#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.