#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 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.
#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.
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia