#ThrowbackThursday – From 1966 to 1968 the Shire of Eltham undertook extensive improvements to Bible Street; sealing the road surface, new concrete curb and channeling and footpaths and stone masonry work to a number of adjoining property boundaries following construction of the footpaths. The work was broken into two stages, the northern half from the top of the hill to Grove street was completed first in 1966-67 and then the southern end to Dalton Street in 1968. Today we time travel back to 1968, just south of the highest point near 71 and 74 Bible Street where we see the work in progress. The curb and channeling has been completed as has the footpath on the western side. We have arrived just in time to catch a load of gravel being delivered for final grading of the road surface prior to sealing. On the eastern side we can see the footpath has yet to be constructed and we can also see how the land has been cut into to form the footpath. Bible Street, like many other streets in the shire has stonework edges for gardens abutting footpaths where the the road and footpath have been cut into the terrain. Much of this stone masonry work was undertaken for the council by C.J. Watson and Sons.
Edendale Community Environment Farm in Gastons Road, Eltham now operates as Nillumbik Council’s environmental centre. The historic homestead has undergone a significant restoration and there is on-going development of the site consistent with its community education purpose. The house and the gateway sculpture “The Fences Act 1968” by Tony Trembarth are covered by a Heritage Overlay in the Nillumbik Planning Scheme.
Our May excursion will comprise a walk through the farm property and will radiate to other nearby places of historic interest. These will include the site of the Eltham North Adventure Playground to discuss its history and destruction by fire. Also nearby is Colemans Corner where the early road system has undergone some unusual changes. If time permits we may visit some other nearby places of interest.
This short walk on Saturday 5th May will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the car park of the Eltham North Reserve accessed off Wattletree Road, opposite the Eltham North School (Melway ref 21 K 1).
This excursion is free and is open to the general public as well as Society members.
Please note that dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.
The phone number for contact on the day is 0409 021 063.
#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. About the same time, newlyweds, a young engineer by the name of Alan Rendle and his wife, Delia moved in to their new home at 82 Bible Street. So we today we time travel back to 1968 for a quick visit to ponder what these newlyweds’ outlook on life would have been from their new home.
For Alan, it was just a short walk up the hill from his previous residence at number 70 Bible Street on the corner of York Street. And from Electoral Roll records we are able to see that Alan and Delia made No. 82 their home at least until the 1980s; so clearly it was a home and location they loved.
Situated just north of the highest point on Bible Street, the outlook from the property would have commanded extensive views to the west across the township. Built c.1885 on top of the hill and part of a much larger estate, the home in 1968 remains very rural in its setting on two blocks, numbers 82-84. As we have mentioned previously, 1967-1968 was the beginning of much change around Eltham and the Rendles were witness to much of this from their veranda. Right outside, in 1968, Bible Street itself was being extensively reconstructed and sealed and new homes were being built. On the north side of the hill the works had been undertaken during 1966-1967 and the southside in 1968. To the northeast, the Rendles would have been witness to the development of Arthur Street to the east and in a further decade the beginnings of the Woodridge Estate.
The photographer and neighbour, Fred Mitchell, noted that this picture was taken before the sale. It is not known if the the Rendles sold off a portion of their land sometime after 1968 or subsequent owners did post 1980 but today the property contains the original house at No. 82 as well as No. 82A (c. 1980) and No. 84 (c. 1985).
#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 Swan Street, Eltham, circa 1965 where we cast our eyes to the southeast across the railway line and towards the intersection of Susan and Bridge streets.
In the immediate centre is a small cream cottage with green roof, number 66 Susan Street, which at that time was owned by the Shire of Eltham but is now the site of the Eltham Skate Park along with the adjoining Alistair Knox Park. In 1965 Susan Street ran all the way north of Bridge Street to the bend where it turned to the left into Brisbane Street. Today that section of Susan Street has been renamed as an extension of Brisbane Street.
On the southeastern side of the intersection we see the the building currently used by the State Emergency Services.
On the northwest corner of the intersection, is open land, the site of the future Bunnings store.
What memories to these images bring back to you? What can you share about the development of the area, even memories of riding the train through here? We would love to hear your stories and see any photos you may care to share.
#MysteryMonday – Today’s images are again of a residential area, possibly Eltham or Montmorency. There appears to be two locations or streets involved though the images are sequential on a roll of film bracketed between the Eltham Stock Feed store (at the corner of York Street and Main Road) and Montmorency Railway Station. The first image (a panormaic stitch of two frames) shows a house, number 76, with a typical stone edged boundary so favoured by the Shire of Eltham during road and footpath construction. The remaining three images are a sequence of another property most likely another street nearby. Given the shadows, the street may have a north-south orientation.
Do these street views strike a chord with you, perhaps you even know someone who may live there. Perhaps the house is yours. It is very possible the house may have now been significantly modified or even knocked down.
Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is, any stories you can tell about the area, and better still, any similar photos you can share?
Over to you . . .
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia