#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to the corner of Pitt Street and Main Road, circa September 1966 where we will commence our walk eastwards to Bible Street.
On the southeast corner of Pitt and Main we see the iconic Eltham Hotel with its sunny Beer Garden out back and Drive In Bottle Shop accessed from Pitt Street. A sign on the left advises us of roadwork ahead. Reconstruction of Bible Street and a number of the cross streets was undertaken by the Shire of Eltham as part of infrastructure upgrades from 1966 through 1968. Typically the underground services would be completed then new footpaths and nature strips along with many of the characteristic rock retaining walls. Lastly, the new road surfaces would be sealed.
As we head towards Bible Street we have to walk along the road. Pitt Street is still unsealed and there are no footpaths on the nature strip, just the odd track. On the left we see some of the large underground pipes placed on the nature strips in preparation for the roadworks that are under way. On the right we see a glimpse of Stebbing Cottage at 88 Pitt Street, built by George Stebbing over 100 years ago around 1860. In the distance we can see Pitt Street climbing the hill east of Bible Street.
As we dip down the hill towards Bible Street we can now see the local Milk Bar on the southeast corner of Pitt and Bible streets. A Bulla delivery truck is pulled up out front delivering a fresh load of milk, cream and ice cream. A red Telephone Box stands on the nature strip. Apart from the Milk Bar, no other buildings or houses are visible on the southern side of Pitt Street and only a few on the northern side as we look up the hill. Some children are riding on bikes.
As we arrive at Bible Street, also unsealed, we notice the red kerosene warning lanterns placed on stakes on the road verges around the intersection in preparation for the road works. The Bulla truck just pulled away. A little girl walks past us carrying a bag and heading up Pitt Street. The local Milk Bar also offers a Delicatessen and Self Service Grocery and Drive Through customer car park. Perhaps she just picked up some groceries from the Milk Bar for her mum who has promised to bake her a cake for afternoon tea.
What memories do you have of the Eltham Milk Bar and other local neighbourhood Milk Bars? It remains a survivor in our time poor, modern society; a link to a more leisurely pace in our past. There used to be two others within a short distance; one in Hartland Way and one in Eucalyptus Road, both now re-purposed more than a decade ago.
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1986. Traffic congestion in and out of the district is heavy. Currently 38,000 vehicles per day use Grimshaw Street and Main Street, Greensborough, and it is estimated that half these vehicles are through traffic. The Government has initiated a plan to construct a 5.5km bypass of the Greensborough Commercial Centre
from Lenola Street, Macleod to Diamond Creek Road, Greensborough. The bypass will relieve the existing heavily congested sections of these roads, reduce travel time for motorists passing through the area, and improve safety and conditions for shoppers, residents and local traffic.
The bypass will be constructed in two stages. The first 3.5 km stage, from Diamond Creek Road to Grimshaw Street, will be constructed as a single two lane, two-way road with climbing lanes for east-bound traffic north of Kempston Street and east of Plenty River.
The second 2 km stage, from Grimshaw Street to Greensborough Road/Lenola Street, is being constructed as a divided road.
Drainage and earthworks continued during the year on the first stage and work commenced on the construction of a five span composite steel and concrete bridge over Plenty River.
A roundabout at the intersection of Diamond Creek Road and Civic Drive, where the bypass is to terminate was completed during the year.
Work commenced on the second stage late in the year with the construction of a deviation of Greensborough Road near Watsonia Railway Station to allow work to commence on the new road over rail structure. The project is estimated to cost $18 million and be completed in early 1989.
Reference: 1986, Parliament of Victoria, “Report of the Road Construction Authority for the Year ended 30 June 1986”, No. 124, p15, <www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1985-87No124.pdf>
#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to 1968 and the intersection of Bridge Street and Main Road. Roadworks are well under way for the widening of Main Road from Pitt Street to Elsa Court. Extensive works were being undertaken to revise the intersection of Bridge Street. As a consequence, traffic delays were an everyday occurrence.
#ThrowbackThursday – From 1966 to 1968 the Shire of Eltham undertook extensive improvements to Bible Street; sealing the road surface, new concrete curb and channeling and footpaths and stone masonry work to a number of adjoining property boundaries following construction of the footpaths. The work was broken into two stages, the northern half from the top of the hill to Grove street was completed first in 1966-67 and then the southern end to Dalton Street in 1968. Today we time travel back to 1968, just south of the highest point near 71 and 74 Bible Street where we see the work in progress. The curb and channeling has been completed as has the footpath on the western side. We have arrived just in time to catch a load of gravel being delivered for final grading of the road surface prior to sealing. On the eastern side we can see the footpath has yet to be constructed and we can also see how the land has been cut into to form the footpath. Bible Street, like many other streets in the shire has stonework edges for gardens abutting footpaths where the road and footpath have been cut into the terrain. Much of this stone masonry work was undertaken for the council by C.J. Watson and Sons.
MYSTERY SOLVED – looking eastwards across the Watsonia Drain and along Lower Plenty Road at a point just opposite Bannockburn Road (on the right, out of view). The main direction of sight is looking down the new alignment for Lower Plenty Road where a bulldozer is clearing for its construction towards the new Lower Plenty Bridge.
#MysteryMonday – Today’s image is of a rural highway scene, most likely within the former Shire of Eltham. It has been digitised from a single frame of medium format 6 x 6 negative so no surrounding images to help identify or date. But it is believed to be mid 1960s. The scene depicts a rural highway sweeping around to the right as it crosses a creek running from left to right.
There is a house in the upper centre of the image and just behind the house to the upper left can be seen a high voltage transmission tower. In those days, the only transmission lines in the shire were running through the Lower Plenty district. The transmission lines running north through Research and northwest were yet to be constructed so that should assist in identification.
Can you solve the mystery and help us to catalogue this image?
#ThrowbackThursday – somewhat appropriately on the day after Valentine’s Day, we are reminded of Richie Cunningham who from 1974-1984 on Happy Days, when he was feeling particularly lucky or spotted a prospective girlfriend, would break into song with the 1940s Fats Domino tune, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill.” Well, Eltham/Research also had a Blueberry Hill of sorts, and today we time travel back to the corner of Reynolds Road and Mount Pleasant Road where Lou Siluzio operated a Blueberry farm at Lot 1 Mount Pleasant Road, Research. It is 1988 and the Shire of Eltham is preparing to seal Mount Pleasant Road, used by so many nowadays via Reynolds Road to avoid the traffic congestion along Main Road.
We can only imagine what is was like trying to navigate these roads prior to sealing, especially when wet. Perhaps you found your thrill on Blueberry Hill, though maybe not in the same way as Richie. Love to hear your stories, or …. confessions?
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia