Little Eltham Heritage Walk

Panther Place, Eltham

Little Eltham Heritage Walk

Panther Place, Eltham

Staff Pick
47 m
3.12 km
Easy

Many historical and culturally significant sites are within easy reach of Main Road Eltham. Start your local history walk and loop some of these sites commencing from the award-winning Eltham library.

Little Eltham Heritage Walk

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Summary

Many historical and culturally significant sites are within easy reach of Main Road Eltham. Start your local history walk and loop some of these sites commencing from the award-winning Eltham library.

Description

This walk takes in the area historically known as Little Eltham. Many historical and culturally significant sites are within easy reach of Main Road Eltham. Start your local history walk and loop some of these sites from the award-winning Eltham library.

Early Eltham developed around the road which passed through the area before a substantial settlement took place. In 1840 the Government reserved an area for the village of Eltham which comprised that part of present-day Eltham lying to the south of Dalton Street. It was not until 1851 that the first crown allotments were subdivided and sold.

Around the same time, a square mile of land to the north of the village reserve was purchased by Josiah Holloway. He subdivided this land into residential and small farming lots and called it Little Eltham. This land was more favourably located than the government land and sold quickly. The 1850’s rush to the Caledonia goldfields, and the first government land sales helped boost the village’s population.

The main road in Little Eltham was first named Maria Street after Holloway’s wife. It was renamed Main Road in 1959 and remains fairly true to its predecessor of the 1800s. As the township developed, the corner of Pitt Street was its centre. It was first sealed between Luck Street and Dalton Street in the summer of 1926-27. The widening of the road between Pitt Street and Elsa Court was undertaken in 1968.

In 1902 the railway came to Eltham with the station located about a kilometre north of the town centre. The town centre ultimately moved as businesses relocated to be closer to the station. In 1920 Eltham was described as a horticultural, dairying and grazing district near the Yarra River with a telegraph station, post and money order office, State School, bank, four churches, two hotels and a police station. Fruit growing and dairying were the main industries. The population was 400.

With the establishment of Montsalvat in the 1930s, Eltham became well known for its artistic community which still resonates today. This is also reflected in the environmental building movement, particularly in the use of mud bricks.

This walk is mainly on flat ground and will take under two hours at a gentle pace for the round-trip return to Eltham Library. The start is a short easy stroll from Eltham Railway station on the Hurstbridge line. The return portion is along the shared pathway of the Diamond Creek Trail so please be aware of cyclists. It is on a sealed surface most of the way but does go along a route with high traffic use.

Dogs are allowed but Council requirements are dogs must be on-leash within 5 metres of the trail.

Public toilets available in Eltham Library Community Gallery and in Alistair Knox Park. Two-hour car parks available near Eltham library.

Some photos include historical views.

Presented by Yarra Plenty Regional Library in partnership with Eltham District Historical Society.

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Points of Interest

1. Eltham Library and Community Gallery (1994)

This award-winning library opened in 1994. The use of mud-bricks, recylced timbers and abundant natural light is sympathetic to the local landscape and reflects the values of the community

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2. Sculpture of Alan Marshall (1995)

A sculpture of local author Alan Marshall by Marcus Skipper welcomes visitors. Alan loved telling stories and talking to children about his own story of overcoming the legacy of polio.

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3. Shillinglaw Cottage (c.1859)

Built around 1859 and constructed of handmade local bricks. This was the first colonial building in Australia to be disassembled brick by brick and reconstructed on a different site in 1963-64.

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4. Shillinglaw Trees (c.1885)

These Mediterranean Cypress (Pencil Pine) trees originally stood in front of Shillinglaw Cottage and subsequent Eltham Shire offices (1964-1996). They remain today, a link to the origins of Eltham.

5. Eltham War Memorial Obelisk (1919)

Unveiled in 1919 at the cnr of Bridge St. and Main Rd to commemorate 27 locals who died in WW1. A further 11 names were added for WW2. It was relocated to the front of the Eltham War Memorial in 2010.

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6. Eltham War Memorial (1952-1965)

The rise of community facilities as a form of memorialisation was a distinctive trend following WW2. This building precint is significant for its construction as a living memorial to benefit children.

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7. Former General Store and House, York Street (1925-1998)

General store and house built by C.R. Nicholls late 1925 at same time as Burgoyne's store near Bridge St. Eltham Feed Store in 1980s. Architect’s office took over before Le Pine was built in 1998.

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8. Old Bakery (c.1865-1979)

On the southeast corner of York Street (opposite Le Pine) once stood the town's General Store and Bakehouse. Built in the 1860s, it was the centre of a murder mystery in the 1890s, demolished in 1979.

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9. Sculpture 'Classical Landscape' (1996)

Iron sculpture by Cliff Burtt welcomes visitors to the Gateway of Eltham. Constructed of Corten Steel, it won the Eltham Public Art Award in 1996 and is part of the Nillumbik Public Art Collection.

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10. Alistair Knox Park (1974 / 1999)

Developed as Eltham Town Park from a former tip, the trees were planted by school children in 1973. Renamed 1999 after local designer and builder, Alistair Knox, best known for use of of mud bricks.

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11. Bridge Street Cutting (1968)

Before reconstruction of Main Road in 1968, this intersection had deep cutting embankments on all four corners. The Eltham Obelsik was originally located on the north western corner.

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12. Hill Top Milk Bar (1925)

Once known as the Hill Top Milk Bar, formerly Burgoyne’s General Store, Post Office and Eltham's first telephone exchange, is one of only three remaining early 20th century village shops in Eltham.

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13. Uniting Church (1880)

The former Methodist Church was built in 1880 by George Stebbing. The Sunday School extension was built in 1929 and there have been other recent extensions.

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14. Former C.B.A. bank (1874)

Built in 1874. The bank stored gold from the Eltham/Research mining areas. It has bullet holes as a result of a hold up in 1949.

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15. Former Eltham RSL sub branch (801 Main Road) (c.1947-2012)

Once a row of shops was situated here and then the Eltham RSL sub branch occupied this site from late 1940s. After merging with Montmorency RSL, the site was sold in 2012 and redeveloped into units.

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16. Pitt Street

A local story describes how the proprietor of the nearby hotel built a brick-lined pit filled with water for his customers’ horses to cool off in after their long journeys to & from the goldfields.

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17. St Margaret's Anglican Church (1861)

The oldest church building in the Shire (opened 1861). It combines the best of old and new features such as its stained glass windows and mud brick hall. The Church was extended in 2014.

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18. Stebbing Cottage (88 Pitt Street) (c.1861)

One of the oldest houses in Eltham, the cottage was built about 1861 by pioneer builder George Stebbing whose family lived here until the 1900s.

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19. Zen Den (738 Main Road) (1926)

F.H. Collis's Economic Store opened Sep 1926 replacing W. B. Andrews's Corn Store (1860), destroyed by fire Jan 1926. Second Life Antiques in 1980s/90s. One of 3 early 20th cent. shops left in Eltham.

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20. Eltham Courthouse (1860)

Opened in 1860, the courthouse is the oldest public building in Eltham, built in the aftermath of the gold rush. A major repair and restoration project was undertaken by Nillumbik Council in 2021.

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21. Police Lock-Up (1880s)

Dated in the 1880s, a pre-fabricated design, each of the timber panels are individually numbered on the inside. Once located at the Eltham Police Station (Pryor St), it was relocated here in 2001.

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22. Police Residence (1859) and Police Station Replica

Built 1859 with stables and bluestone lockup, Police operations moved to Pryor St 1961. Replica Police Station built c1989. The residence has been home to Eltham District Historical Society since 1998

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23. Little Eltham Street Library (2018)

Street Libraries are a window into the mind of a community; books come and go. Since 2018, EDHS has hosted this popular unique (Police Station) street library, one in a free international network.

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24. Eltham Primary School (1855 / 1875)

Classes first started in 1855. Created State School #209 in 1863, the sandstone building was built in 1875. Over 160 years have seen the grounds develop and more than 6,000 students pass through.

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25. Village Pond (till 1932)

Little Eltham attracted attention from a writer in 1902 because of its “Surrey or Sussex village” qualities and “essentially English” village pond. The natural pond was permanently drained in 1932.

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26. Jarrold Cottage (701 Main Road) (1863) and Bootmaker's Shop (1930)

Jarrold Cottage built in 1863, also known as 'White Cloud", was originally closer to the creek but relocated due to flooding. The 1930 Bootmaker shop was operated by J.H. Clark a former photographer.

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27. Avenue of Honour (1917)

Returning up Main Road, enter Eltham’s Avenue of Honour, with its rows of plane trees, each commemorating the death of a soldier sent to fight in WW1. 115 trees were first planted in 1917.

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28. Victorian Artists Supplies (715 Main Road) (1970)

The 1970 mudbrick house was built by Arthur Munday (from Montsalvat) for his daughter Saskia Killingbeck. Victorian Artists Supplies was established in 1987. Continue along Main Road to the corner.

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29. Eltham Hotel (1925)

The Eltham Hotel originally built by Benjamin Wallis in 1854 and was sold to Christopher Watson snr in 1886. His grandson, Herbert erected the present building in 1925 which has since been modified.

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30. Monument (Garden of the Eltham Community and Reception Centre) (1985)

This monument commemorates Victoria’s 150th anniversary in 1985 and marks the former centre of the Eltham township. It consists of a “tyring plate” found on the site. A time capsule is buried beneath

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31. Eltham Community and Reception Centre (1978)

Situated beside the Living and Learning Centre, Australia’s first mud brick community building was opened here in 1978. It includes two halls and displays local art. It had a major upgrade in 2018.

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32. Diamond Creek Trail

Land here was first purchased in 1856 by Henry Dendy. He operated a steam flour mill on the creek. Walk along the path and spot some significant eucalyptus trees. Note: This is a shared path.

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33. Railway Trestle Bridge (1902)

As you walk down towards the oval, the old timbers of the Railway Trestle Bridge stand out against the back drop of the natural bush, just as they would have done in 1902 when the bridge was built.

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34. Tea Pot Cafe

We return to Eltham Library and Community Gallery. Finish with a coffee at the Tea Pot Café or nearby Shillinglaw Cafe. Visit the current exhibition in the Eltham Library Community Gallery.

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Features

Public Transport Public Transport
Playground Playground
Picnic Spot Picnic Spot
Seating Available Seating Available
Public toilets Public toilets
Historical Interest Historical Interest
Local Treasures Local Treasures
Art and Culture Art and Culture
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river
Park / Garden Park / Garden