#ThrowbackThursday – somewhat appropriately on the day after Valentine’s Day, we are reminded of Richie Cunningham who from 1974-1984 on Happy Days, when he was feeling particularly lucky or spotted a prospective girlfriend, would break into song with the 1940s Fats Domino tune, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill.” Well, Eltham/Research also had a Blueberry Hill of sorts, and today we time travel back to the corner of Reynolds Road and Mount Pleasant Road where Lou Siluzio operated a Blueberry farm at Lot 1 Mount Pleasant Road, Research. It is 1988 and the Shire of Eltham is preparing to seal Mount Pleasant Road, used by so many nowadays via Reynolds Road to avoid the traffic congestion along Main Road.
We can only imagine what is was like trying to navigate these roads prior to sealing, especially when wet. Perhaps you found your thrill on Blueberry Hill, though maybe not in the same way as Richie. Love to hear your stories, or …. confessions?
Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham
All are welcome to come along to our first meeting of the year to be held Wednesday, 14th February, 8:00 p.m. at the Senior Citizen’s Centre and our 303rd meeting since the Shire of Eltham Historical Society was formally established in October 1967.
Through the magic of Historypin we plan to travel back in time, 50 years to February 1968. Big changes to the township were afoot with the pending duplication of Main Road. A series of approximately 50 photos were taken in February 1968 by an unknown person of the section of Main Road planned for duplication, commencing at Pitt Street and traveling towards Research through the shopping centre, finishing just past Elsa Court.
These images now form our first showcase collection on Historypin, an online tool which combines with Google Street View to transition between views from ‘Then’ and ‘Now’.
At our meeting we will introduce this Historypin collection and view a number of the key images. The intention for this meeting is to provide a two-way discussion; so comments, personal recollections and corrections are most welcome as we take a Valentine Day’s walk down Main Road together.
As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.
#MysteryMonday – Following last Monday’s phenomenal response to our initial Mystery Monday challenge, which successfully identified the Long Gully Bridge in Panton Hill, today’s challenge may just prove a little more difficult.
Today’s images are of a residential area, possibly Research or Eltham North but frankly we leave that to you to call upon your collective expert local knowledge to decide. The pictures were taken on 16 May 1990 and are sequential on a roll of negative film. The first shot was stitched together from two frames, the second from three frames.
That is all that is on the negative. Perhaps the area strikes a chord with you, perhaps you even know someone who may live there. Perhaps the house is yours. It is very possible the street may now have been sealed.
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?
#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.
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.
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.
#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.
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.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to the turn of the millennium to December 1999 to the corner of Bible and York streets, Eltham, specifically 68 Bible Street. Here we find a small cottage originally built in 1880. In the 1930s it was owned by the then Roads Foreman for the Shire of Eltham, Mr. L. Burke. Originally the house was built with a galvanised iron roof but over the years was modernised with a tiled roof as well as an extension to the rear.
This particular photograph forms part of a Millennium project undertaken by one of our Society’s members, a descendant of the original Shillinglaw family who had become concerned at how the pre 1960s parts of Eltham were disappearing. She wanted to record as many of the older houses in the Eltham township area before they were lost forever. Many of the streets running between Main Road and Bible Street were photographed and these films are currently being digitised. And indeed it is staggering the level of change that the developed landscape has undergone even since 2000.
The property history report for 68 Bible Street reveals in more recent times it was sold in January 1994 for $38,000 but quickly turned over just four months later in May 1994 for $25,000 – that must have hurt. The next recorded sale is in June 1999, just before this picture was taken when it sold for $129,950. Ten years later in April 2009 it achieved $272,000 and again sold just four months later in August 2009 for an undisclosed price. In 2010 a building permit was issued to reblock the house and in May of 2013 it was leased out at $300 per week.
In July of this year, Council issued a building permit for demolition of the existing dwelling, shed’s and associated garage and the construction of a double story dwelling, garage, decks, alfresco area and retaining walls.
By September the trees and shrubs had been removed and construction fencing erected around the property.
Between October 19 and 20, the 137 year old cottage was flattened and Eltham lost another little piece of its history but hopefully not its story.
Some of us were born here, some of us chose to move to Eltham because of its character. That character is changing before our eyes, faster than at times is appreciated. Just because something has always been there during our time does not mean it will remain so. What exists today could well be history tomorrow.
This is not a protest about one little cottage; times change. Not everything old is necessarily significant but it is still part of our community’s history and history matters.
Rather this is a call to be on the lookout for other old homes that may one day also be potentially under threat and to photograph them and record their history before they are lost forever. Eltham District Historical Society is happy to receive all such photos and information in order that we may preserve the legacy of what came before so that our future generations are able to appreciate and understand their roots.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1985 and the Candlebark Park carpark just in time to catch an adventurous soul taking a dip in the Yarra below the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge. No bikini for this keen swimmer, rather a Holden Gemini seemed more the go. Seems the Gemini twins couldn’t decide whether to go to Templestowe or Eltham. Or perhaps it was a late entry in the Great Yarra Raft Race of 1985?
We recently digitised an album containing these images of the car in the Yarra and the Great Yarra Raft Race but apart from the date of 1985, have very little other information to record about them.
Does anyone remember this incident and the circumstances? Were there any news stories at the time about it? Or were you involved in the Great Yarra Raft Race? Any details or stories are greatly appreciated.
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia