Category Archives: Talks

October Meeting – The Spirit of Eltham

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

Wednesday, 10th October 2018 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Aerial view showing the Senior Citizen’s building on left, Shire of Eltham office, new Eltham Library and relocated Shillinglaw Cottage on right, 1994 ( from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory )

At this Society meeting we will explore ideas about what is considered to be the ‘Spirit of Eltham’.

We will view a video produced for the Shire of Eltham in response to the 1985 Victorian Local Government Commission Report titled ‘The Restructure of Local Government in Victoria – Principles and Program’ (the Morris review). The recommendation was to amalgamate the Shires of Eltham and Diamond Valley, something that Eltham Council did not support as being appropriate for the shire or compatible with the ‘Spirit of Eltham’.

We will also be fortunate to have a presentation on this theme by Lynnsay Prunotto, a local architect, who is also involved in community planning activities, as well as some insights from Hamish Knox on his experience of growing up and working for many years in the region.

As always, Society members and visitors are most welcome to attend this meeting.

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August Meeting – St Margaret’s Church, Eltham

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

Wednesday, 8th August 2018 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Original design sketch of St. Margaret’s by Nathaniel Billing, Architect, 1860.
(Source: St Margaret’s Parish Archives.)

St Margaret’s Church in Pitt Street, Eltham was designed by Nathaniel Billing and built by well-known pioneer builder George Stebbing on land donated by Henry Dendy.

At our Society meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 8th August 2018 architect David Wagner from Atelier Wagner will speak about the opportunities and challenges experienced in designing and constructing a contemporary style extension to this revered historical building, highly valued by the local congregation.

St. Margaret’s Church, Eltham, c.1910 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

Prior to becoming involved with St Margaret’s the Atelier Wagner architectural practice has, among an extensive range of projects, renovated and extended several churches. With this project there was also the challenge of incorporating, modifying and connecting the adjacent buildings that shared an entrance foyer. This project is of particular historical interest as it shows how buildings of different eras can be effectively used together.

As always, Society members and visitors are most welcome to attend this meeting.

L-R: David Wagner, Jacqui Wagner (Architects – Atelier Wagner), Kris Frigo (Builder – Conrad Construction and Management)
(Source: St Margaret’s Parish Archives.)
Atelier Wagner’s renovation to St Margaret’s Church, 2018 (Photo: Trevor Mein)

June Meeting – History of the former Shire of Eltham Office site

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

Wednesday, 13th June 2018 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Eltham – Shire Office, at time of Main Road widening (formerly site of Shillinglaw Cottage), 1968. (Source: Shire of Eltham; from the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection No. 657 held jointly by Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library.)

Prior to Shillinglaw Cottage (c.1878-80) being relocated to where it is now operated as a popular cafe near the Eltham Library, it was within Josiah Holloway’s 1850s subdivision known as Little Eltham, which later became the centre of the first Eltham township. Originally a farmer’s cottage it is historically significant because it is one of the Shire’s oldest dwellings and a fine example of the work of the well-known pioneer builder George Stebbing.

In 1964 the then Shire of Eltham purchased the Shillinglaw property with the intention of demolishing the cottage and constructing new Shire offices on the site. However extensive community action resulted in funds being raised to have the building saved and relocated further south to the Eltham Common, where it was joined by the Eltham Library in 1994.

The new Shire offices opened in 1965, but following municipal restructure in 1994 these were demolished in 1996 and the land sold to a developer, which precipitated a dramatic trail of community angst, threats of legal action, the sacking of a newly elected council and several unsuccessful development proposals, by subsequent councils.

After all these years the vacant site there is still guarded by the three trees that were outside the front of the Shillinglaw Cottage.

At our Society meeting on Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, Jim Connor will speak about the dramatic tale encompassing the history of the former Eltham Shire office site and the adjoining War Memorial Buildings complex, which are now being considered for sale or redevelopment by the current Nillumbik Shire Council.

As always, Society members and visitors are most welcome to attend this meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 13th June, in the Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham.

April Meeting: Briar Hill Timber and Trading Co Pty Ltd

Annual General Meeting

11th April 2018 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Our meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 11th April 2018 is our Annual General Meeting, which includes the presentation of annual reports and the election of office bearers for the coming year. The official notification of the Annual General Meeting and Agenda are on page 9 of our April Newsletter. Copies will be available on the night at the meeting or can be requested via email to edhsoffice@gmail.com.

Briar Hill Timber & Trading Co. Pty. Ltd, c.1956. Advertisement material promoting association with the Government’s Olympic Village Project for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).

At this meeting we are pleased to be able to show a film of the early activities of the Briar Hill Timber and Trading Co Pty Ltd, in Sherbourne Road, Briar Hill. This film details the various operations involved in this business during the 1950s/60s, from sourcing trees and machining the timber through to the manufacturing of various building materials and components.

Bob Manuel, who was an active part of this family owned business will attend our meeting to add his comments and insights about some of the scenes shown.

Frederick and Hazel Squire established this company in 1934 and their properties covered approximately 15 acres, on either side of Sherbourne Road. Their large timber mill that started in 1941 processed timber from Kinglake, Flowerdale and the Otways.

The company was noted for supplying timber to the Australian government for construction during World War Two, as well as joinery for the Heidelberg Olympic Village in the 1950s.

Everyone is welcome to attend this meeting.

 

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.

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