Tag Archives: Montmorency South

Heritage Walk: Panorama Heights Estate – 7 Nov, 2pm

Panorama Heights Estate
Montmorency South
Saturday 7th November 2015 at 2.00pm

Peck's Dam
Peck’s Dam – this former farm dam is a feature of this walk

This estate is a residential area of winding streets lined with indigenous local trees and includes secluded parks and walkways. Prior to its subdivision in the 1920s this was Tom Orr’s farm, a favourite painting place of the artist Walter Withers.

After it was subdivided by land developer John Quinn the sale of land and house building proceeded slowly. Much vacant land remained in the 1970s. This estate was unusual for its time, although to some extent it emulates the subdivision designs of Walter Burley Griffin, such as the heritage listed Glenard Estate in Heidelberg. It contains winding streets, irregularly shaped lots, secluded parks at the rear of lots and connecting walkways.

This walk will mostly not be one of historic buildings and the like although we will pass a group of heritage listed mud brick houses in Napier Crescent. Rather it will be a pleasant Peck’s Dam, this former farm dam is a feature of this walk walk through informal streets and parks imagining the past landscape that inspired Walter Withers and looking at aspects of this unusual 1920s subdivision. On the way we will discover the elusive southern boundary of the Montmorency Farm where it crosses streets and parks.

This circuit walk is about 3.5 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the car park in Grand Boulevard opposite the Montmorency South School (Melway ref.21 E 7/8). It contains some hilly sections. This free walk is open to the general public as well as Society members.

Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

Phone number of contact on the day is 0409 021 063

Main Road, Eltham

Following our earlier article about the origin of road and street names let us look at the history of Main Road as it meanders through parts of Nillumbik and Banyule. It is one of the most identifiable roads in the district and in its earliest days was in fact the main road through the area. While perhaps a bit unimaginative, it was just came to be called Main Road through common usage.

Main Road starts at the Plenty River, Lower Plenty, the western boundary of the former Shire of Eltham.  It continues through Lower Plenty, Montmorency South, Eltham and Research to the boundary of Kangaroo Ground at Bells Hill Road.  Beyond this point its official name is Eltham-Yarra Glen Road while west of the Plenty River it is known as Lower Plenty Road.

Main Road has its origin in a proclamation in 1840 under the Parish Roads Act of a road “between the” Suburban Allotments in the Parish of Jika Jika (North Fitzroy and the Village Reserve in the Parish of Nillumbik (Eltham). In many places the alignment of the road followed the dray track to Yarra Flats established by the Ryrie brothers more than ten years earlier.

From the Plenty River the road passed through the land that had been recently purchased by Benjamin Baxter.  It followed the line of today’s Main Road and Old Eltham Road and ended at today’s Bolton Street.

In 1850 a track along the Old Eltham Road route continued on towards Kangaroo Ground, roughly following the line of Main Road through the proposed Government township of Eltham and unsold Crown land. However, Holloway’s 1851 Little Eltham subdivision north of the township reserve made no provision for a through road, although between Dalton Street and York Street, Maria Street (Main Road) generally followed the well-worn track to Kangaroo Ground.

Soon after the land was subdivided the Government established a road along the line of this track through private land, the township reserve and further north, which then completed the formal road link to Kangaroo Ground

In 1869 the Eltham District Road Board opened a new road from Lower Plenty to Bolton Street, bypassing Old Eltham Road, which is what we now use when travelling along Main Road. Together with this new section and the formal connection to Kangaroo Ground, the whole length of today’s Main Road came into being. However, it would be many years before the road proclaimed in the 1850s provided convenient all weather access. How things have changed!

Prepared by Russell Yeoman and Jim Connor from the Eltham District Historical Society

Main Road, Eltham, looking south. (From the Shire of Eltham Pioneer's Photograph Collection)
Main Road, Eltham, looking south; from the Shire of Eltham Pioneer’s Photograph Collection