency though you need to look closely as it is very small in size.
The same view today.
As can be seen, the landscape has undergone dramatic transformation over the last 100 plus years. What changes will there be in the next 100?
These photographs form part of a collection of photographs gathered by the Shire of Eltham for their centenary project book, “Pioneers and Painters: 100 years of the Shire of Eltham” by Alan Marshall (1971). The collection of over 500 images is held in partnership between Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library (Eltham Library) and is now formally known as the ‘The Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection.’
It is significant in being the first community sourced collection representing the places and people of the Shire’s first one hundred years.
#ThrowbackThursday – “Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?I’ve been up to London to look at the queen!” Well, we are going to save you the trouble of going to London to look at the Queen because today we time travel back to 24 February 1954 and Main Road, Eltham when the Queen is visiting Eltham to look at us. A public holiday was declared to enable people to welcome Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Were you present in the crowd? Or were your parents? Do you have any photos? We would love to hear about your personal stories and any photos you may have of the event you would like to share.
#ThrowbackThursday – With all the unseasonably warm weather we have had lately, good chance people have been able to get more use out of their pools this last summer and autumn. Of course pools require a lot of maintenance and upkeep so the local pool shop becomes a trusted friend, recommending this or advising that to keep your pool in tip top condition. Where’s your favourite pool centre now? Well today we time travel back to c.1989 and to Pete’s Pool Centre situated between 660 Main Road, Eltham and the Shell Service Station on the corner of Mount Pleasant Road, opposite Wingrove Park. And check out the price of petrol; $0.579 versus $1.519 today if you fill up.
Did you ever visit Pete’s Pool Centre? What was it like? It has gone now, the property absorbed into the Service Station and Kmart Tyre and Auto Repair business; grass where the building once stood. Ten years earlier it was the presence of Alan Whitmore Estate Agent, which we caught a sight of in a previous time jump to the 1978 Eltham Festival Parade. Maybe he sold Pete’s Pool Centre?
#ThrowbackThursday – Anyone in need of a trim or perhaps feeling a little lucky? Well today we time travel back to the period 1968-1972 where you are in luck; perhaps not so much with the lottery ticket but you can get a short back and sides and your smokes. Today we visit the Barber shop or for the more refined, the Men’s Continental Hairstylist, located directly opposite Arthur Street and adjacent to Lyon Bros. Ford. Previously situated around the corner past the Post Office near the railway station, the Barber shop is now front and centre in the town where all the men folk congregate (apart from the pub). It is 1972.
Who remembers sitting and waiting, listening to the constant banter between Barber and customer, most likely about the latest footy or cricket results; even the horses, a constant in the background on the radio. The smell of tonics and antiseptics and for the older fellows, the sharp acrid smell of a singe by candle; the buzzing of the clippers and the snip, snip, snip of the scissors. Layers of hair tumbling before you, gathering in your lap then falling to the floor beneath the chair, swept up in between customers; the classy reading material full of PIX magazines and then with a flourish of the cloth like a Toreador, you are beckoned to take a seat with “What are we having today?”, the next victim in line, defeated by your Mum or Dad in your attempt to emulate the flowing locks of John Lennon or Mick Jagger.
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia