Tag Archives: Montmorency

Eltham Roll of Honour: Pte. Kevin Francis Field, 28 Jun 1945, Bougainville, PNG

FIELD, Kevin Francis, Pte., VX144763
(KIA 28 Jun 1945, Bougainville, PNG)
Pte. K. F. Field (“Roll of Honor”, The Age, Friday, 31 August 1945, p4)

Kevin Francis Field was born 5 September 1917 at Kew, the second son of William and Mary Field of Montmorency. He was educated at Christian Brothers’ He enlisted at Heidelberg on 27 August 1940. His service record is currently not publicly accessible, but it appears that he was brought before a Court Martial on 23 September 1942. Kevin was a Private in the 57/60 Australian Infantry Battalion: a grunt, the work-horse of the Army. The 57th/60th Battalion was assigned to the 15th Brigade, 3rd Division in Victoria.

The battalion was initially used in a garrison role in Australia before being deployed to New Guinea in March 1943. The 57th/60th performed garrison and engineering roles at Tsili Tsili Airfield in the Watut Valley, while the rest of 15th Brigade took part in the Salamaua–Lae campaign, following which the 15th Brigade including the 57th/60th was formed up for battle in its entirety. Command was transferred to the 7th Division and the 15th Brigade including the 57th/60th then fought in the Markham and Ramu Valley and the Finisterre Range campaigns. Kevin’s battalion remained in New Guinea until July 1944 before being brought back to Australia for home leave, further training, and reorganisation.

The battalion was called together again to the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland. After a foreshortened training period, the 57th/60th received orders to re-join the 3rd Division which was at the time on Bougainville as part of the Australian II Corps, Australian forces having taken over responsibility for the island from the Americans in November 1944. The battalion embarked from Townsville on 1 January 1945 aboard the Fairisle, disembarking at Torokina, Bougainville, on January 5, 1945.

Following fighting around Slater’s Knoll the 15th Brigade moved forward and relieved the 7th Brigade in the southern sector of the island and shortly afterwards resumed the advance along the axis of the Buin Road, crossing the Hongorai River, and then the Hari and Mobiai Rivers before being relieved on 1 July by the 29th Brigade. During this time, the 57/60 took part in the Battle of the Hongorai River, as well as the advance to the Mivo River, undertaking a diversionary drive along the Commando Road on the left flank of the brigade’s main effort. Long (1963) describes the events of the advance towards the Mivo River:

“The 57th/60th Battalion, having completed its wide outflanking move on 16th June, was on the Buin Road and advancing towards the Mobiai. On the 17th a company of this battalion tried to outflank the enemy position between it and the Mobiai but was blocked by a Japanese position well north of the road. Next day it made a wider outflanking move and reached the road behind the enemy. There it was attacked but pressed on, and on the 19th the Japanese withdrew, having destroyed the field gun whose presence had prevented the tanks from advancing. In the following days the battalion thrust steadily forward, gaining a few hundred yards at a time, and on the 23rd was close to the Mobiai. There on the 24th a strong and determined enemy force was encountered with a 37-mm gun which scored three hits on the leading tank but failed to damage it. A heavy bombardment failed to dislodge the Japanese that day, but on the 25th they had gone leaving behind their gun, which had been buckled by fire from a tank.

Brigadier Hammer wished to advance to the Mivo before the enemy had recovered and reorganised. His plan was to relieve the 57th/60th Battalion on the Mobiai with the 58th/59th, move the 24th and 57th/60th to Musaraka whence they would advance with tanks round the enemy’s northern flank, the 24th to the Buin Road between the Koopani and Ivana Rivers and the 57th/60th to Shishigatero. The 58th/59th would create a diversion across the Mobiai and south of the Buin Road. By the 27th both leading battalions were in the concentration area and a track for tanks had been made on this flank from the Mobiai to a track—Killen’s—which ran just west of the Mivo to Shishigatero on the Buin Road.

That day when the 24th Battalion reached the assembly area from which the march to the Buin Road was to begin, the leading company found a party of Japanese in occupation, attacked them, killing nine, and dug in some 200 yards away while the artillery bombarded the enemy . Next day when the 57th/60th reached its area, farther forward, its leading company was attacked by about 100 Japanese as it was digging in. There was a fierce fight lasting half an hour in which 2 Australians were killed and 10 wounded and 11 Japanese dead left on the field. Nevertheless by dusk the battalion was packed and rationed ready to move off early next morning—29th June. All that night it rained, and in the morning there being no sign of the Japanese who had attacked the previous day, two companies, each with a troop of tanks, set off over boggy ground behind an artillery barrage which lifted 200 yards every eight minutes . By 4 p.m. the leading companies were on the Buin Road—their objective.”

Kevin was killed in action on June 28. The 57/60 was relieved by 15 Battalion on 2 July 1945. The battalion did not see combat again prior to war’s end. For Kevin and his family, the end of the fighting was so near, a few days at most – yet proved too far.

Kevin was remembered with the following notices published in The Age, Saturday, 7 July 1945, p10:

  • FIELD. — Killed in action, Bougainville, June 28, VX144763, Private Kevin Francis, dearly loved son of William and Mary, Montmorency, loving brother of Gerard and Majella, age 27 years. May his dear soul rest in peace.
  • FIELD. — In memory of Pte. Kevin, killed in action Bougainville June 28. His cheerful smile and kindly ways always remembered. —Inserted by Orme family, Diamond Creek.

The Age, Saturday, 14 July 1945, p10:

  • FIELD. — Killed in action, on June 28, Bougainville, VX144763, 57/60th Btn. Private Kevin Francis, dearly loved son of William and Mary, Montmorency, loving brother of Gerard and Majella, age 27 years. May his dear soul rest in peace.
  • FIELD. — On June 28, killed in action Bougainville, VX144763, Pte. Kevin Francis, loved friend of Mr. and Mrs. Cowan and family, Montmorency. One of the best. We will always remember him.
  • FIELD. — On June 28, killed in action Bougainville, VX144763, Pte. Kevin Francis. Always a pal. – Barbara and Ron Cowan.

The Age newspaper, Saturday 29 June 1946, p10:

  • FIELD. — In loving memory of our dear son and brother, Kevin Francis, 57/60th Batt., D Coy., killed in action Bougainville, June 28, 1945. Requiescat in pace. – Inserted by his loving parents, brother Gerard, sister, Majella.
  • FIELD. — VX144763, Pte. Kevin Francis Field, killed in action, Bougainville, June 28, 1945, loving friend of Joe Hefferman, Templestowe, R.I.P.

The Age newspaper, Wednesday 28 June 195046, p2:

  • FIELD. — Killed in action, Bougainville, June 28, 1945, Kevin Francis, 57/60 Batt., loving son of William and Mary, Montmorency; loving brother Gerard and Magella (deceased). R.I.P.
  • FIELD. — In loving memory of Kevin, killed in action at Bougainville on June 28, 1945, second son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Field, Montmorency. — Inserted by his loving grandfather, John W. Field.
  • FIELD. — In loving memory of Pte. Kevin Francis, VX144763, killed in action, June 28, 1945, at Bougainville. R.I.P. — Inserted by loving uncle and aunt, Eric and Kit Field, Kew.
  • FIELD. — In loving memory of Kevin, killed in action, June 28, 1945. Res in peace. In God’s care. Loved by all who knew him. — Inserted by Mrs. Neal, Nellie and boys.

Kevin is buried in Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea, Grave C1. F. 27.

FIELD, Pte. KEVIN FRANCIS, VX.144763 A.I.F 57/60 Bn. Australian Infantry
28th June 1945. Age 27.
Son of William and Mary Field, of Montmorency, Victoria.
His duty fearlessly
And nobly done
Ever remembered. R.I.P.

◊         ◊        ◊

LEST WE FORGET

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

ROLL OF HONOUR
1914-1918
  • Sgt. George Williams
  • Sgt. Reginald E. Sims
  • L/Cpl. George Moore
  • L/Cpl. Henry G. Philips
  • L/Cpl. John C. Bell
  • Pte. Geoffrey Grant
  • Pte. George Sommerville
  • Pte. George Brown
  • Pte. John Brown
  • Pte. William Bond
  • Pte. Thomas Cameron
  • Pte. Alfred Cassells
  • Pte. Robert Meadows
  • Pte. Walter Mosley
  • Pte. James Pryor
  • Pte. William Prior
  • Pte. Edward Barrett
  • Pte. William Crellin
  • Pte. Henry Norman
  • Pte. Edward Bird
  • Pte. Arthur Brown
  • Pte. Roslyn Stevens
  • Pte. Herbert Creed
  • Pte. Charles Bromfield
  • Pte. Kenneth Sharp
  • Pte. Henry McAlary
1939-1945
  • Capt. S.M. Gahan
  • Plt. Off. D. Rutter
  • Flt. Off. D.H. Rutter
  • Flt. Sgt. S.M. Mclean
  • Flt. Sgt. L. Ingram
  • Sgt. C.D. Dunlop
  • Cpl. T. Feldbauer
  • Cpl. A.C. Clerke
  • Spr. G.E. Castledine
  • Pte. J. Butherway
  • Pte. K.F. Field

Soldiers of the Shire of Eltham remembered on the Eltham Roll of Honour for their supreme sacrifice; located in the Eltham War Memorial Hall

References
#VictoriaRemembers   #VPDay75
The Eltham Roll of Honour: Second World War

Read the stories of all the men from the Shire of Eltham who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War and to whom the Eltham War Memorial is dedicated.

OTD: “The game’s on!” Wild Gunfight at Commercial Bank, Eltham, 15 Dec 1949

Are you familiar with the little yellow and orange brick Op-shop building at 810 Main Road, Eltham, just in front of the Uniting Church (formerly Methodist Church)  on the corner of John Street? Nowadays, not many people may realise that this was once the Eltham agency of the Commercial Bank of Australia. Measuring just 3.6 x 4.5 m inside, it was built in 1878 by George Stebbing and is said to have stored gold in the early Eltham-Research mining days.

Well . . .

The Commercial Bank at Eltham, The Age, 16 December 1949, p1

#OnThisDay – 70 years ago #OTD Thursday, December 15, 1949, the quiet little bank was embroiled in an infamous wild shoot-out between a daring thief and two bank officers. Today, the building still carries the scars ; a bullet hole remains visible in a cedar bench testifying to the events that played out that day.

But let us first time travel back to a few days prior to this incident. It is 3.30 a.m., Friday, December 9. The manager of the Commercial Bank branch at Greensborough, Mr Harry Wallace and his wife are asleep in their bedroom of the little house behind the branch. Harry is awakened by a noise and sees an intruder in a corner of the bedroom. He calls out but the intruder who has switched off the power in anticipation flees through a side door and scarpers down Main Street. Harry summons the police but a search by First Constable Thomas of the Greensborough Police assisted by a wireless patrol car is unsuccessful. A report is filed noting the theft of a .25 calibre pistol from the wardrobe.

Scene of the gun battle at Eltham (Vic.), The Daily Telegraph, 16 december, p1

Fast forward six days to Thursday, December 15th. It is 1pm and the Commercial Bank has just opened. The branch is only open Mondays and Thursdays from 1-3pm. The morning started off a little cool with some scattered showers but it has fined up and the temperature is now around 61 degrees (16 C). A new grey Singer sports car with soft-top pulls up on the opposite side of the road and a young man, neatly dressed in a dark blue suit, wearing a grey hat and carrying a brief case exits the vehicle. He looks around then crosses the road and walks up the steps and through the door into the bank. There are three people inside; Mr. Jack Burgoyne whose grocery store is situated just 50 yards up the road, Mr. Lindsay A. Spears, the Eltham Agency Receiving Officer and by chance, Mr Harry Wallace, manager of the Greensborough branch.

Jack Burgoyne takes note of the young stranger; thinking to himself he appears nervous.

Mr. Lindsay Spears ,Receiving Officer, Commercial Bank of Australia, Eltham, The Age, 17 December 1949, p3

The man approaches the counter and introduces himself as John Henderson of Greensborough and explains that he wishes to open a new account. He places his hat and £3 on the counter. Mr Spears attends to the paperwork. He asks the young man to sign two forms, which he does but then he withdraws from the counter and starts walking towards the door. Suddenly he spins around pulling an automatic pistol from his right-hand pocket. He exclaims forcefully;

“The game’s on! I’ll take the lot!”

Spears appears to comply by pretending to open a drawer. The man shouts loudly,

“Keep your hand away from that drawer.”

Spears instead reaches for a pistol in his pocket and challenges the man,

“Here it is. Come and get it!”

At the same time, Harry Wallace pulls a pistol from his pocket as well.

The bandit fires a shot but misses, the bullet striking the counter. Both Spears and Wallace open fire and Jack Burgoyne ducks for cover.

As the bandit turns and runs for the door leaving his £3 behind, he fires another shot, which strikes the ceiling. Spears fires back, and thinks he may have hit him in the foot. The bandit flees the bank and heads for the grey Singer car, registration NO-106, parked opposite. Wallace and Spears pursue him to the door and open fire again, striking the car three times around the driver’s door. Spears lets off eight shots and Wallace, seven before his gun jams.

Senior-Constable N. Forbes examining -bullet holes (indicated) in the body of a stolen car in which the bandit escaped, The Age, 16 December 1949, p1

The getaway car initially heads slowly down Main Road towards Bridge Street. About 100 yards down the road, Dave Adams, a PMG employee, who has heard the shots, throws a steel manhole step at the driver. It hits the roof of the car nine inches above the driver’s head and tears the hood. Another witness claims to have seen the door blow open and the driver raise his hand.

The car gathers speed and swings left into Bridge Street racing along at about 60 miles an hour careering recklessly past council employee, Mr. Percy Williams, who is driving a dray along Smarts Road [believed to be Bridge Street].

BANK HOLD-UP: SHOTS ECHOED IN QUIET STREET, The Argus, Friday, December 16, 1949, p3

At the end of the road the Singer fails to get round the sharp turn and crashes into an embankment skidding to a stop outside the home of Mr John Clifford. One side of the car is wrecked. Mr Clifford, an aircraft engineer hears the fast travelling car bump heavily into the road bank at about 1.25 p.m. Hearing the whine of an engine he goes outside to find the grey Singer parked at the side of the road.

Jack George also lives at the corner and hears the car crash.

“The bandit opened the car door, ran 50 yards, and suddenly turned back,” exclaims Jack. “He took something from the car. It might have been a gun.”

In his haste, the bandit drops his grey felt hat, size 6 7/8, on the road and dashes up Sherbourne Road for about 200 yards then disappears into the scrub carrying a brief case and a bundle in which a sailor’s cap can be seen.

About 3 p.m., Mr H.D. Pettie of Mountain View Road, Montmorency is looking through his field glasses and notices a young man walking through thick scrub on private property some distance from his house. The man is wearing a sailor’s cap and disappears along the railway track toward Montmorency.

ELTHAM HOLD-UP. — (Left) — Shire employe Percy Williams narrowly escaped a collision as the bandit fled in a stolen car. (Right) A police constable searching in the scrub where the fugitive disappeared after abandoning the car, The Age, 16 December, 1949, p3

As the day progresses, ten police cars, one motor cycle, and about 40 police led by Det. Sgt. McMennemin of Malvern CIB are searching for him. They believe he is hiding in thick scrub along the bank of the creek about half-a-mile outside Eltham township. Wireless patrol cars, four mobile traffic cars and the CIB area cars from Malvern and Kew are taking part.

Police check the thief’s car and discover it was stolen from Helen Baxter, of Doncaster Road, North Balwyn from outside Victoria Barracks.

Harry Wallace informs the police that he believes he recognised the bandit as the man who took his pistol from his bedroom the previous Friday morning.

As night falls, armed police are posted at strategic points in the Eltham-Greensborough district. Police in cars are watching the roads. Others are searching the bush and checking passengers on trains. Little do they realise the young man has already slipped out of the net.

SEQUEL
YOUTH OF 19 CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY OF BANK AT ELTHAM

Weekly Times, Wednesday 15 February 1950, page 6

Detectives who raided a house in Bell St., Coburg, Melbourne, charged a 19-year-old youth, of South Yarra, with attempted armed robbery at the Commercial Bank’s Eltham (Vic.) receiving depot on Dec. 15. Police say they recovered a loaded automatic pistol, diamond and signet rings worth more than £200, a complete set of house-breaking instruments, a sailor’s uniform, and chloroform gauze in the raid.

The youth was charged that while armed with an offensive weapon, he attempted to rob Lindsay George Spears of a sum of money.

He was further charged on six counts of breaking, entering and stealing.

Police allege that the person who tried to hold up Mr Spears in the Commercial Bank receiving depot at Eltham on December 15. escaped in a stolen car, after Mr Spears and Mr Henry Wallace, manager of the bank’s Greensborough branch, had fired at him.

After the car crashed, he escaped into thick scrub and is alleged to have changed into a sailor’s uniform.

On December 9 an automatic pistol was stolen from Mr Wallace’s bedroom at the Greensborough bank. The chloroform pad recovered is alleged to have been stolen from the Dental Supply Company, Plenty Road, Preston.

The rings are alleged to have been taken in a £513 burglary from the shop of James Paton. Sydney Road, Coburg.

Det. Sgt. H. McMennemin conducted the investigations with Senior Dets. R. Newton and M Downie, Detectives l. Dent, R. Rayner, P. Pedersen and M. Handley and First Constable A. Thomas. The youth will appear at Eltham Court on February 22.

Manager’s Gun Used in Holdup at Bank

The Age, Thursday 23 February 1950, page 4

It was stated in Eltham court yesterday that a youth who robbed a bank manager of his pistol, later used it in an attempt to hold-up the bank.

Kay Arthur Morgan, 19, draftsman, of Castle-street, South Yarra, was committed for trial on charges of breaking and entering, and stealing a pistol and attempted robbery while armed with an offensive weapon. He pleaded guilty.

The manager of Eltham branch of the Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd., Henry Clifton Cabot Wallace, said he disturbed someone in the bedroom, in which he and his wife were sleeping, at 3 a.m. on December. 9, 1949. Later he found that his automatic- pistol was missing.

On December 15 a youth, who said his name was John Henderson, entered the bank and opened a new account. As the youth was leaving the bank he turned round with a pistol in his hand and said: — “I want the lot.” Spear indicated a drawer under the counter; and said.— “Here it is. Come and get it.” The youth said:— “Keep your hand away from that drawer.”

Witness said Spear then drew his pistol from his hip pocket. The youth fired at them, and Spear returned the fire. “I pulled my pistol and fired, too” said witness. The youth fired again, ran out to a car and drove off. Witness and Spear fired several shots at the car.

The youth was the accused Morgan, sitting in court, witness said.

Evidence was given that one bullet was found in the celling and the other in the bank.

Morgan was allowed £100 bail on each charge.

 

But wait, there’s more; another twist

Morgan ended up serving three years for the failed armed robbery and became a notorious criminal. He had twin sons, Peter and Doug and even though only ten years old, Morgan would get his sons to act as lookouts whilst he committed burglaries. The lads became building contractors but when the industry suffered a downturn in 1977 and they were short on cash, they returned to the family business. Over the following 23 months they undertook 24 raids on country and outer-suburban TABs and banks. Whilst robbing one country bank for the third time, just like their father, it all went wrong ending up with a police officer shot. They were nick-named the “After-dark” bandits and are considered to be Australia’s last bushrangers. They were convicted and served 17 years in prison.

References

1949 ‘Took Pistol From Bank’, The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), 9 December, p. 3. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article244149395

1949 ‘GUNFIGHT IN BANK NEAR MELBOURNE’, The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), 15 December, p. 1. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article244139967

1949 ‘Hunt for bandit switches to city’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 16 December, p. 1. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22798717

1949 ‘POLICE HUNT FOR ELTHAM BANDIT’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 16 December, p. 1. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189482129

1949 ‘-Police Search for Bank Intruder’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 16 December, p. 3. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189482349

1949 ‘BANK OFFICIALS FOIL BANDIT’, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 – 1954), 16 December, p. 1. , viewed 13 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248155927

1949 ‘Search of Scrub Proves Fruitless’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 17 December, p. 3. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article189481390

1950 ‘Eltham Bank Arrest Leads to Other Charges’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 14 February, p. 3. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article187348311

1950 ‘YOUTH OF 19 CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED ARMED ROBBERY OF BANK AT ELTHAM’, Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), 15 February, p. 6. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225452914

1950 ‘Manager’s Gun Used in Holdup at Bank’, The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), 23 February, p. 4. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article187348043

1950 ‘”Guilty” plea to pistol theft COURT TOLD OF LAD’S HOLD-UP BID’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 23 February, p. 7. , viewed 12 Dec 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22812474

‘Australia’s last bushrangers were twins’ by John Sylvester, The Age, April 27, 2019, https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/australia-s-last-bushrangers-were-twins-20190424-p51gqb.html

‘Australia’s last bushrangers: How twin brothers robbed banks across Victoria while bamboozling police by escaping in taxis, bikes and even a canoe – and the one mistake that lead to their capture’ by Sahar Mourad, 9 May 2019 (also includes video of an interview with Peter and Doug Morgan aired on A Current Affairhttps://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/australias-last-bushrangers-how-twin-brothers-robbed-banks-across-victoria-while-bamboozling-police-by-escaping-in-taxis-bikes-and-even-a-canoe-and-the-one-mistake-that-lead-to-their-capture/ar-AAB8N3H?li=AAgfIYZ&%252525253BOCID=ansmsnnews11

 

 

Heritage Walk: A Meander in Montmorency – Saturday, 2 November, 2019

Morning passengers await a Princes Bridge bound train at Montmorency Railway Station, March 1980 (Photo: George Coop; from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

Meet at 2.05 pm at Montmorency Railway Station.

Our excursion is a walk of about 3 km between Montmorency and Briar Hill. When we did a similar walk in 2013, we started with a train trip from Eltham to Montmorency Station. This time we will not include the train trip as an official part of the excursion however some of us will be catching the 2.01 pm train from Eltham on Saturday 2nd November. To allow for this we will meet at Montmorency Station at 2.05 pm to commence the walk.

We will start by viewing the famous Were Street mosaics that depict anecdotes about early residents and traders in this village shopping strip. We will also consider the history of Montmorency station, which is soon to be re-modelled as part of the Hurstbridge line upgrade. On the walk to Briar Hill we will talk about the residential subdivisions of the 1910s/20s that established Montmorency as a suburb. Featured locations on the walk will include the site of the Briar Hill timber mill, Briar Hill overpass where there was once a tiny timber bridge over the railway and St Faith’s Church.

The walk is open to Society members and the general public. Dogs are not permitted on Society excursions.

All are welcome…..but numbers are limited

ThrowbackThursday: A New Ambulance Station Announced for Montmorency, 1969

View looking west along Grand Boulevard from the intersection with Main Road and Panorama Avenue, Montmorency showing the site for the new Apex-Diamond Valley Ambulance Station and before construction of Apex Way, July 1969 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory)

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to July 1969 to the intersection of Main Road and Grand Boulevard, Montmorency; specifically the section of land bordered by Grand Boulevard, Main Road and Looker Road. Recently it was announced that this piece of of land was the site for the all new Apex-Diamond Valley Ambulance Station.

Looking northwest from Main Road towards Looker Road at the new site for the Apex-Diamond Valley Ambulance Station before construction of Apex Way, July 1969 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory)
Looking north along Main Road towards the site of the newly announced Apex-Diamond Valley Ambulance Station, July 1969 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory)

Fast forward to 2017 and it has recently been announced that an all new Ambulance Station is to be constructed in place of the old station and that demolition of the old building will commence in November.

View looking west along Grand Boulevard from the intersection with Main Road and Panorama Avenue, Montmorency, October 2017 (Google Street View)
The Metropolitan Ambulance Service Station at Montmorency surrounded by construction fencing immediately before demolition of the building commenced, 7 November 2017 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society @elthamhistory)

Demolition of the original station built back in 1969-1970 commences in November 2017 with the new upgraded station due to open in the second half of 2018.

View looking west along Grand Boulevard from the intersection with Main Road and Panorama Avenue, Montmorency showing progress on the replacement station well under way, March 2018 (Google Street View)

Finding a home

By Russell Yeoman (reproduced from Newsletter No. 242, August 2018)

Eltham Police Station (on right) and Police Residence, c.1900.  Present day Local History Centre, home of Eltham District Historical Society (Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photograph Collection #627 held in partnership between Eltham District Historical Society and Yarra Plenty Regional Library)

For more than 30 years following its establishment in 1967 our Society had no permanent “home”. Society meetings were held in various places, firstly in the Eltham Shire Hall, then the War Memorial Hall in the War Memorial complex of buildings and finally in the Eltham Senior Citizens; where we still meet today. There were other one-off meeting venues such as the Great Hall at Montsalvat, Metzner Hall at Judge Book Village and once in the Eltham Shire Offices. Committee meetings were originally held in these halls but later in the homes of committee members. A favourite place for a number or years was the home of Blanche and Jack Shallard in Montmorency. Supper here consisted of Blanche’s excellent cheese scones.

The Society was significantly involved with the Eltham Shire Council. The President was Cr. Charis Pelling, Shire Secretary Max Watson was Vice President and Secretary Russell Yeoman also worked for the Council. From 1967 the Society began accumulating historical records but was somewhat inhibited by lack of a place to store them. Many records were stored in the Shire Offices and there was little distinction as to what was owned by the Society and what was owned by the Council. The collection of historical records and photographs was significantly augmented in 1971 by the Council collecting material for the publication of “Pioneers and Painters”.

As the volume of Society acquisitions grew further storage locations were required. As well as records some artefacts were added to the collection including items collected by the Shillinglaw Cottage Preservation Committee. Although the cottage had been preserved the plan to use it as a museum did not eventuate. Some items that were to be donated remained with the donors pending a suitable place to keep them. An example was a large collection of farming and other artefacts donated by Bruce and Joy Ness of Kangaroo Ground that was kept in their barn. Storage of the Society’s paper based records fell in large part to Russell Yeoman as Secretary and these were kept at his house, generally in less than optimum conditions. There was a filing cabinet in the laundry and various boxes in other parts of the house and in the shed. Large plans were kept in a cardboard folder under a bed. Workshops to get these records into some sort of order were held at the Yeoman house.

Fast forward to 1998. Nillumbik Shire Council has succeeded the Eltham Council. Much of the Society’s collection of artefacts has been passed on to the fledgling Andrew Ross Museum. Society President Harry Gilham has successfully negotiated with the Commissioners in charge of the Council to secure the long term use of the former Eltham Police Residence by the Society. This State Government owned building had been used by Eltham Council as its Parks and Environment office. The long task of moving the Society’s collection from its various storage locations began. This historic building has become our Local History Centre and it has enabled the acquisition of far more historical material than had previously been possible and has helped secure the future of the Eltham District Historical Society.

Moving items into the new Local History Centre, July 1998 L-R: Mark Gilham, Margaret Ball, Sue Law, Harry Gilham.

As we celebrate the 20th year in our Local History Centre we acknowledge and are forever indebted to Harry Gilham and the other members who worked so hard to establish and maintain our “home”.

 

Harry Gilham, President, Eltham District Historical Society, Opening Ceremony of Local History Centre, 728 Main Road, Eltham, 12 July 1998

 

Addendum
Eltham Police Station and Residence: A brief history

1860 Eltham Courthouse built in Main Road, together with an adjoining police residence, office, lock–up and stables.

1959 Police Department purchases a house in Pryor Street to be refurbished as Eltham Police Station

1961 Police in Eltham move into Pryor Street refurbished buildings and office.

c.1961-1981 Occupied by Vermin and Noxious Weeds Destruction Section of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. Former Police Station dragged around to rear of Police Residence (prior to August 1967) to make way for the construction of a driveway and access from Main Road. The building was placed on the site of a former Scullery and modified for Lands Department use.

