Community War Memorial Signage

Hurstbridge Memorial Park

The Hurstbridge Memorial Park interpretative signage was launched today by Mr Andrew Giles MP, Federal Member for Scullin with Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor, Cr. Helen Coleman.

The Hurstbridge Avenue of Honour plaque was also dedicated to local soldiers by Cr. Coleman.

Local students from the Hurstbridge Learning co-operative and Hurstbridge Primary School read the poem and story behind “In Flanders Field”. One student, Mia read out a poem she had written herself “Lest We Forget”. The audience were told about the recent Anzac Day commemorations at the Primary School which included crafting poppies and planting an Oak Tree – a descendant from a tree at Gallipoli.

The Memorial park was originally developed by the community’s horticultural group and consisted of 50 trees, three of which still remain. Only 26 names were registered.

Today’s event follows the launch last month of the markers at the historic entrance to the Eltham Gateway and site of the original Avenue of Honour where about 100 trees were planted and cared for by the local community following World War One.

These Anzac Centenary Projects were funded by Federal and State government funds. It is hoped that these new projects not only honour – but create conversations about – local WW1 enlistments, and the communities on the home front and indeed those who worked tirelessly to first build memorials and plant avenues of honour so that Lest we Forget.


Gulf Station

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

8 July 2015 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

Gulf Station-2

The presentation by Mike Ridley at our meeting at 8.00pm on Wednesday 8th July 2015, at the Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre in Library Place, Eltham is titled ‘Gulf Station’.

Mike will speak about the first assisted migrant ship to arrive from Scotland which carried, amongst others, The Bell family – the builders of Gulf Station. He will mention their first settlement in Kangaroo Ground; how one of their sons, William, started Gulf Station and the family who kept it going for nearly 100 years. In more modern times Gulf Station was sold to Smedley’s, a bookmaker, and then to the State Government. Now the National Trust manages the farm.

During the presentation Mike will also discuss the animals kept on the farm, construction of the house and out buildings, as well as the future of Gulf Station.

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

Heritage Walk: Montmorency – the farm on the Plenty – 4 July, 2pm

Saturday 4th July 2015 at 2.00pm

For some years now Maureen Jones has been researching the history of Montmorency Farm and its transformation into the present day suburb of Montmorency. The story begins with Stuart
Donaldson’s 1840 purchase of 925 acres of Crown land extending from the Plenty River to the western boundary of the future Eltham township. The farm remained largely intact until some years after the railway was constructed through it in 1901. Maureen’s book on this subject is expected to be released later this year.

Seed nursery c.1965, Sims Road, Montmorency
Seed nursery c.1965, Sims Road, Montmorency

For our excursion on 4th July we intend to walk along the full length of the western boundary of the former farm from south to north. We will mainly be following paths along the Plenty River. Near Sims Road there is the opportunity to visit the location of the former farm homestead. No former farm features remain but Maureen will provide commentary on the farm and its people as we go.

Looking across to poultry sheds and Para Road shops, c.1967
Looking across to poultry sheds and Para Road shops, c.1967

This walk is about 2.5 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at Palara Court, Montmorency. (Melway ref.21 B6). Please note that this is a one way walk finishing near
Greensborough railway station. Participants can return to the start on the 901 bus (bring your Myki card), by walking independently or by arranging some other means of transport.

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

Eltham Libraries

Eltham District Historical Society Meeting

13 May 2015 at 8pm

Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham

13 May 2015 Meeting

The presentation at our May meeting  will include a panel of speakers, with opportunities for other members to comment about their memories and experiences with Eltham libraries.

This meeting date was intentionally selected to coincide with the ‘21st Birthday’ of our current Eltham Library complex, which was opened on 22nd May 1994.

As this was not the first library in Eltham, we will explore earlier versions starting from the 1930’s at various locations leading up to us then looking at the development and operation of our present library, including the range of current community connections.

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

 EDHS meeting 13 May 2015

Heritage Walk: Murray’s Farm – 2 May, 2pm

Saturday 2nd May 2015 at 2.00pm

May Excursion

Murray’s Farm originally established by John (Black Jack) Murray in the 1850s ultimately comprised some 190 acres and stretched across the Diamond Creek valley at Eltham North from Ryans Road to Zig Zag Road. Today it is largely a residential area but with extensive parklands along the Diamond Creek and an undeveloped area around the hilltop site of the former farmhouse.

The history of this farm includes its transition from orcharding to dairying to beef cattle and ultimately to residential subdivision. The creek area includes the features now known as Murrays Wetlands and Murrays Bridge, the former farm crossing of the creek, now adapted for pedestrian and bicycle use.

For our excursion on 2nd May we intend to walk around the creek parkland and discuss the history of this farm and surrounding area. At the conclusion of the walk there will be the opportunity to drive to the location of the former Murray house for views over a large area of the farm.

