Category Archives: Society

February Meeting – A stroll down Memory Lane 50 years ago; 14th Feb. 8pm

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

Wednesday, 14th February at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Looking north along the west side of Main Road through the shopping centre, Eltham, February 1968. Shows the pedestrian crossing to the Railway Station and car parking. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

All are welcome to come along to our first meeting of the year to be held Wednesday, 14th February, 8:00 p.m. at the Senior Citizen’s Centre and our 303rd meeting since the Shire of Eltham Historical Society was formally established in October 1967.

Through the magic of Historypin we plan to travel back in time, 50 years to February 1968. Big changes to the township were afoot with the pending duplication of Main Road. A series of approximately 50 photos were taken in February 1968 by an unknown person of the section of Main Road planned for duplication, commencing at Pitt Street and traveling towards Research through the shopping centre, finishing just past Elsa Court.

These images now form our first showcase collection on Historypin, an online tool which combines with Google Street View to transition between views from ‘Then’ and ‘Now’.

At our meeting we will introduce this Historypin collection and view a number of the key images. The intention for this meeting is to provide a two-way discussion; so comments, personal recollections and corrections are most welcome as we take a Valentine Day’s walk down Main Road together.

As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.

Advertisements

ThrowbackThursday: Library Place, Eltham, 1966

Asphalting Eltham Shire Office driveway at 895 Main Road, Eltham, c.1966 (Photo: Russell Yeoman; from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back 52 years to the site of the newly built offices for the Shire of Eltham, a beautiful 1960s design erected on the original site of Shillinglaw Cottage, where we are witness to the asphalting of the driveway. Following the dissolution of the Shire of Eltham in December 1994 and its amalgamation with the Shire of Diamond Valley, the offices were demolished in August 1996 and the driveway became part of Library Place. Interesting given that the Eltham Library was located in the opposite (southern) end of the Shire Office building until the new library was built in its present location in 1994. This view is from the northern end of the Shire Office looking east towards Main Road and the Eltham War Memorial Hall building. The grass section is the site of the current Eltham Senior Citizens Centre and the location of our Society meetings, built sometime between this photo being taken and 1968, the future of which is itself now up for discussion. The Senior Citizens Centre can be seen in the 1968 image of the Shire Office below.

Eltham Shire Office, 895 Main Road, Eltham,c.1965 (Photo: Hugh Fisher; Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection #768 held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library)
Eltham Shire Office, 895 Main Road, Eltham, 1968 (Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection #657 held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library)

ThrowbackThursday: Back to the Future, 1985

#ThrowbackThursday – Who knows what that large circular monument is in front of the Eltham Community Centre across Main Road from the Eltham Hotel? Well, today we time travel back to the future, 2035 in fact, or more precisely, 1985 when the foundations were cast by the Shire of Eltham Historical Society to celebrate the Eltham of 1985  with that of 2035.

It is November 10th, 1985 and the Eltham Festival is in full swing; the Parade has finished and Eltham Town Park (or Alistair Knox Park) is full of people and displays. Included on the official program at 2.00 pm is a Time Capsule Ceremony where a time capsule is to be lowered into a monument established by the Shire of Eltham Historical Society to commemorate Victoria’s 150th anniversary and the former location of the Eltham Town Centre, which existed along this section of Main Road, then known as Maria Street.

Time Capsule Ceremony, Eltham Community Centre, cnr Main Road and Pitt Street, 10 November, 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Cr. Mary Grant (Shire President) addresses the gathering. Immediately adjacent to her are Russell Yeoman (Society Secretary), Sue Law (Society President) and Joh Ebeli; Time Capsule Ceremony, Eltham Community Centre, cnr Main Road and Pitt Street, 10 November, 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Cr. Mary Grant unveils the Mounument plaque.Time Capsule Ceremony, Eltham Community Centre, cnr Main Road and Pitt Street, 10 November, 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

The monument was constructed with a concrete base and the main feature is an old tyring plate or disc. The Time Capsule Ceremony involved lowering the sealed time capsule into place, bolting down its container lid and then concreting over the lid.

Russell Yeoman, Cr. Mary Grant and Joh Ebeli lower the capsule; Time Capsule Ceremony, Eltham Community Centre, cnr Main Road and Pitt Street, 10 November, 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The time capsule lowered in position; Time Capsule Ceremony, Eltham Community Centre, cnr Main Road and Pitt Street, 10 November, 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

The capsule contains items relating to present day (1985) Eltham and its people including a video film made by Joh Ebeli and also details of families and organizations who have contributed to construction of the monument. It is to be opened in the year 2035.

The Society received an excellent response from local people, firms and organizations by way of assistance with this project. Graham Beyer, who originated the project, arranged many of the donations. He and his firm, Package Handling Equipment, donated the time capsule itself and carried out fabrication of sections of the monument. The design of the monument was adapted by Graham Beyer from drawings by Joh Ebeli. Charmac Industries donated the container for the time capsule and a cast gun metal name plate for the monument. BMG Concrete donated concrete for the base which was constructed by Caridi Construction Company. Northbourne Garden Supplies donated materials for the paving around the monument.

Construction of the Monument’s base, October 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Lowering the Tyring disc into place, October 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Lowering the Tyring disc into place, October 1985. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

Robert Becker from Eltham Apex directed construction of the paving by Society members. Terry Hutchinson donated the use of his crane to lift the tyring disc into place.

Financial contributions were also made by the Eltham Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Eltham.

Leaping forward two years to 1987 and the Society is now celebrating its 20th Anniversary. In commemoration of that event, the Society commissioned a plaque which explains the functions of the various items used in the Society’s Victorian 150th Anniversary Monument with an unveiling by its designer, Joh Ebeli, on October 10, 1987. The plaque was Joh’s idea and he provided the impetus for its completion. Joh’s dedication address is repeated below.

Unveiling of the plaque commemorating the Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s 20th Anniversary by Joh Ebeli, 10 October, 1987. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Unveiling of the plaque commemorating the Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s 20th Anniversary by Joh Ebeli, 10 October, 1987. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Unveiling of the plaque commemorating the Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s 20th Anniversary by Joh Ebeli, 10 October, 1987. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
The commemorative plaque explains the functions of the various items used in the Victorian 150th Anniversary Monument and Time Capsule in front of the Eltham Community Centre, corner of Main Road and Pitt Street, Eltham, unveiled by Joh Ebeli, 10th October, 1987, the gift of Mr and Mrs R.C. McLellan. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Unveiling of the Society’s 20th Anniversary Commemorative Plaque, 10 October, 1987. Standing L-R: Mrs Opal Smith, Mr (obscured), Mr Norm Williams, Mr Nankervis, Mrs Nankervis, Mrs Marjorie Smith Motschall. Seated L-R: Mr Phillips (looking down), Mrs Phillips (looking away), Mrs Beryl Read, Mrs Lilian Rumney. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society. Photo: Peter Basset-Smith).
Unveiling of the Society’s 20th Anniversary Commemorative Plaque, 10 October, 1987. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society. Photo: Peter Basset-Smith)
Unveiling of the Society’s 20th Anniversary Commemorative Plaque, 10 October, 1987. Standing L-R: Mrs Florence Spicer, Mr Nankervis, Mrs Nankervis, Mrs Marjorie Smith Motschall, Mrs Joy Ness, Mr Alan Gardner, Mrs Marion Yeoman, Mrs Marie Ebeli, Mr Garnet Burges (in hat), Mrs McLellan, – , Mr Bob McLellan. Seated L-R: – , Mrs Eileen Gibbons, Mrs Kath Stephenson, Mrs Irvine Green, Mr Irvine Green (President, Doncaster and Templestowe Historical Society), – , Mrs Bishop. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society. Photo: Peter Basset-Smith).
Unveiling of the Society’s 20th Anniversary Commemorative Plaque, 10 October, 1987. Standing L-R: Mrs Nankervis, Mrs Marjorie Smith Motschall, Mrs Joy Ness, Mr Alan Gardner, Mrs Marion Yeoman, Mr Irvine Green (stooping), Mrs Lucy Robertson, Mrs Marie Ebeli, child, Mrs McLellan, Mr Garnet Burges. Seated L-R: Mrs Clair Renouf, Mrs Eileen Gibbons, Mrs Kath Stephenson, Mrs Irvine Green, Mrs Jean Nowlan. (From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society. Photo: Peter Basset-Smith).

 

“We are here to finalise this monument by unveiling a plaque which explains the functions of the items for the adjacent monument.

I have brought six different people here and have asked them “What do you think of this monument” No one could tell me – some thought it was a sort of modern decoration, so I felt there and then that we still had to do more to make this monument understood and most of all, appreciated.

Therefore, we need to know a bit of the history of the wheel, the subject cart wheel has certainly a magnificent history for us all! Where should we be without the invention of the wheel!

Making a spoked wheel calls for a sort of genius for its structure is a great deal more complex than might be imagined.

There is a scribe in Iraq nearly 6,000 years ago which showed a wheeled cart. This was the earliest surviving evidence – the transport breakthrough that helped man to advance into civilisation. The wheels of this cart ·were not the crude unevenly rounded slices of tree trunk that might be imagined. They were made from three planks joined by cross struts to form a circle. The middle piece being bored centrally to hold the axle end. A wheelwright had been at work and a new craft was born!

Then came the time that allowed the wheel to turn freely instead of the former method of fixing the wheels to an axle that revolved through two hoops slung under the wagon.

In Egypt around 1,750 B.C. a light battle-chariot was used for hunting lions and other animals. In Tutankhamen’s tomb a casket was found from the 15th or 14th century B.C. bears a marvellous painting of several chariots. interestingly, the wheels have only 6 spokes.

Since the Middle Ages at least, it has been customary to fit 12 spokes – to heavier wheels 14 and sometimes 16. Around 1500 B.C. the rims of wheels began to be fitted with metal bands of tyres. This was a great improvement upon the earlier practice of binding them with leather which must have had a very short life on the uneven tracks and roads of the time. I myself, got a buggy and fitted on the 2 wheels are solid rubber tyres.

Well, I can carry-on a long time on my hobby subject but to come back to our monument …

The large iron disc was a platform used for fitting iron tyres to wooden spoked cart wheels (like the one on top of the platform). The local blacksmith and wheelwright used to work side by side. The wheel was clamped to this platform, this held the naff (or hub) tightly and the spokes at a constant angle.

A fire was next to it. An iron hoop or tyre previously forged to the correct size was dropped in the fire – when this tyre was red-hot the blacksmith lifted this with tongs over the outside of the wooden rim. The men hammered the hoop down amid flames from the scorching timber. Then the wheelwright drenched the tyre with cold water as soon as it was in position.

As the tyre cooled an even pressure from the contracting tyre tightened the joints at each end of the spokes and formed- a vice-like grip which would last for the life of the wheel. As you can see, it calls for a sort of genius and, talking about geniuses, we have two here in the gathering. Firstly, the Society wants to thank Bob Mclellan and his sons of Charmac here in Bridge Street for their donation of a beautiful plaque. He made it exactly as my design was including the illustration and logo. Next the second genius, Mr. Graham Beyer of Package Handling. He also made and donated this solid super special construction for us and we also are very grateful to him for doing this.

All I want to say is may this monument be helpful to students of the High School for making their essays about the history of the wheel and also to keep our monument alive.

Thanks for listening to me – it was only a “blast from the past!”

Herewith I then unveil this plaque and may this be here shining in the sun in the year 2037!”

 

ThrowbackThursday: Eltham Festival Community Parade 1987

#ThrowbackThursday – This weekend brings us another exciting Rotary Eltham Festival. The first Eltham Community Festival was held in 1975 with great success but it was not always held at this time in late spring. In the 1970s the festival was conducted over a ten day period held during August however in the early 1980s it was reduced to two or three days duration and shifted to mid-late October. From 1984 it moved to its more familiar spot around the second week of November where it has remained ever since.

Up until the early 1990s a highlight of the festival was the Eltham Community Festival Parade which started towards the northern end of the shops, either from Youth Road or Cecil Street, then proceeded south along Main Road, finishing up either at Eltham Lower Park in the first years and later Eltham Common, or more recently Alistair Knox Park where many displays and stalls were set up.

The Shire of Eltham Historical Society (as we were known prior to council amalgamations in 1995) first participated in the Parade in 1979 and was a regular entrant up to and including 1990. During those 12 years the Society won a number of awards including “Best Effort by Locals”, “Best Eltham Theme”, “Best Display” and in 1986 even took out the Grand Prize.

Each year the Society endeavoured to undertake a unique theme for the parade float and display and today we time travel back 30 years to November 7th, 1987 when our float with its colonial washing day theme won the trophy for the best display.

