Tag Archives: Plenty River

Heritage Walk: Eltham Cemetery – 5 March, 2pm

Saturday 5th March 2016 at 2.00pm

Our records contain details of many well known and early pioneers from the Eltham district who are buried in the historic Eltham Cemetery, that was established in 1858 in Mt Pleasant Road on high ground overlooking the then the village of Eltham.

On Saturday 5th March Harry Gilham will again lead members and visitors on a heritage excursion through parts of the cemetery, while
providing background information on selected individuals buried there.

As Harry’s cemetery walks have been popular in the past we encourage you to come along to experience the tranquil surroundings of this picturesque cemetery.

‘A Currawong Takes Flight’ - Sculpture by Michael Wilson
‘A Currawong Takes Flight’ – Sculpture by Michael Wilson

We may even be able to view the recently installed sculpture titled ‘A Currawong Takes Flight’ by Michael Wilson, as described in our newsletter Number 224 of September 2015. This is located at the highest point of the fence-lined border between Montsalvat and
the cemetery. It is close to the last bronze sculpture by Matcham Skipper, titled ‘Young Man Awakening’, commissioned by the Eltham Cemetery Trust to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the cemetery in 2008.

The excursion will start at 2.00pm from the car park entered from Metery Road.

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

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Heritage Walk: Montmorency – the farm on the Plenty – 4 July, 2pm

Saturday 4th July 2015 at 2.00pm

For some years now Maureen Jones has been researching the history of Montmorency Farm and its transformation into the present day suburb of Montmorency. The story begins with Stuart
Donaldson’s 1840 purchase of 925 acres of Crown land extending from the Plenty River to the western boundary of the future Eltham township. The farm remained largely intact until some years after the railway was constructed through it in 1901. Maureen’s book on this subject is expected to be released later this year.

Seed nursery c.1965, Sims Road, Montmorency
Seed nursery c.1965, Sims Road, Montmorency

For our excursion on 4th July we intend to walk along the full length of the western boundary of the former farm from south to north. We will mainly be following paths along the Plenty River. Near Sims Road there is the opportunity to visit the location of the former farm homestead. No former farm features remain but Maureen will provide commentary on the farm and its people as we go.

Looking across to poultry sheds and Para Road shops, c.1967
Looking across to poultry sheds and Para Road shops, c.1967

This walk is about 2.5 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at Palara Court, Montmorency. (Melway ref.21 B6). Please note that this is a one way walk finishing near
Greensborough railway station. Participants can return to the start on the 901 bus (bring your Myki card), by walking independently or by arranging some other means of transport.

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

Eltham and District 1865

The Victorian Gazetteer – 1865

Eltham
37º 44’ S. lat., 145° 10’ E. long. (Co. Evelyn), is a postal village in the parish of Nillumbik, and electoral district of Eltham, situated 14 miles from Melbourne on the road to Queenstown. The river Yarra is 1½ mile distant. There is a steam flour mill (Dendy’s), a brewery, and a tannery in the village. The neighbourhood is generally elevated and rangy, except along the course of the creek. It is principally pastoral, with but little agricultural land. In several of the gullies in the vicinity gold has been found in small quantities, but there is no gold field known by any distinctive name. From 3 to 4 miles N.W. are two quartz reefs, known as Phipp’s and Orme’s reefs, both on private property. The nearest towns are Warringal, 6½ miles S.W.; Templestowe, 3 miles S.; Greensborough 2½ miles N.W.; and Kangaroo ground 6 miles N. There is communication with Warringal and the Kangaroo ground by coach, but none with the other places, except by horse or dray. The distance from Melbourne is 14 miles, and there is communication up and down on the Wood’s Point line each day. The hotels are the Eltham and the Fountain. There are no regular carriers or coaching offices, but parcels left at the hotels are taken up by the coach, and goods are taken to New Chum, Wood’s Point, and Melbourne, both by horse and bullock drays. Eltham is under the control of a road board, the population is about 350; and the geological formation is upper silurian rock with sandstone shales, &c.

The Eltham electoral division commences at a point on the river Plenty due W. of the southern boundary of portion 1, Section 12, parish of Morang; thence E. to Arthur’s creek; thence by that creek to a point due W. of Stevenson’s bridge; thence E. to the said bridge; thence S. to the river Yarra-Yarra; and thence by the rivers Yarra Yarra and Plenty to the commencing point.

The Eltham road board district has an area of 344,960 acres, and an estimated population of 1500 persons, the number of dwellings being about 150. The total value of rateable property amounts of £55,000; the estimated annual value of rateable property amounts to £6,800; the revenue from all sources to £1614 13s. 10d.; and the expenditure to £2,082 17s. 9d.

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