This short walk is about 1.5 km in length. The excursion is expected to take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the car park of the Eltham North Reserve in Wattletree Road opposite Banks Road. (Melway ref.11 K12)

This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members……… but numbers are limited.

Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

Phone number of contact on the day is 0409 021 063

EDHS Excursion flyer 2 May 2015

Montmorency Railway Station

Photo: The train to Montmorency crossing the Sherbourne Road overpass, c.1970 – courtesy of Russell Yeoman.

When the railway came to Eltham in 1902 it traversed an extensive farm and bushland area between Greensborough and Eltham, known as the Montmorency Estate. This 925 acre property, Crown Portion 3, Parish of Nillumbik, was purchased from the Crown in 1840 by Stuart Alexander Donaldson. He soon sold the land but then it remained in the ownership of the Donnithorne family for very many years. A public road from Eltham to Greensborough was constructed through the land, (part of today’s Sherbourne Road and Karingal Drive). Apart from that the land remained intact until acquisition of land for the railway which ran through the middle of the estate.

In 1911 the whole of the estate was subdivided and sold as the Greensborough Railway Station Estate. It comprised two sections, one being 52 half-acre residential lots, taking in most of today’s Briar Hill. The balance of the land was subdivided into lots, generally
of about 10 acres each. New roads were created through the land including Sherbourne, Rattray and Mountain View Roads. The development was promoted as having access to the railway at Greensborough station but there was no station within this estate.

By 1923 a community had developed within the Montmorency Estate. It included a school and St Faiths Anglican Church. Local residents and the Eltham Shire Council became involved in moves to have a railway station opened at Montmorency. Many years later Shire Secretary Max Watson assembled a file of correspondence and newsletter articles on the station and this file forms part of our Society records.

The proposed station site had no road access and the Railways Department required that access be provided before it would open a station. The streets opened for this purpose are Mayona Road, Were Street and Binns Street.

The file indicates that there was widespread community agreement to the project which included provision of roads through private property and payment of construction costs by residents. This enabled the Council to provide a guarantee to the Railways Department to enable construction of the station to commence. It was noted that 40 people had agreed to buy train tickets.

As the project proceeded a level of disagreement between neighbours became apparent. Some were donating land for roads but others required payment. Those donating land did not think that they should be paying any costs. Some thought that the roads should only be available for use by those involved in the scheme. Dr. G Nicholson was only prepared to donate his land if the roads were available for public access.

The station opened on 5th September 1923. Children and the School Committee were granted a joy ride to Eltham and back.

It seems that the disagreements in the community were resolved and the Council constructed the access roads soon after the station opened.

The establishment of the station at Montmorency led to development of the area for residential purposes. By the end of the 1920s many of the large blocks of the Montmorency Estate had been subdivided into conventional suburban building blocks and soon the fledgling Montmorency shopping centre appeared in Were Street.

Eltham and District 1865

The Victorian Gazetteer – 1865

37º 44’ S. lat., 145° 10’ E. long. (Co. Evelyn), is a postal village in the parish of Nillumbik, and electoral district of Eltham, situated 14 miles from Melbourne on the road to Queenstown. The river Yarra is 1½ mile distant. There is a steam flour mill (Dendy’s), a brewery, and a tannery in the village. The neighbourhood is generally elevated and rangy, except along the course of the creek. It is principally pastoral, with but little agricultural land. In several of the gullies in the vicinity gold has been found in small quantities, but there is no gold field known by any distinctive name. From 3 to 4 miles N.W. are two quartz reefs, known as Phipp’s and Orme’s reefs, both on private property. The nearest towns are Warringal, 6½ miles S.W.; Templestowe, 3 miles S.; Greensborough 2½ miles N.W.; and Kangaroo ground 6 miles N. There is communication with Warringal and the Kangaroo ground by coach, but none with the other places, except by horse or dray. The distance from Melbourne is 14 miles, and there is communication up and down on the Wood’s Point line each day. The hotels are the Eltham and the Fountain. There are no regular carriers or coaching offices, but parcels left at the hotels are taken up by the coach, and goods are taken to New Chum, Wood’s Point, and Melbourne, both by horse and bullock drays. Eltham is under the control of a road board, the population is about 350; and the geological formation is upper silurian rock with sandstone shales, &c.

The Eltham electoral division commences at a point on the river Plenty due W. of the southern boundary of portion 1, Section 12, parish of Morang; thence E. to Arthur’s creek; thence by that creek to a point due W. of Stevenson’s bridge; thence E. to the said bridge; thence S. to the river Yarra-Yarra; and thence by the rivers Yarra Yarra and Plenty to the commencing point.

The Eltham road board district has an area of 344,960 acres, and an estimated population of 1500 persons, the number of dwellings being about 150. The total value of rateable property amounts of £55,000; the estimated annual value of rateable property amounts to £6,800; the revenue from all sources to £1614 13s. 10d.; and the expenditure to £2,082 17s. 9d.