Monday, February 27, 2012

Eltham Gateway northern walk

Join the Eltham District Historical Society for a heritage excursion Saturday March 3rd. Meet at 2.00 pm at the Local History Centre, 728 Main Road, Eltham.

The Eltham Gateway is the name adopted for the section of Main Road Eltham leading from the roundabout at Fitzsimons Lane to the Eltham town centre.

The name has its origin in a 1987 planning report for Eltham Shire Council that identified this precinct as having special characteristics that warrant special planning protection. The area includes historic and other "Eltham character" buildings, significant parkland and extensive canopy tree cover. The land fronting this section of Main Road now has its own special planning controls that are intended to preserve the character that is so important to Eltham and its residents.

This part of Main Road has been the main entrance to Eltham from the earliest times of European settlement. Originally the only access was through Lower Plenty but 50 years ago the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge over the Yarra River was opened, providing alternative access. This joined Main Road at Eltham South and from there the traditional road into Eltham was followed.

Part of today’s Main Road follows Maria Street of Josiah Holloway’s 1851 subdivision of Little Eltham. It is well known local history that before the coming of the railway in 1902 the Eltham "town centre" stretched along Maria Street, generally between Brougham and Bridge Streets. The remaining buildings from this period provide a significant character component of today’s Eltham Gateway.

The Eltham District Historical Society's Eltham Local History Centre at 728 Main Road (cnr. Brougham Street, Melway ref. 21 J7) is about halfway along the Gateway and so provides a convenient starting place to walk the northern part. The walk is on Saturday 3rd March, starting at 2pm. The length is about 2km. There are many stops along the way so it will take about two hours. There is no charge and the walk is open to Society members and the general public.

The walk will extend northerly as far as the Eltham Library. It will pass many old Eltham Township buildings and we can look at photos of how they appeared in earlier times. In Alistair Knox Park we can see modern sculptures and signs on the Heidelberg School Artists’ Trail. The return walk is along the Diamond Creek path.

The Local History Centre will be open at the conclusion of the walk for those who want to view the displays, have a cuppa or a chat.

Please book with Russell at

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