#ThrowbackThursday – Roadworks, what a pain, and there seem to be so many going on lately. In reality the short term pain brings long term gain. After all, imagine what Fitzsimons Lane Bridge would be like today if it was still only a single lane each way. So today we time travel back 27 years to July 1991 where we can see work in progress, craning the final steel and concrete section into position to connect the Templestowe and Eltham ends of the duplicated bridge.
Originally Fitzsimons Lane was the name of the road on the Templestowe side of the Yarra River; on the Eltham side it was known as the Eltham-Templestowe Road. The road is divided on the Templestowe side but not on the Eltham side. When the new bridge was built c.1966, the divided road was not continued in the Shire of Eltham as it would have required a significant widening of the cutting.
#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.
Today residents of Eltham and beyond take it for granted that they cross the Yarra River at Fitzsimons Lane to travel to Templestowe and further on to southern and eastern suburbs. It has not always been the case. Prior to the building of the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge in 1961 there was no road crossing of the river between Banksia Street Heidelberg and Warrandyte.
Fitzsimons Lane seems an odd name for a main road carrying large volumes of traffic. Prior to the opening of the bridge it was a farm access road extending northerly from Porter Street Templestowe to the Yarra River. Land on the east side was owned by the Fitzsimons family. In 1961 the Country Roads Board constructed a bridge across the Yarra and acquired land to link Fitzsimons Lane with Main Road, Eltham. Much of this land came from the 15 acre property of Frank (Robin) and Margery Robinson Wood. The Woods’ house was named “Robin Hill”. It remains today with the name “Robin Woods” and fronts Yarra Hill Close, formerly the southern end of Bolton Street. In 1991 a new bridge was built to the west of the original bridge and Fitzsimons Lane was widened to four lanes of traffic.
Our July heritage excursion will be a walk to Yarra Hill Close and Fitzsimons Lane Bridge and will include commentary on the history of this corner of the Town of Eltham. This walk will follow a “there and back” route, that is returning over much the same course. It is about 2.5 km in length and is expected to take 2 to 2.5 hours.
It will start at 2pm at the corner of Bolton Street and Old Eltham Road (Melway ref. 21 F10). This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members. Dogs are not
permitted on Society excursions.
Everyone is welcome to this free event from the Eltham District Historical Society
All are welcome……… but numbers are limited
Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.
Phone number of contact on the day is 0409 021 063
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia