Tag Archives: Bolton Street

ThrowbackThursday: Billy Cart Derby, Easter Saturday 1957

Promotional window label, Eltham Gymkhana, Easter Saturday, 20 April 1957 ( from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory )

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to Saturday, April 20, 1957. We are going to the Eltham Easter Gymkhana which is being held at Eltham Park. This is the ninth Eltham Show to be held in aid of the Eltham War Memorial Trust. The Trust has already built an Infant Welfare Centre which was opened five years ago in 1952 and more recently this year, a preschool centre which includes a children’s library in an annexe.

Today’s programme includes equestrian turnouts, dressage contests, and jumping events for which the newly formed Melbourne Show Jumping Club have assisted in laying out an Olympic-type course.

The Women’s Auxiliary of the trust are also running a market stall, with local produce and handcrafts.

Besides the horse show, there will be a pedigreed goat show and this year, a most thrilling soap box derby for us to see for which Mr Russell Lewis along with Mr J.M. Peter Bassett-Smith, secretary of the trust and a member of the show committee will assist in the running of.

Entry form for the Skyline Drive-In “Soap-Box” Derby, to be held along Main Road between Panorama Avenue and Bolton Street, Easter Saturday, 20 April 1957 ( from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory )
[Note: entry form quotes incorrect date as 19 April, which was a Friday]
The Soap Box Derby is being sponsored this year by Hoyt’s Skyline Theatres and is to be run over a 3/4 mile long course along the main Eltham Road commencing at the eastern corner of Panorama Road and racing down the hill to the finish line at the intersection with Bolton Street. There are two divisions in this Derby; Junior, 8-13 years and Senior, 14-95 years, so let’s go join in the fun.

Billy carts in the Senior division are permitted vehicles of any size or type provided they are fitted with four wheels, adequate braking, steering and have no motor. In the Junior division the vehicles must also be no more than five feet in length and the wheels no more than 12 inches in diameter. No pneumatic tyres and needle or roller bearings are allowed.

It is now 11:00 am and the elimination heats followed by the semi-finals are about to commence. The final of each division should be conducted around 1:20 pm. Apart from the local entries, 18 Melbourne Grammar School Students are in attendance to assist in the running of the Derby.

The Starter now places the competitors on the starting line. He takes a few steps forward in front of the line of billy carts, turns to face them, raises the flag in his arm, scans the line and each competitor one final time then drops the flag. And they’re racing!

In about four minutes they will cross the finish line at Bolton Street.

The 1957 Eltham Gymkhana made a profit of £309 19s 6d, which was paid in to the Eltham War Memorial Trust fund.

Did you attend or participate in the Billy Cart Derby? Do you have any pictures or stories you would like to share with us? We would love to hear your comments and memories.

Entry form for the Skyline Drive-In “Soap-Box” Derby, to be held along Main Road between Panorama Avenue and Bolton Street, Easter Saturday, 20 April 1957 ( from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory )
[Note: entry form quotes incorrect date as 19 April, which was a Friday]

References:

  • 1957, “Young Rider to Judge at Show”, The Age, Wednesday, April 17, 1957, p8
  • 1957, Your Entry Form for the Skyline Drive-In “Soap-Box” Derby
  • 1957, Minutes of Meeting of Eltham Show Committee held at La Ronde, 12 April 1957
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ThrowbackThursday: Cnr of Brougham and Bolton Streets, Eltham, c.1950

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to around the 1950s to the corner of Brougham and Bolton streets where we find the property “Southernwood”. Built around 1891 it was originally owned by the Harbey family until purchased by the artist, Walter Withers in 1902. Withers added a studio to the property in 1903. The house was further modified in 1948 and remains essentially the same profile we see today.

Contained within the Society’s collection are two undated photographs, one of Southernwood and another looking east down Brougham Street from Bolton street, adjacent to the home.

Southernwood at the corner of Brougham and Bolton streets, c.1950. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Southernwood at the corner of Brougham and Bolton streets, 13 November 2017. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

The image of the home appears to present its current profile so it reasonable to assume that both these images were taken post the 1948 additions, most likely in the 1950s.   It is also noted both Brougham and Bolton streets remain unsealed at that time.

Looking east along Brougham Street from adjacent to Southernwood at the corner of Brougham and Bolton streets, c.1950. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking east along Brougham Street from adjacent to Southernwood at the corner of Brougham and Bolton streets, 13 November 2017. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

Of particular interest is the view looking down Brougham Street compared to today as it is apparent two of the trees present in the earlier image to the left of Brougham Street remain in place today. No doubt they probably greeted Walter Withers as he left his home and strolled down Brougham Street on his way to the railway station. What other stories could those trees tell us? At that time behind those trees was open fields, now an industrial estate. Let’s hope as progress continues its march that these trees remain as a link to our community’s heritage and days gone by.

Pre 1874 view of Eltham looking east from Bolton Street between Bridge Street and Brougham (Wellington) Street. Fenced road reserve on right is Brougham Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

 

ThrowbackThursday: Bolton Street Shops, Eltham, c.1990

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to around 1990 to the southern end  of Bolton Street where we find the popular Bolton Street shops. At that time the shops consisted of Bolton Fish & Chips, Bolton Pizza & Pasta, Fleur de Feliss Florist, Bolton Street Fruit Market, Stephens Meats, Ian Reid Real Estate, Bolton Street Hot Bread Kitchen, Welcome Mart, Milk Bar and Sub-Newsagency. Amazingly today, only three of those businesses have changed. Ian Reid Real Estate is now the The Cheesecake Shop, the Welcome Mart is now Bolton Street Deli and the Milk Bar & Sub-Newsagency is now Charcoal Chicken @ Bolton.

Looking south towards Bolton Street shops, Eltham, c.1990. Shops include; Bolton Fish & Chips, Bolton Pizza & Pasta, Fleur de Feliss Florist, Bolton Street Fruit Market, Stephens Meats, Ian Reid Real Estate, Bolton Street Hot Bread Kitchen, Welcome Mart, Milk Bar and Sub-Newsagency. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking south towards Bolton Street shops, Eltham, during Bolton Street upgrade, 13 November, 2017. Shops include; Bolton Fish & Chips, Bolton Pizza & Pasta, Fleur de Feliss Florist, Bolton Steet Fruit Market, Stephens Meats, The Cheesecake Shop, Bolton Street Hot Bread Kitchen, Bolton Street Deli, Chicken on Charcoal @ Bolton St. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking north across Main Road up Bolton Street, Eltham, c.1990. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking north across Main Road up Bolton Street, Eltham, during Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking north across Main Road up Bolton Street, Eltham, c.1990. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking north across Main Road up Bolton Street, Eltham, during Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking northeast towards Bolton Street shops, Eltham, c.1990. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Looking north across Main Road up Bolton Street, Eltham, during Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

Do you have a favourite shop at Bolton Street? Seems like everyone does. What is yours and do you have any good stories to share from earlier times?

The building of the McDonalds Restaurant at the other end of Bolton Street in the late 1980s in the industrial estate was surrounded with controversy and protest but fast forward to today and it is a well accepted focal point within our community. Likewise the Bolton Street upgrade is generating some discontent but more than likely in the future will also be seen as a vast improvement for residents with improved visual appeal, livability and road safety. Whilst the shops at either end of the street have essentially remained the same over this quarter of a century, history is happening before our eyes today in between and in ten years time we will struggle to remember what it was like. In recognition of this, EDHS is capturing a visual record of the changes starting with the northbound lane closure and we have included below a number of these images captured this week along Bolton Street from Bridge Street to Main Road.

McDonalds Restaurant, cnr Bridge Street and Bolton Street, Eltham, c.1990. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
McDonalds Restaurant, cnr Bridge Street and Bolton Street, Eltham, during Bolton Street upgrade, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, near Bridge Street, McDonalds on left. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, ‘Southernwood’ and Brougham Street on left. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, ‘Southernwood’ and Brougham Street on left. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking north at Brougham Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, near Cromwell Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, just south of Withers Way. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, Withers Way on right. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, just south of Withers Way. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure at Flint Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking south towards Ely Street and Kirwana Grove. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking north towards Ely Street and Kirwana Grove. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking south towards Sackville Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking south at Thornton Street. Note stormwater pit tagged “Thorn 65”. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking north to Sackville Street from near Thornton Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking south at Thornton Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking north from near Baxter street showing new wide footpath. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking south towards Walsh Street and Bolton Street shops. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking south towards Walsh Street and Bolton Street shops. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Bolton Street upgrade, Eltham, 13 November, 2017. North bound lane closure, looking north at Walsh Street. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)
Shops include; Bolton Fish & Chips, Bolton Pizza & Pasta, Fleur de Feliss Florist, Bolton Steet Fruit Market, Stephens Meats, The Cheesecake Shop, Bolton Street Hot Bread Kitchen, Bolton Street Deli, Chicken on Charcoal @ Bolton St. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.)

Main Road, Eltham

Following our earlier article about the origin of road and street names let us look at the history of Main Road as it meanders through parts of Nillumbik and Banyule. It is one of the most identifiable roads in the district and in its earliest days was in fact the main road through the area. While perhaps a bit unimaginative, it was just came to be called Main Road through common usage.

Main Road starts at the Plenty River, Lower Plenty, the western boundary of the former Shire of Eltham.  It continues through Lower Plenty, Montmorency South, Eltham and Research to the boundary of Kangaroo Ground at Bells Hill Road.  Beyond this point its official name is Eltham-Yarra Glen Road while west of the Plenty River it is known as Lower Plenty Road.

Main Road has its origin in a proclamation in 1840 under the Parish Roads Act of a road “between the” Suburban Allotments in the Parish of Jika Jika (North Fitzroy and the Village Reserve in the Parish of Nillumbik (Eltham). In many places the alignment of the road followed the dray track to Yarra Flats established by the Ryrie brothers more than ten years earlier.

From the Plenty River the road passed through the land that had been recently purchased by Benjamin Baxter.  It followed the line of today’s Main Road and Old Eltham Road and ended at today’s Bolton Street.

In 1850 a track along the Old Eltham Road route continued on towards Kangaroo Ground, roughly following the line of Main Road through the proposed Government township of Eltham and unsold Crown land. However, Holloway’s 1851 Little Eltham subdivision north of the township reserve made no provision for a through road, although between Dalton Street and York Street, Maria Street (Main Road) generally followed the well-worn track to Kangaroo Ground.

Soon after the land was subdivided the Government established a road along the line of this track through private land, the township reserve and further north, which then completed the formal road link to Kangaroo Ground

In 1869 the Eltham District Road Board opened a new road from Lower Plenty to Bolton Street, bypassing Old Eltham Road, which is what we now use when travelling along Main Road. Together with this new section and the formal connection to Kangaroo Ground, the whole length of today’s Main Road came into being. However, it would be many years before the road proclaimed in the 1850s provided convenient all weather access. How things have changed!

Prepared by Russell Yeoman and Jim Connor from the Eltham District Historical Society

Main Road, Eltham, looking south. (From the Shire of Eltham Pioneer's Photograph Collection)
Main Road, Eltham, looking south; from the Shire of Eltham Pioneer’s Photograph Collection