1981 Shire of Eltham take over management of old Police Residence in Eltham. It remains unoccupied for a period of time whilst its future is discussed in Council.

1981-1985 Used for community job creation scheme

The former Police Residence under renovation prior to occupation by the Shire of Eltham Parks and Environment department, 1985

1985 Shire of Eltham Parks and Environment occupy the residence. Council improve the driveway but later add a second rear access from Brougham Street due to the dangerous nature of the Main Road entrance. Also add a rear toilet facility between the Police Residence and former Police Station, which was doubling up as a lunch room. Council also commence discussions to re-establish a replica Police Station.

The original Eltham Police Station was demolished c.Nov. 1986.

c.1986 November.  Former Police Station demolished; believed to have been suffering termite damage.

The former Police Residence when occupied by the Shire of Eltham Parks and Environment, 1988

c.1989 After some years of discussion a replica Police Station is built, based on photographs, to act as a lunch room and meeting room for Parks and Environment staff and volunteers doing community service.

1996 Eltham District Historical Society in discussions with Nillumbik Shire Council commisioners throughout the year regarding a home for the Society. A proposal put forward by the Society in October to occupy the former Police Residence.

1997 March.  Eltham District Historical Society gains access to former Police Residence.

 

Former Police Residence, 728 Main Road, Eltham, c. April 1998.

1998 July 12th.  Eltham District Historical Society Inc moves into its Local History Centre, 728 Main Road Eltham (the former Police Residnce built in 1860).

Eltham Local History Centre; the former Eltham Courthouse, Police Residence and replica Police Station, December 2000.

2018 July. Eltham District Historical Society gains access to the replica Police Station for use as part of regular heritage tours for schools and community based groups.

MysteryMonday: Airlie Road, Montmorency, c.1989

SOLVED – Looking east along Airlie Road, Montmorency near No. 51.

New speed hump installation, Shire of Eltham, c.1989 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).

#MysteryMonday – Today’s image is again of a residential area; you are all so good in solving these more innocuous ones. It is a great help to us as we just keep putting off cataloguing them until we can positively identify the location. And again, it’s one of those that you either know it or not but everyone will know somewhere that looks like it, which is what can make it difficult. There are no signage clues other than the brand new speed hump signs in the immediate foreground and in the distance at the hard right hand bend. The Shire of Eltham took a number of photographs of new speed hump installations and new kerb and channeling throughout the Shire, circa 1989. Which probably explains why we have so many. Not so interesting at the time but as the development march continues, they become more valuable as a keepsake of what we once had.

Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is and help us catalogue this image.

Over to you . . .

New speed hump installation, Shire of Eltham, c.1989 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).

MysteryMonday: Sherbourne Road and Rattray Road, Montmorency, c.July 1991

 SOLVED – Rattray Road access from Sherbourne Road, Montmorency opposite the 7-Eleven and Eltham Fort Knox

(Eltham Shire Council depot back then and prior to that the former Fayrefield Hat Factory) heading towards Greensborough, prior to the roundabout.

#MysteryMonday – Today’s image is again of a residential area, possibly off a Main Road. It’s one of those that you either know it or not. There are no signage clues other than the landscaped streetscape and acute intersection. The street running off appears to be one way (at least with access from the Main Road) and that access street leads to another intersection with a Stop sign. Assuming the photo is taken from mid morning to mid afternoon, the Main Road could be running in a northeast through to northwest direction in the visible direction of travel with the access road veering off in a north to west direction.

Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is and help us catalogue this image.

Over to you . . .

MysteryMonday: Residential Street, Eltham-Montmorency Area, c.1985

Number 76, Unknown street, possibly with a north-south orientation in Eltham-Montmorency, c.1985 (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; Photographer unknown)

#MysteryMonday – Today’s images are again of a residential area, possibly Eltham or Montmorency. There appears to be two locations or streets involved though the images are sequential on a roll of film bracketed between the Eltham Stock Feed store (at the corner of York Street and Main Road) and Montmorency Railway Station. The first image (a panormaic stitch of two frames) shows a house, number 76, with a typical stone edged boundary so favoured by the Shire of Eltham during road and footpath construction. The remaining three images are a sequence of another property most likely another street nearby. Given the shadows, the street may have a north-south orientation.

Unknown street, possibly with a north-south orientation in Eltham-Montmorency, c.1985 (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; Photographer unknown)
Unknown street, possibly with a north-south orientation in Eltham-Montmorency, c.1985 (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; Photographer unknown)
Unknown street, possibly with a north-south orientation in Eltham-Montmorency, c.1985 (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; Photographer unknown)

Do these street views strike a chord with you, perhaps you even know someone who may live there. Perhaps the house is yours. It is very possible the house may have now been significantly modified or even knocked down.

Can you identify it? We’d love to hear from you; your thoughts and suggestions as to where it is, any stories you can tell about the area, and better still, any similar photos you can share?

Over to you . . .

ThrowbackThursday: Eltham Festival Parade 1978

#ThrowbackThursday – Who can’t resist a good parade? We can’t. A few weeks ago we featured the Eltham Community Festival Parade of November, 1982. Today we time travel back to August 4, 1978 just in time to catch the parade as it passes the service station on the corner of Main Road and Mount Pleasant Road opposite Wingrove Park.

This series of images of is from a recent mystery donation received in August. They were contained in an envelope dropped into our letterbox at 728 Main Road; no explanation or information about the donor. So whoever you are; we thank you and appreciate this valuable addition to our collection.

Eltham Fire Brigade, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978 (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

The photos are an example of the damage that the old-style ‘magnetic’ albums can do to your prints and it is always best to use proper archival storage materials. The images have a significant orange-red colour cast and we have attempted to restore them but the red wavelength has clearly degraded much quicker than the other primary colours, which is why we have purple fire trucks!

All these images are now included in our rapidly growing catalogue on Victorian Collections (@victoriancollections) to help preserve and share these precious moments in time.

The Shire of Eltham Historical Society (as we were known then) was involved with the Warrandyte Historical Society (@warrandytehistoricalsociety) in arranging an exhibition at the Community Centre and also provided notes and a map for a self-guided walking tour of historic buildings and locations around Eltham. The exhibition was divided into two sections. The Eltham Society displayed early photographs associated with the walking tour, whilst the Warrandyte Society showed their photographs and artifacts of the Warrandyte gold era. An outstanding feature was the large “blow-up” photos of early Warrandyte.

Does anyone remember this festival and parade? Did you or your community group participate in the parade? And who is our mystery donor? There was very little information provided other than a motion blurred image of several ladies from the Country Women’s Association Montmorency along with their names;  Edi Levi, Joyce Finster, Thelma Smith, Jean Spencer and Norma Williams.

2nd Eltham Sea Scouts, Eltham Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, August 1978.(From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
2nd Eltham Sea Scouts, Eltham Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Our Ladys School, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Eltham Community Youth Club, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Country Womens Association Montmorency, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. Some of the ladies included Edi Levi, Joyce Finster, Thelma Smith, Jean Spencer and Norma Williams. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Rotary Exchange Students, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Eltham Basketball Club, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Apex, Eltham Parade, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
!st Eltham Scouts and Cubs, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Montmorency Scouts, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Wearables Yarn Wool, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Mono cyclists, Eltham Parade, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)
Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road opposite Wingrove Park, 4 August 1978. (From the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

ThrowbackThursday: Were St, Montmorency

#ThrowbackThursday – At last night’s Society talk, “The Shallards of Montmorency,” we heard from Margaret Deighton, daughter of Blanche and Jack Shallard, about growing up in Montmorency in the 1940s and 1950s. So in keeping with that theme; today we time travel back to Were Street in the 1940s where we shall meet a dog named Jack.

Jack, an Alsatian was owned by Mr. and Mrs Musselwhite who ran the local post office from around the mid 1930s to circa 1950. The Musselwhites had trained Jack to go down to the railway station each day about 3pm and collect the daily parcel of evening newspapers delivered by train. Jack would then carry the bundle of newspapers up Were Street to the newsagency where they would then be placed on sale for the locals.

Jack, the Alsatian, carrying the daily bundle of newspapers up Were Street to the Post Office, c.1940s. (Source: Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photo Collection, no. 402, held in conjunction with EDHS and Yarra Plenty Regional Library)

In those days (as we also heard from Margaret), Were Street was a one shop stop; very different from today’s thriving little shopping precinct.

Another view looking down Were Street towards the railway station, c.1940s (Source: Shire of Eltham Pioneers Photo Collection, no. 805, held in conjunction with EDHS and Yarra Plenty Regional Library)

Did you grow up in the same time period as Margaret? Do you recall Jack? Being an Alsatian, he would have been a very distinctive dog in those days. Or do you have more recent memories of Were Street and its growing number of shops from the 1960s on?

Montmorency Village Shopping Centre Looking south-southwest from the railway station up to the Were Street shops, Montmorency, 1986 (From the collection of EDHS)
Montmorency Village Shopping Centre Looking south-southwest from the railway station up to the Were Street shops, Montmorency, 8 Feb1986 (From the collection of EDHS)
Montmorency Village Shopping Centre, looking north along Were Street towards the railway station, 8 Feb 1986 (From the collection of EDHS)
Looking down Were Street towards the railway station, Sep 2016 (Google Street View)