The display was installed on Bruce Ness’ truck using a number of  larger implements owned by or available to the Society such as an early washing machine, troughs, copper and mangle. Joh Ebeli and Russell Yeoman set up further items on a trailer loaned by Denis McKay. (Many of these items are now part of the Andrew Ross Museum at Kangaroo Ground.) Members came dressed in appropriate period costume and musicians from the Victorian Folk Music Club who regularly accompanied the Society on the float again joined us in the Parade with their lively music, assembling in Cecil Street at 11.30 a.m. prior to the start of the parade at 12 noon.

Setting up in Cecil Street prior to the start of the Eltham Community Festival Parade at 12 noon; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Setting up in Cecil Street prior to the start of the Eltham Community Festival Parade at 12 noon; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Flo Spicer setting up in Cecil Street prior to the start of the Eltham Community Festival Parade at 12 noon; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Russell Yeoman (left) and Matthew Smith carry the Society Banner ahead of the float driven by Bruce Ness in the Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society members Opal Smith, Eileen Gibbon and Flo Spicer, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society members Opal Smith, Eileen Gibbon and Flo Spicer, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society members Sue Law (President) and Garnet Burges, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society member Sue Law and members of the Victorian Folk Music Club, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Members of the Victorian Folk Music Club, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Russell Yeoman (left) and Matthew Smith carry the Society Banner past the Shire Offices and Catholic Church ahead of the float driven by Bruce Ness in the Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society member Jock Read bringing up the rear guard in the Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
The parade enters Panther Place; Society members Sue Law (President) and Garnet Burges, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Jock Read at the end of the parade beside the Society float/display, Eltham Festival Community Parade, 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; photo: Joh Ebeli).
Shire of Eltham Historical Society members and friends pose beside their winning display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987
Shire of Eltham Historical Society members and friends pose beside their winning display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987

Some images from the Shire of Eltham display

Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society).
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society).
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society).

 

October Meeting – A 50th Anniversary Panel of EDHS Members

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

Wednesday, 11th October at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Eltham Festival Parade, 11 November 1989; Main Road near the corner with Arthur Street. Society President, Sue Law, and Junior Vice-President Doug Orford carry the Society Banner leading the parade float. The Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s parade float featured a gold mining theme – “The Eltham Goldrush” (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

As this meeting is close to the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of the Shire of Eltham Historical Society, on 24th October 1967, we will appropriately look back on our own history. This will include a panel of members who will highlight some of our experiences and achievements along the way.

As a special 50th anniversary treat we will have the opportunity to view, for the first time, a video reflecting on the first 50 years of our Society. This video, produced by Gerald Ashcroft from www.storiestobetold.com.au, is based around interviews with Russell Yeoman and Doug Orford about their recollections. Gerald has generously donated his expertise and time to provide this video as a valued gift to EDHS on the occasion of our 50th Anniversary.

As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.

August Meeting – The Shallards of Montmorency

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

9th August at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Were St., Montmorency, 08 Oct 1950
Source: Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photo Collection no. 805 held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library. Original donor-Mrs. Dandy, Montmorency

Blanche and Jack Shallard were involved in many activities in the Montmorency community throughout their lives. They observed Were Street grow from a one shop street to a bustling shopping village. Jack was a local solicitor and on the Board of the Diamond Valley Community Hospital, while Blanche was a member of the Hospital Auxiliary and the Eltham District Historical Society. They were also connected with Montmorency State School and St Faith’s Church in Montmorency.

At this meeting we are pleased to have their daughter, Professor Margaret Deighton, speak about her family and her recollections of growing up in Montmorency.

As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.

House originally owned by the Shallard family then later by F. Squire; situated off Lilicur Road, Montmorency. From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; donated by: Deirdre Nedwell, Bulleen

June Meeting – Walter Withers in Eltham

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

14th June at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

We will be pleased to welcome Andrew Mackenzie OAM, a regular friend of the Eltham District Historical Society. Andrew is an Art Historian, Lecturer, Heritage Consultant, Archivist and Author of many books, including a number about the life of Walter Withers (1854-1914). At this meeting Andrew will speak about Walter Withers in Eltham.

Walter Withers, The Drover 1912, oil on canvas, purchased 1916, Bendigo Art Gallery

There are a number of strong connections between the Withers family and early Eltham, which Andrew will touch on. Not only did Withers establish his home in Eltham from 1902, he painted a number of his significant paintings around Eltham and the local area.
He even captured William Capewell, the local Eltham butcher, in his famous painting ‘The Drover’.

As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.