Category Archives: Society

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.

EDHS Local History Centre Open Day – Sat March 4th

edhs-1967The former police residence at 728 Main Road, Eltham was built in 1859-60 to house the local police officer, with the first occupant being Constable Peter Lawlor and his family. This building is on the Victorian Heritage Register and is considered to be of state heritage significance as the oldest public building in Nillumbik, after the adjacent Court House, also built in 1859-60. A single stall brick stables building with a loft was also built in the rear yard, but has been substantially altered since. The original two-cell bluestone lockup, located where the rear car park now is, was demolished in the 1950s. Some of the bluestone blocks have been used as edging for garden beds.

Police activities ceased about 1952 when a new police station was opened in central Eltham. The residence was then used by the State Lands Department, followed by a Community Youth Support Scheme and later for the Shire of Eltham Parks and Environment Section.

edhs-2017Since 1998 our Society has appreciated occupying this former residence for our Local History Centre as the base for our operations and to house a range of local history resources, records and documents.

During the last six months we have undertaken a substantial refurbishment and reorganisation of the premises and to celebrate this achievement we will be holding an Open Day and official ‘reopening’ on Saturday 4th March from 2.00pm. Society members and visitors are invited to visit, browse around and explore some of our local history.

February Meeting – Local History Trivia Night

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

8th February at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

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The format for this meeting will be a local history trivia quiz based on pictures from the Society’s collection or present day pictures taken especially for this quiz.

As we commence our 50th Anniversary year the focus will be on Society achievements and activities, but perhaps with some othericky questions to confuse participants. An early significant achievement was participation in the collection of historical photographs for “Pioneers and Painters” now known as the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection, so of course some questions will be based on photos from that collection.

Participants can work individually or in teams of up to four people. Forms will be provided setting out the questions with space for written answers. There will be a prize for the winner or winning team. Quizmaster will be Russell Yeoman.

This light-hearted meeting will be held at 8 pm on Wednesday 8th February in the Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place Eltham. All members and visitors are welcome to attend.

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

1967 – A Year of Change

50-years-maroon

A word from our Society President, Jim Connor.

While there have been many changes in the 50 years since 1967, the year our Historical Society was established, 50 years is not such a long time………in historical terms.

It is however a significant milestone for our small not-for-profit historical group, a milestone to be appropriately acknowledged and celebrated. We can remember our past and value our present, as we encompass our future.

Much has changed since 1967, the last year Harold Holt was Prime Minister, when Henry Bolte was the Victorian Premier, La Trobe University was officially opened, the Postcode system was introduced, Heidelberg Historical Society commenced and in June the Beatles released the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band album, considered by Rolling Stone magazine to be the most important rock and roll album ever made. June was also the month the first meeting was held to establish our Society.

Since that time our Society has been actively involved in many activities, excursions, meetings and initiatives to support recognition of our local history. We have been, and are part of the social and cultural fabric that makes up our community. We, and other like groups, value our history and we continue to encourage the broader appreciation of the historical elements within our district, that once gone can never be replaced.

During this year we will look back to consider those individuals who helped establish the then Shire of Eltham Historical Society, now known as the Eltham District Historical Society. They set a course that has led us to where we are today.

Along the way there have been many, many people who have contributed their time, skills, passion and commitment to support our Society and to ensure it has continued to present, value and express the importance of protecting our heritage and maintaining memories of the past, our significant local history.

Now an appropriate question is…where do we go from here? No doubt this will be one of the many discussion points during 2017, our 50th Anniversary year.

2017 Program

To catch up with what is happening during our 50th anniversary year, our 2017 Program is now available to download directly from here or via the menu links.

Laughing Waters Road – Jane Woollard

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

13 April 2016 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Our Annual General Meeting was held April 13, which included the presentation of annual reports and the election of office bearers for the coming year. Jim Connor who was re-elected as President announced at the meeting that our membership base now stands at 79.

At this meeting Jane Woollard spoke about her recently released book titled “Laughing Waters Road: Art, Landscape and Memory in Eltham.”

Jane, who was the local history officer at the Shire of Nillumbik has a detailed knowledge of the history of our area, as well as an extensive background as a writer, theatre director and teacher. She has woven together the experiences and art making of more than eighty artists, who since 2001 have been in residence at Laughing Waters in Birrarung House and Riverbend, together with Wurundjeri, European and family histories to create an evocative account of a very special place in Eltham.

A large number of members and guests attended the meeting to hear Jane talk about her experiences over the four years it took to write the book. Jane sprinkled excerpts from notable sections within the book throughout her talk. Following on from this, Jane took a number of questions from the audience some of whom also shared their own experiences of Laughing Waters Road and the people who have lived there.

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

New EDHS Banner

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The Royal Historical Society Victoria (RHSV) invited affiliated historical societies and heritage groups to apply for the design of a rollup banner as a way to acknowledge and celebrate their History Week 2015 program. The Eltham District Historical Society was fortunate to be successful with an application, which meant we could proceed with submitting a layout to their graphic designers.

Our committee agreed with the draft design prepared by Jim Connor, which was then sent for final artwork and production. We are pleased with the banner we have received through the generous support of the RHSV.

This has already been displayed at a talk about Early Eltham Pioneers at the Eltham Library on 20 October 2015 as part of the RHSV Local History Week and also the Yarra Plenty Regional Library Local History Month. The banner will also be used at our meetings, future events and presentations as a means of promoting our Society and our interests in local history.

Wedding Bells

In the 1902 and 1904 Evelyn Observer, the local newspaper of the Shire of Eltham, there was a column named ‘Wedding Bells’. Along with the names of the couples, their parents, the Church, the names of people connected to the Bride and Groom, the report of the presents at the after service gatherings, were listed as to who gave what from their side of the families.

The following items have been listed in the two weddings of Miss Florence Maud Knapman (1902) and Miss Catherine Emma Gilsenan (1904):

A kitchen stove, piano, set of jugs, pair of primrose vases, ruby vases, canary in a cage, teapot, crumb tray and brush, apron, supper cloth, marble clock, fruit dishes, picture frames, pair of mats, hanging brush rack, serviettes, pair of d’oyleys, cheques, pair of hall curtains, candle sticks, cow in full milk, pair of pickle jars, set of afternoon tea spoons, dinner set, cheese cover, drawing room lamp, silver marmalade dish, jardinere, glass cream jug and basin, water jug and glasses, silver mounted biscuit barrel, glass fruit stand and tray cloth, picture of local scenery, silver bread fork and butter knife, serviette rings, cedar table, along with household linen and items of ‘handsome and costly’ presents of a personal nature.