Tag Archives: Old Eltham Road

Eltham Roll of Honour: Spr. George Ernest Castledine, 18 Apr 1941, Greece

CASTLEDINE, George Ernest, Spr., VX10044
(KIA 18 Apr 1941, Greece)
Vic. Paybook photograph, taken on enlistment, of VX10044 Sapper George Ernest Castledine (NAA)

The first soldier from the Shire of Eltham to pay the ultimate price in the Second World War was Sapper George Ernest Castledine.

George was born 18 May 1914 in North Hampton, England, the son of Arthur Frederick and Annie Castledine of ‘Abington’ (now known as ‘Araluen’) on the Old Eltham Road, Lower Plenty. A blacksmith by trade, George was engaged to Miss Jean Simonson of Montmorency when he enlisted on 23 January 1940 at Lower Plenty. His next of kin was his mother Annie, his father having died in September 1933. He was assigned to the 2/2 Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers, 6th Division.

Following training, the 2/2 was deployed to North Africa in mid-1940. They first saw action in January 1941 in the Western Desert in support of the 16th Brigade’s attack on Bardia and the capture of Tobruk. Further action was seen around Derna and Barce before the 6th Division was relieved and withdrawn to Mersa Matruh in Egypt.

The 6th Division arrived in Greece in late March and were joined by New Zealanders and British forces in early April. On April 6th, the Germans began their invasion of Greece sending in 27 Divisions. After arrival in Greece, the Australians were transported north towards the Yugoslav border taking up defensive positions around the Florina Valley. The 2/2 supported several of the 6th Division’s brigades but the campaign was short lived, the Germans quickly overwhelming the Allies. George was killed in action on April 18th. Nine days later the Allies were driven off the mainland, George’s unit heading to Crete without him.

Telegram, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne to Mrs Annie Castledine, Old Eltham Road, Lower Plenty, 3 May 1941.The telegram is oil stained as it was kept by George’s brother Sid, in his toolbox. (Private collection)

On May 3rd, Annie became the first woman in the district since the Great War to experience their world shattered by telegram.

It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that VX10044 Sapper G. E. Castledine has been killed in action April 18th & desire to convey to you the profound sympathy of the Minister for the Army and the Military Board. – Minister for the Army”

An obituary was published in the Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser, Friday, 9 May 1941, p 2

Advice has been received of the death in action of Sapper George Ernest Castledine, son of Mrs. A. Castledine of Lower Plenty.
Deceased was very well known in the Eltham district, and was engaged to Miss Jean Simonson of Montmorency.
This was the first fatal casualty to be reported among those who enlisted from the Eltham Shire.”

The following notices were published in The Age newspaper in memory of George: –

The Age, Tuesday, 6 May 1941, p1

  • CASTLEDINE. —Killed in action, April 18, Spr. George, the loved finance of Jean. Loved, remembered, longed for always.

The Age, Wednesday, 7 May 1941, p1

  • CASTLEDINE. — On April 18. killed in action. Spr. George Ernest, loved son of Mrs. A. Castledine. Lower Plenty; loved brother of Annie, Lil, Gladys, Joyce, Lila, Syd, Les and John, aged 26 years. Always remembered.

George is buried in the Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens, Greece, Grave 2. E. 4.

2/2 Field Coy., Royal Australian Engineers.
18th April 1941. Age 26.
His life was one of sacrifice
“Life is eternal
Love will remain”
Son of Arthur Frederick and Annie Castledine, of Lower Plenty, Victoria, Australia.

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“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.”

  • 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
  • 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

#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.

ThrowbackThursday: Lower Plenty Shops, c.1965

Looking southwest at the intersection of Para Road with Main Road, Lower Plenty, c.1965 (Photographer: ©Russell Yeoman; from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back over 50 years, setting the Tardis to circa 1965 and the Lower Plenty shops. Dominated by Maunder’s Supa-Valu Food store  situated at the corner of Main Road and Para Road, the shopping strip runs along the west side of Main Road finishing with the Ampol and Caltex Service Stations operating side by side, opposite the intersection of Main Road and Old Eltham Road.

Looking northeast at the intersection of Old Eltham Road at Main Road, Lower Plenty, c.1965. (Photographer: ©Russell Yeoman; from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society)

As featured in a previous post, the shops remain much the same with some redevelopment but the two service stations, which over the years were also updated are now well and truly gone and currently a large development site. The Caltex was the first to go replaced by a Drive-in Liquor store, Lower Plenty Liquor Barn, some time between 1989 and 2007. By 2009 it had been updated again into a Bottlemart, the Ampol Service station still operating. By February 2014 the Ampol had been bulldozed and the Bottlemart demolished in July 2017.

Looking southwest at the intersection of Para Road with Main Road, Lower Plenty, October 2017 (Image: Google Street View)
Looking northeast at the intersection of Old Eltham Road at Main Road, Lower Plenty, October 2017 (Image: Google Street View)

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