#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 – 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.
#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.
UPDATE: 15 March 2018
Of course, it’s also interesting to capture construction progress of new buildings as one day what we see now will be hidden by facade materials – new today, history tomorrow.
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia