August Meeting – Creators, Makers and Shakers

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

10th August at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Alistair Knox - a 'Maker'
Alistair Knox – a ‘Maker’

We can consider ourselves very fortunate to have such a rich local history. So many individuals have contributed to bring us to where we are and what we have today.

At our next meeting Russell Yeoman and Jim Connor will speak about some of these significant ‘Creators, Makers and Shakers’.

Some are the Creators, such as the many creative artists who have lived in our area; some are the Makers, those who have helped design and build our places and spaces and then there are the actual Shakers, those who have helped change our world, influence our politics and provide the challenging ideas in the various forms we live with today.

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

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Heritage Walk: Back – track walk to Fitzsimons Lane – 2 July, 2pm

Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 2.00pm

Robin Woods
‘Robin Woods’ – the house formerly known as ‘Robin Hill’

Today residents of Eltham and beyond take it for granted that they cross the Yarra River at Fitzsimons Lane to travel to Templestowe and further on to southern and eastern suburbs. It has not always been the case. Prior to the building of the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge in 1961 there was no road crossing of the river between Banksia Street Heidelberg and Warrandyte.

Fitzsimons Lane seems an odd name for a main road carrying large volumes of traffic. Prior to the opening of the bridge it was a farm access road extending northerly from Porter Street Templestowe to the Yarra River. Land on the east side was owned by the Fitzsimons family. In 1961 the Country Roads Board constructed a bridge across the Yarra and acquired land to link Fitzsimons Lane with Main Road, Eltham. Much of this land came from the 15 acre property of Frank (Robin) and Margery Robinson Wood. The Woods’ house was named “Robin Hill”. It remains today with the name “Robin Woods” and fronts Yarra Hill Close, formerly the southern end of Bolton Street. In 1991 a new bridge was built to the west of the original bridge and Fitzsimons Lane was widened to four lanes of traffic.

Our July heritage excursion will be a walk to Yarra Hill Close and Fitzsimons Lane Bridge and will include commentary on the history of this corner of the Town of Eltham. This walk will follow a “there and back” route, that is returning over much the same course. It is about 2.5 km in length and is expected to take 2 to 2.5 hours.

It will start at 2pm at the corner of Bolton Street and Old Eltham Road (Melway ref. 21 F10). This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members. Dogs are not
permitted on Society excursions.

Everyone is welcome to this free event from the Eltham District Historical Society

All are welcome……… but numbers are limited

Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

Phone number of contact on the day is 0409 021 063

Heritage Walk: Back-track walk to Fitzsimons Lane – 2 July, 2pm

Saturday 2nd July 2016 at 2.00pm

Part of an early map of the southern end of Bolton Street, Eltham showing a proposed subdivision - this is now the site of Fitzsimons Lane
Part of an early map of the southern end of Bolton Street, Eltham showing a proposed subdivision – this is now the site of Fitzsimons Lane

Our July heritage excursion will be a walk to Yarra Hill Close and Fitzsimons Lane Bridge, based on the story on pages 3 and 4.

Although the route is close to Fitzsimons Lane it will follow streets and paths that may not be familiar to many local residents. It will include commentary on the history of this corner of the Town of Eltham.

This walk on Saturday 2nd July will follow a “there and back” route, that is returning over much the same course. It is about 2.5 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It includes some hills.

It will start at 2pm at the corner of Bolton Street and Old Eltham Road (Melway ref.21 F10).

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members.

Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

Phone number of contact on the day is 0409 021 063

June Meeting – … about Thompsons Pharmacy, Eltham

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

8th June at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Thompsons Pharmacy
1928 ‘Advertising’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 20 July, p. 3. (AFTERNOON.), via Trove http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57757783

Shortly after the First World War Ivan Thompson, a pharmacist in Fairfield, expanded into the Diamond Valley by opening pharmacies at Eltham, Greensborough and Watsonia.

In the early 1950’s, Norm Williams considered he was fortunate to be able to serve an apprenticeship with Ivan Thompson at his Eltham pharmacy. He was with the business when it moved in 1952 to the present site at 964 Main Road, Eltham, which was the first brick shop built in the Eltham Town Centre. When in 1958 Ivan Thompson decided to sell his pharmacies Harry Brown and Norm Williams were able to purchase the Eltham business and expanded with pharmacies in Fairfield and Lower Plenty.

At this meeting Norm Williams will speak about how Thompsons Pharmacy has developed, while continuing to supply a range of services for generations of Eltham families. His stories, supported by a collection of personal photographs and recollections, will entertain as well as give an insight into how pharmacy practices and the Eltham shopping centre has changed.

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

Heritage Walk: Eltham War Memorials – 7 May 2016

Eltham Avenue of Honour plaque

Saturday 7th May 2016 at 2.00pm

Over the past two years our Society along with other similar organizations has participated in the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War. This heritage excursion is a further event in that commemoration.

Within our local area many memorials, honour boards and the like were installed after that war. New memorials and additions to the earlier ones were established after the Second World War and there have been subsequent conflicts that are also commemorated. Within Eltham there are a number of memorials dedicated to locals who served Australia in times of war.

This walk on Saturday 7th May will visit a number of memorials along Main Road starting with the heritage listed Avenue of Honour. Along the way we will hear the stories of some of those who are honoured on the memorials. It will include a visit to our Local History Centre where there will be a display featuring memorials beyond the area of the walk.

The walk is about 2 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the car park in Wingrove Park near the intersection of Main and Mount Pleasant Roads. (Melway ref.21 J8). This is a one way walk finishing at the Eltham shopping centre. Private arrangements are required to return to the start such as bus or a return walk.

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members.

Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

Phone number of contact on the day is 0409 021 063

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.

February Meeting – Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photo Collection

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

10th February at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Our Society is fortunate to have access to digitised images in the Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection, through a joint project with the Yarra Plenty Regional Library, funded by a State Government Local History grant. The historic photograph collection was established by the Eltham Shire Council in 1971 and is held at the Eltham Library.

At our first Society meetings in 2014 and 2015 we received positive feedback when we presented and discussed selected images from this collection.

Hon. W.H. Everard, MLA, speaking at the opening of the Eltham Swimming Pool. Late Crs Braid and Kirkland cut the ribbon at opening ceremony of swimming pool. (1936)
Hon. W.H. Everard, MLA, speaking at the opening of the Eltham Swimming Pool. Late Crs Braid and Kirkland cut the ribbon at opening ceremony of swimming pool. (1936) – Image source YPRL

Accordingly this year for our meeting on Wednesday 10th February 2016, at 8.00pm at the Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, we will again choose a number of photographs of local interest. This time we will consider some images that are unusual or not often viewed so as to encourage comments and contributions from members and visitors.

Introduction and commentary on the pictures will be provided by Russell Yeoman and some other members. Russell has been involved with the collection since its inception when some were used in the 1971 Shire publication: Pioneers and Painters. As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.

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

Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia