#ThrowbackThursday – Today we time travel back to around the 1950s to the corner of Brougham and Bolton streets where we find the property “Southernwood”. Built around 1891 it was originally owned by the Harbey family until purchased by the artist, Walter Withers in 1902. Withers added a studio to the property in 1903. The house was further modified in 1948 and remains essentially the same profile we see today.
Contained within the Society’s collection are two undated photographs, one of Southernwood and another looking east down Brougham Street from Bolton street, adjacent to the home.
The image of the home appears to present its current profile so it reasonable to assume that both these images were taken post the 1948 additions, most likely in the 1950s. It is also noted both Brougham and Bolton streets remain unsealed at that time.
Of particular interest is the view looking down Brougham Street compared to today as it is apparent two of the trees present in the earlier image to the left of Brougham Street remain in place today. No doubt they probably greeted Walter Withers as he left his home and strolled down Brougham Street on his way to the railway station. What other stories could those trees tell us? At that time behind those trees was open fields, now an industrial estate. Let’s hope as progress continues its march that these trees remain as a link to our community’s heritage and days gone by.
Eltham Senior Citizens’ Centre, Library Place, Eltham
We will be pleased to welcome Andrew Mackenzie OAM, a regular friend of the Eltham District Historical Society. Andrew is an Art Historian, Lecturer, Heritage Consultant, Archivist and Author of many books, including a number about the life of Walter Withers (1854-1914). At this meeting Andrew will speak about Walter Withers in Eltham.
There are a number of strong connections between the Withers family and early Eltham, which Andrew will touch on. Not only did Withers establish his home in Eltham from 1902, he painted a number of his significant paintings around Eltham and the local area.
He even captured William Capewell, the local Eltham butcher, in his famous painting ‘The Drover’.
As at all of our meetings, new members and visitors are most welcome.
This estate is a residential area of winding streets lined with indigenous local trees and includes secluded parks and walkways. Prior to its subdivision in the 1920s this was Tom Orr’s farm, a favourite painting place of the artist Walter Withers.
After it was subdivided by land developer John Quinn the sale of land and house building proceeded slowly. Much vacant land remained in the 1970s. This estate was unusual for its time, although to some extent it emulates the subdivision designs of Walter Burley Griffin, such as the heritage listed Glenard Estate in Heidelberg. It contains winding streets, irregularly shaped lots, secluded parks at the rear of lots and connecting walkways.
This walk will mostly not be one of historic buildings and the like although we will pass a group of heritage listed mud brick houses in Napier Crescent. Rather it will be a pleasant Peck’s Dam, this former farm dam is a feature of this walk walk through informal streets and parks imagining the past landscape that inspired Walter Withers and looking at aspects of this unusual 1920s subdivision. On the way we will discover the elusive southern boundary of the Montmorency Farm where it crosses streets and parks.
This circuit walk is about 3.5 km in length and will take 2 to 2.5 hours. It will start at 2pm at the car park in Grand Boulevard opposite the Montmorency South School (Melway ref.21 E 7/8). It contains some hilly sections. 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
Our Society encourages interest in and the sharing of stories about the local history of the Eltham district in Victoria, Australia