Tag Archives: Russell Yeoman

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.

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ThrowbackThursday: Eltham Festival Community Parade 1987

#ThrowbackThursday – This weekend brings us another exciting Rotary Eltham Festival. The first Eltham Community Festival was held in 1975 with great success but it was not always held at this time in late spring. In the 1970s the festival was conducted over a ten day period held during August however in the early 1980s it was reduced to two or three days duration and shifted to mid-late October. From 1984 it moved to its more familiar spot around the second week of November where it has remained ever since.

Up until the early 1990s a highlight of the festival was the Eltham Community Festival Parade which started towards the northern end of the shops, either from Youth Road or Cecil Street, then proceeded south along Main Road, finishing up either at Eltham Lower Park in the first years and later Eltham Common, or more recently Alistair Knox Park where many displays and stalls were set up.

The Shire of Eltham Historical Society (as we were known prior to council amalgamations in 1995) first participated in the Parade in 1979 and was a regular entrant up to and including 1990. During those 12 years the Society won a number of awards including “Best Effort by Locals”, “Best Eltham Theme”, “Best Display” and in 1986 even took out the Grand Prize.

Each year the Society endeavoured to undertake a unique theme for the parade float and display and today we time travel back 30 years to November 7th, 1987 when our float with its colonial washing day theme won the trophy for the best display.

The display was installed on Bruce Ness’ truck using a number of  larger implements owned by or available to the Society such as an early washing machine, troughs, copper and mangle. Joh Ebeli and Russell Yeoman set up further items on a trailer loaned by Denis McKay. (Many of these items are now part of the Andrew Ross Museum at Kangaroo Ground.) Members came dressed in appropriate period costume and musicians from the Victorian Folk Music Club who regularly accompanied the Society on the float again joined us in the Parade with their lively music, assembling in Cecil Street at 11.30 a.m. prior to the start of the parade at 12 noon.

Setting up in Cecil Street prior to the start of the Eltham Community Festival Parade at 12 noon; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Setting up in Cecil Street prior to the start of the Eltham Community Festival Parade at 12 noon; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Flo Spicer setting up in Cecil Street prior to the start of the Eltham Community Festival Parade at 12 noon; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Russell Yeoman (left) and Matthew Smith carry the Society Banner ahead of the float driven by Bruce Ness in the Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society members Opal Smith, Eileen Gibbon and Flo Spicer, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society members Opal Smith, Eileen Gibbon and Flo Spicer, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society members Sue Law (President) and Garnet Burges, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society member Sue Law and members of the Victorian Folk Music Club, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Members of the Victorian Folk Music Club, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Russell Yeoman (left) and Matthew Smith carry the Society Banner past the Shire Offices and Catholic Church ahead of the float driven by Bruce Ness in the Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Society member Jock Read bringing up the rear guard in the Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
The parade enters Panther Place; Society members Sue Law (President) and Garnet Burges, Eltham Community Festival Parade, Main Road, Eltham; 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society).
Jock Read at the end of the parade beside the Society float/display, Eltham Festival Community Parade, 7 November 1987 (from the collection of Eltham District Historical Society; photo: Joh Ebeli).
Shire of Eltham Historical Society members and friends pose beside their winning display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987
Shire of Eltham Historical Society members and friends pose beside their winning display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987

Some images from the Shire of Eltham display

Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society).
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society).
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society). Many of these display photos are now part of the collection of Eltham District Historical Society.
Shire of Eltham display, Eltham Community Festival, 7 November 1987 (from the collectuon of Eltham District Historical Society).