#ThrowbackThursday – somewhat appropriately on the day after Valentine’s Day, we are reminded of Richie Cunningham who from 1974-1984 on Happy Days, when he was feeling particularly lucky or spotted a prospective girlfriend, would break into song with the 1940s Fats Domino tune, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill.” Well, Eltham/Research also had a Blueberry Hill of sorts, and today we time travel back to the corner of Reynolds Road and Mount Pleasant Road where Lou Siluzio operated a Blueberry farm at Lot 1 Mount Pleasant Road, Research. It is 1988 and the Shire of Eltham is preparing to seal Mount Pleasant Road, used by so many nowadays via Reynolds Road to avoid the traffic congestion along Main Road.
We can only imagine what is was like trying to navigate these roads prior to sealing, especially when wet. Perhaps you found your thrill on Blueberry Hill, though maybe not in the same way as Richie. Love to hear your stories, or …. confessions?
Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham
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.
#MysteryMonday – Following last Monday’s phenomenal response to our initial Mystery Monday challenge, which successfully identified the Long Gully Bridge in Panton Hill, today’s challenge may just prove a little more difficult.
Today’s images are of a residential area, possibly Research or Eltham North but frankly we leave that to you to call upon your collective expert local knowledge to decide. The pictures were taken on 16 May 1990 and are sequential on a roll of negative film. The first shot was stitched together from two frames, the second from three frames.
That is all that is on the negative. Perhaps the area strikes a chord with you, perhaps you even know someone who may live there. Perhaps the house is yours. It is very possible the street may now have been sealed.
Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is, any stories you can tell about the area, and better still, any similar photos you can share?
#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.
MYSTERY SOLVED – Long Gully Road Bridge over Long Gully at Panton Hill. The house in the background (believed to be 50 Long Gully Road burnt down in 1977.)
#MysteryMonday – Today we start a new feature; a mystery challenge. As we progress through our collection we sometimes come across a photo where we have no information about its identification or location, etc. Or sometimes we may just want to verify our own thoughts. So on Mondays, not necessarily every Monday, we will post a challenge and throw it open to the experts in our community to see if we can add more information to these wonderful old records.
Today’s image is of a local Eltham bridge. Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is, any stories you can tell about it, and better still, any similar photos you can share?
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when efforts were under way to try and save an early settler’s cottage located in Ely Street, Eltham.
In 1978 the society was investigating means of preserving a timber cottage in Ely Street probably dating from the 1850s and believed to have been owned by the pioneer Falkiner family. The land on which the cottage stood was to be sub divided into residential lots. With the consent of the owners the society applied to the Historic Buildings Preservation Council for assessment of the building and inclusion on the Register of Historic Buildings.
Around May 1979, the owner Cronus Pty. Ltd, offered the building and the land on which it stood to the Council free of charge, subject to certain minor modifications to the subdivision. The Council agreed to support the modification.
Considerable research into the history of the building was carried out on behalf of the Historic Buildings Preservation Council. The origins of the building were somewhat obscure. The land on which the house stood was within the Crown Township of Eltham and was known as cultivation allotment 3 with an area of just over 1 ha. It comprised only about one quarter of the land to be subdivided. This land was sold by the Crown in 1852 to Charles Brown, a stock commission agent of Bourke Street, Melbourne, for nine pounds fifteen shillings.
Brown apparently did not live on the land and probably bought it and other nearby land for speculative purposes. The land was soon sold to one Frederick Edward Falkiner who had occupied the area prior to the land sales and had bought one of the cultivation allotments (C.A. 17) without having to compete at public auction. The reason for the purchase of C A 17 in this manner was that improvements on the property were regarded as the property of Falkiner according to Surveyor Hurst (son of Henry of Hurstbridge fame) the improvements comprised “1 ½ acres of cultivation, a very dilapidated; five-roomed hut of sawn slabs, also a rough hut used as a dairy, total value 30 pounds.”
The house was apparently built or shifted to the site by Falkiner, probably in the 1850s. Suggestions that it was previously a school have not been supported by any available evidence. The house was owned by the Falkiner family until the 1920s when it was bought by Mr. R. Maynard, who then sold the land to Cronus Pty. Ltd.
The most significant participant in the history of this house is Frederick Falkiner and it is appropriate to record some further details of his residence in this area.
Falkiner came to Port Phillip in October 1836 and began business as a horse dealer. He purchased his pastoral run on the lower Diamond Creek in 1847 from Joseph Wilson who in turn purchased it from Henry Foley in 1845. Foley was the original occupier of this area in 1840. These purchases were of course before the original freehold land sales and involved only squatting rights or leasehold land together with any improvements. In 1849, Falkiner applied for three 640 acre leases in the Parish of Nillumbik. Also in that year, Mr. John Semar who held a licence to depasture stock on the run known as “Semars” or “Arthur” on the Diamond Creek requested that the licence be transferred to “Alex Falconer of Melbourne”. This person may well have been Frederick Falkiner.
Falkiner’s name appears from time to time in various records of the area. In 1848 a complaint was made by Thomas Sweeney and others that Falkiner was impounding their cattle. In 1854 Falkiner was appointed Eltham’s first postmaster, a position which he held for just over a year. The existing house may well have been the first post office. Also in that year Falkiner complained about the Building Committee of the Little Eltham School, a complaint deemed “frivolous and vexatious” by the Rev. Goodman of Heidelberg. In 1858 he was fined five pounds for carelessly setting fire to his stubble yet in the same year he was auditor of the accounts of the Eltham District Road Board.
The present Falkiner Street adjoins Falkiner’s original crown grant.
Around August 1980, the Historic Buildings Preservation Council advised that the cottage was not to be added to the Register of Historic Buildings. The Council’s classifications sub-committee considered that on a state wide basis there were better examples of vernacular buildings and there was insufficient historical data to establish that the building was of importance, even to the district.
The decision did not mean that the building was not worthy of preservation but it would not have had any legislative protection. The cottage and a small area of surrounding land was transferred to the Shire of Eltham with the intention of to still achieve this aim. However by May 1982 it was in a derelict condition due to its age and action by vandals and the Council had received complaints from nearby residents requesting that some action be taken.
Restoration would have required replacement of most components except the external cladding, the cost of which would have been high. Without any identified beneficial use for the building, allocation of funds by any body had to be justified purely on the historic value of the building.
From an appearance point of view the house now appeared to be almost squashed into the back yards of the recently constructed houses and was very much out of character with its surroundings. In its former setting facing a large open paddock it did contribute to the character of the area.
In late 1983 the cottage was demolished. Arrangements were made with Mr David Willis of Kyneton Mill for him to salvage useful material from the building for use in restoring the mill along with an appropriate acknowledgement in the mill of the source of the materials.
References: Shire of Eltham Historical Society Newsletters, numbers 4 (Nov 1978), 6 (May 1979), 14 (Sep 1980), 24 (May 1982), 25 (Jul 1982), 30 (May 1983) and 31 (Jul 1983)
This is our final ThrowbackThursday post for our 50th anniversary year. The Society wishes all of its members and interested supporters and very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year holiday season.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to the early 1950s to Main Road, Eltham, opposite the Railway Station. Specifically we are visiting the Eltham Hardware & Timber Company operated by J.N. Burgoyne and Sons.
The Eltham Hardware and Timber Company first opened on Main Road opposite the Railway Station around late 1922. An advertisement placed in the Hurstbridge Advertiser advised that the Hardware Store had just opened with a varied stock of Saws, Hammers, Nails, Shovels, Screw Drivers, and every article required in a house or on a farm. People were also encouraged to try their Jams, Pickles, Sauces, Cups and Saucers, etc. (1).
A few months later in May 1923, William Walker, a plumber, placed an advertisement wishing to to announce that he had taken over the
ELTHAM HARDWARE STORE, and asked for the continued support of the district. He also noted that all kinds of Plumbing work was done.
Walker remained the proprietor of the Hardware Store for many years regularly advertising its services and wares up until at least 1941. The trail goes a bit quiet then but he does appear in the 1944 Electoral Roll listed as a Plumber, of Main Street, Eltham. However he is not listed in the 1949 Electoral Roll but his son, Thomas Roy Walker, also a plumber of Main Road is listed. Thomas had been on active duty overseas during the Second World War and returned at the end of 1945. It is assumed that William died sometime between 1945 and 1949.
On November 18th, 1950 the Hardware Store and residence was auctioned on site by Scarff Bros. Pty Ltd. The advertisement stated (2):
THIS DAY ELTHAM
At 3 p.m. On the property
FREEHOLD SHOP and 4-rm Dwelling and Hardware and General Agency Business, Including Petrol Reseller’s Licence, as a Going Concern. Also Freehold Lock-up Shop Adjoining. Let on a Weekly Tenancy. Land 50 x 150. This Affords Prospective Purchasers an Unequalled Opportunity to Secure a Going Concern with Unlimited Scope. Particularly as the property is Situate on a Main Arterial Road and the Petrol Sales Can be Vastly Improved with a Minimum of Expense. Trade Figures, Title Parts, &c. from the Auctioneers.
SCARFF BROS PTY LTD
379 Collins Street, Melbourne
MB3238. After Hours WM2051
It is presumed that this is when J.N. Burgoyne and Sons took over the business. It would have been around this time the picture of the store was taken for only three years later, in October 1953, the business and dwelling was again put up for sale, this time by Trebilcock Bros, in two separate lots (3). Coincidentally, the Hardware Store was taken over by Richard Phillip Trebilcock, an electrical engineer from Mayona Road, Montmorency (4).
SAT., OCTOBER 24. At 3 p.m.
SPLENDID HARDWARE BUSINESS and DEVELOPMENT SITE
Two Adjoining Properties
OPPOSITE STATION ENTRANCE.
To Be Sold In Separate Lots.
LOT 1. — ELTHAM HARDWARE AND TIMBER CO.
Freehold and Property, Plant, Fittings and Business; Plus Stock at Valuation. To be Sold as a Going Concern.
THE FREEHOLD PROPERTY Comprises Large Brick and Timber Shop. Well Fitted. Has Good Light. Comfortable 3-Room Dwelling and Detached Bungalow, H.W.S., Phone, Garage and Outbuildings. Situate on Large Allotment, 50 Ft. x 150 Ft. Aprox.
THE BUSINESS: Flourishing Hardware and Builders’ Supplies, Crockery, Glassware and Gifts, Dry Cleaning Agency and Petrol Reseller Licence (1 Bowser Installed), Oil Storage. Annual Turnover Aprox. £12,000. Audited Figures Available, Old-established Business Comprehensive Stock is Good, Clean and Saleable (Value Approx. £4000).
LOT 2. — Superb Shop Sites. Adjoining the Above Property. Land 58 Ft. x 150 Ft. (Approx.). Erected on Land Is Old Style 4-r Timber Dwelling, Set Well Back from Footpath. Leaving Ample Apace to erect Shops. Also Small Shop Let as Agent’s Office. To Be Sold Subject to Existing Tenancies, Gross Rentals £106 12/ Per Annum. Terms: £1000 Deposit, Balance 30 days.
GENERAL: Eltham Is a Rapidly Developing Area only 12 Miles from G.P.O. Street Frontage of these Two Adjoining Properties Is 108 Feet By Depth of 150 Feet in the Heart of Expanding Shopping Centre, directly Opposite Station Entrance. Full Details and Inspection Available on Application from the Auctioneers: