#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.
Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham
As this meeting is close to the 50th anniversary of the first meeting of the Shire of Eltham Historical Society, on 24th October 1967, we will appropriately look back on our own history. This will include a panel of members who will highlight some of our experiences and achievements along the way.
As a special 50th anniversary treat we will have the opportunity to view, for the first time, a video reflecting on the first 50 years of our Society. This video, produced by Gerald Ashcroft from www.storiestobetold.com.au, is based around interviews with Russell Yeoman and Doug Orford about their recollections. Gerald has generously donated his expertise and time to provide this video as a valued gift to EDHS on the occasion of our 50th Anniversary.
As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.
#ThrowbackThursday – Who can’t resist a good parade? Nowadays the excitement and frequency of parades down Main Street, Eltham seems to have dwindled. Anzac Day, Eltham Spring Festival, in fact any good excuse; we just do not seem to experience them as much now but no doubt everyone can remember back to parades of the past; either participating through various school or community groups or simply watching the show and cheering the floats from the side of the road.
Today we time travel back to 1982 and the Eltham Parade as it progresses along Main Road past the Catholic Church heading towards Bridge Street. It was the year the Tasmanian Wilderness Society was in full force with the Save the Franklin River campaign, and Diamond Valley Railway was celebrating 21 years of passenger service.
These images are from a roll of film recently digitised as part of our 50th Birthday project to catalogue our collection on Victorian Collections to help preserve and share these precious moments in time.
Does anyone remember this parade? The time was late 1982 or early 1983; most likely Spring, 1982 and typically of that time of year, towards the end of the parade it poured with rain.
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia