Tag Archives: Coach Builder

ThrowbackThursday: E.Gadd’s – Prohibition?

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back 87 years to March 1930, Main Road, Eltham where Edward Gadd runs his Blacksmith and Coachbuilding operations. They were located roughly where the gardens in front of the Eltham Community and Reception Centre is situated today.

Edward Gadd (with hammer) and Harold Norman of Research outside the Blacksmith shop on Main Road near Pitt Street, c.March 1930. Note all the schoolboys with them, one of whom may be a young Jock Read. (Photo from the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society; donated by Mr Velkamp)

Edward Gadd who was a native of England operated his blacksmith business in Eltham for about 17 years (1920-1937) and had a high reputation in the community for the quality of his work. He lived in Research and was actively involved with the Research Hall having been largely instrumental in its establishment. Gadd always wore leggings and played the violin at local dances. Accompanying him would be Sam Howard who played banjo and Mrs Read (Jock’s mother) who played piano by ear. He  died of pneumonia on July 22nd, 1937, leaving behind a wife and three sons, one whom was in Albury and the other two in America. (1).

The poster on the wall of the business is promoting a campaign to protect vineyards by voting No against Prohibition. This would date the photo to c.March 1930 when a vote was being held by the Victorian government to introduce Prohibition. Vineyard growers were opposed to Prohibition due to the ramifications it would have upon the wider industry for dried fruits and table grapes, etc. It was also perceived as being seen to be in direct conflict with the Commonwealth government’s actions to place former WW1 soldiers into vineyards through the WW1 Soldiers Settlements program given the potential of Prohibition to ruin them finacially. (2)

Following Gadd’s death, the blacksmith business was promptly purchased by Mr P. Sloan of Warrandyte who intended to commence operations on Monday August 2nd, 1937, opening on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or more frequently if demand warranted. (3)

Lowering of the time capsule – In November 1985 a monument was installed near the corner of Main Road and Pitt Street in Eltham, within the gardens at the front of what is now the Eltham Community and Reception Centre. This monument commemorates Victoria’s 150th anniversary and the former location of the Eltham Town Centre, which existed along this section of Main Road, then known as Maria Street. Beneath the site is a time capsule to be opened in the year 2035. A plaque was also erected at this site in October 1987 to commemorate the Shire of Eltham Historical Society’s 20th anniversary. (Photo: From the Collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

The blacksmith shop is memorialised today with a monument and time capsule installed to commemorate Victoria’s 150th anniversary and the former location of the Eltham Town Centre. The main feature of the monument is a ‘tyring disc’; a blacksmith’s implement that was found on this site. This consists of a large iron disc that was used as a platform for fitting iron tyres (like the one shown on top of the platform) to wooden spoked cart wheels. The local blacksmith and wheelwright worked together to assemble the wheel, which was clamped to the platform placed close to the fire. The red hot iron hoop, previously forged to the correct size was lifted with tongs by the blacksmith over the outside of the rim, then hammered down amid flames from the scorching timber. The wheelwright drenched the tyre with cold water as soon as it was in position. A clamp placed on the naff (hub) and screwed down tightly kept the spokes at a constant angle as the tyre cooled. An even pressure from the contracting tyre tightened the joints at each end of the spokes and formed a vice-like grip, which would last for the life of the wheel.

  1. 1937 ‘Death of Mr. Edward Gadd.’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 23 July, p. 1. , viewed 12 Oct 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56845399
  2. 1930 ‘HOW VINE GROWERS WOULD BE PENALISED’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 28 March, p. 4. (AFTERNOON), viewed 12 Oct 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57762063
  3. 1937 ‘ELTHAM’, Advertiser (Hurstbridge, Vic. : 1922 – 1939), 30 July, p. 3. , viewed 12 Oct 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56845449