#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back 50 years to the Main Road shops in Eltham. It is a Monday morning, July 15th, 1968 and the weather is fine but cloudy. People are off to work and school. The temperature is 41 degrees (5° C) with a high of 53 (12° C). Cars and people are navigating the roadworks which are now well under way to widen Main Road from Pitt Street to Elsa Court.
What memories does this invoke for you? One can certainly get a fuller impression now of how this area changed with the widening of the road.
#ThrowbackThursday – “Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?I’ve been up to London to look at the queen!” Well, we are going to save you the trouble of going to London to look at the Queen because today we time travel back to 24 February 1954 and Main Road, Eltham when the Queen is visiting Eltham to look at us. A public holiday was declared to enable people to welcome Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Were you present in the crowd? Or were your parents? Do you have any photos? We would love to hear about your personal stories and any photos you may have of the event you would like to share.
#ThrowbackThursday – Anyone in need of a trim or perhaps feeling a little lucky? Well today we time travel back to the period 1968-1972 where you are in luck; perhaps not so much with the lottery ticket but you can get a short back and sides and your smokes. Today we visit the Barber shop or for the more refined, the Men’s Continental Hairstylist, located directly opposite Arthur Street and adjacent to Lyon Bros. Ford. Previously situated around the corner past the Post Office near the railway station, the Barber shop is now front and centre in the town where all the men folk congregate (apart from the pub). It is 1972.
Who remembers sitting and waiting, listening to the constant banter between Barber and customer, most likely about the latest footy or cricket results; even the horses, a constant in the background on the radio. The smell of tonics and antiseptics and for the older fellows, the sharp acrid smell of a singe by candle; the buzzing of the clippers and the snip, snip, snip of the scissors. Layers of hair tumbling before you, gathering in your lap then falling to the floor beneath the chair, swept up in between customers; the classy reading material full of PIX magazines and then with a flourish of the cloth like a Toreador, you are beckoned to take a seat with “What are we having today?”, the next victim in line, defeated by your Mum or Dad in your attempt to emulate the flowing locks of John Lennon or Mick Jagger.
#ThrowbackThursday – In October 1967 the Shire of Eltham Historical Society was formed, which we celebrated with our 50th anniversary throughout last year. Coincidentally, 1967-1968 was also the beginning of much change around the centre of Eltham with the widening of Main Road and extensive road construction along Bible Street and Arthur Street. So whilst we are still in our 50th anniversary mood we will again today time travel back 50 years to visit a more quiet Bible street near the intersection of Arthur Street and then take a peek down the hill along Arthur Street at what is yet to come.
Here we are looking north along Bible Street towards the intersection with Arthur Street in 1967. It appears a storm has recently passed through, the sun is shining but the road is wet; leaves strewn across it. No roundabout of course, that would have come in the late 1980s and note the horse rider; you probably would not see that today with cars zooming along, bypassing Main Road as they weave around all the parked cars whose occupants have walked down the hill to catch the train. These were quieter times.
As we approach the intersection of Arthur Street we take a peek to the east, down to the right. It is now 1968. There is a new road surface and gutters and footpath but Arthur Street itself still only extends to the top of the hill, stopping at the future intersection of Doodson Court. Most of the houses in view have changed or gone.
The blue Valiant is parked outside what was no. 43, now part of a unit complex at no. 41. Immediately in front of the Valiant is no. 45, which has been a vacant block since before 1990. The gentleman in the hat holding a paper and walking up the hill is outside no. 39, now a unit complex and the old house on left is no. 37 (since replaced), which borders what is now the Walter Withers Reserve.
Note the other activity occurring in the picture. Apart from the gentleman walking up the hill, at the very bottom of the hill is a fellow mowing his lawn at no. 51 with his new Victa lawnmower (a classic today) and the spray of green grass clippings all over the road. And to the left of his property can be seen the pathway for pedestrian access linking Arthur Street to Lilian Parade. And up the hill in the distance outside no. 64 we see four children playing on the road. These were definitely quieter times.
Addendum: Recently the Eltham District Historical Society was very privileged to receive a donation of nearly 300 images from Fred Mitchell, an avid photographer who captured every day life in Melbourne and the district around his home in Eltham of more than forty years from the 1950s onward. The images showcased today are part of that collection and were also featured in Fred’s book, Retro Melbourne published in 2014 by New Holland Publishers Pty Ltd. We are very grateful to Fred for his generousity.
If like Fred Mitchell you have treasured images from Eltham and district of years gone by and would like to see them preserved for posterity, please consider making a donation to the Eltham District Historical Society. If you wish to hold on to your originals, we are happy to arrange a loan where we can undertake a high resolution archival quality scan from prints (or negatives if available) and then return the originals plus a digital copy. Please refer to our Donations page for more information.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to Arthur Street, Eltham in the 1940s. Site of the current Eltham Town Square and Woolworths carpark, 70 years ago it was the very distinguished home of Mr and Mrs Ernie Andrew. The house was known locally as “Cook’s Cottage” as it reminded locals of that rather more well known cottage of the same name in the Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne.
Ernie Andrew died in 1950 and sadly not long afterwards Eltham lost a very unique landmark when the house was demolished.
A few of our older members can still recall the house – does anyone else have recollections of it?
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1999 and the building of the new Coles store in the Eltham Village Shopping Centre at the corner of Main Road and Arthur Street, Eltham. This site has seen a fair number of changes over the years but this would have to be the biggest and deepest cut of all.
While travelling along our local streets do you ever wonder why or how these were named? Let us have a look at some.
Josiah Holloway was responsible for the 1851 Little Eltham sub division that now comprises the Town Centre. His wife’s maiden name was Susan Maria Bible and his brother-in-law was Arthur Bible, so this explains the origin of Susan, Bible and Arthur streets in central Eltham. Part of Main Road was also originally known as Maria Street.
Brougham Street in Eltham was named after Henry Brougham, a British statesman who became Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom. Among other things he actively worked to promote the abolition of slavery, helped establish the French resort of Cannes and was also responsible for designing the four-wheeled horse drawn carriage that bears his name. The western section of Brougham Street was named Wellington Street in Holloway’s subdivision, presumably after the Duke of Wellington, but was later changed so that Brougham Street was continuous.
The name of Shalbury Avenue off Beard Street in Eltham is the result of the combination of the names of Jack Shallard and a Mr. Bradbury who subdivided the land in that area. Mr. Bradbury’s family came to Eltham in 1913 and one of his sons (Ron) had a medical practice for many years at the corner of Main Road and Brougham Street, where there is now a restaurant.
When Mrs. Theo Handfield subdivided land in 1924 to the west of the Diamond Creek in Eltham she named Peter Street and John Street after her two sons. However, the name of John Street was later changed due to possible confusion with the other John Street off Main Road. It then became Fay Street, after Fay Harcourt the wife of the well-known local builder John Harcourt.
Bells Hill Road at the eastern end of Main Road, Research was once part of Mt Pleasant Road. It was re-named in the 1990s because it was separated from the main part of that road. Bells Hill is the hill in Main Road rising up from Research to Kangaroo Ground. John Bell of the pioneer Bell family of Kangaroo Ground and Yarra Glen lived at “Violet Bank”, the first of the Kangaroo Ground properties at the top of the hill.
Prepared by Russell Yeoman and Jim Connor from the Eltham District Historical Society
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia