FLOOD, FIRE AND FEVER
A History of Elwood
PRE-1835 Traditional owners occupy area now known as Elwood.
1802 Charles Grimes from Sydney surveys Port Phillip in the ‘Cumberland’ and describes the Elwood foreshore.
1835 John Fawkner’s ship, the Enterprize drops anchor at Elwood in August en route to founding the settlement of Melbourne on the lower Yarra.
1840 Quarantine station formed at Point Ormond for Scottish fever ship Glen Huntley’. Three fever victims buried on the bluff, creating St Kilda’s first burial ground.
1851 First land sale of six blocks between Ormond Road and the Esplanade auctioned at £2/10 per acre. Victoria’s separation celebrated with bonfire at Point Ormond.
1852 Settlers John and Mary Broadbent arrive in Melbourne from Yorkshire on the Merlin in September and set up tent at Point Ormond. Bushrangers hold up travellers on the Brighton Road.
1853 Joseph Vautier subdivides his land to create the Elwood Hill Estate. Broadbents purchase land for home and farm at Vautier Street in March 1854.
1854 Elsternwick Hotel established as a wayside inn.
1855 Elwood’s oldest houses constructed by Reverend Joseph Docker (today 30/30a Vautier Street). An attempt to save the former stable at 28 Vautier Street fails in 1995.
1857 Night soil depot established Barkly Street intersection, remaining open till 1869.
1856 Melbourne Hunt Club granted licence at Barkly Street to run hounds.
1861 Open slaughter yard and timber bridge, then abattoir building, established on Barkly Street on two-acre site bisected by Elster Creek.
1850s and 1860s Construction of early mansion estates and homes, e.g. Erindale, Chiverton (Brighton Road), Tennyson Villa (Tennyson Street), Hartpury, Revelston (Milton Street 1870), and seaside mansions e.g. Wiltonia or Bleak House (The Esplanade).
1862 On 2 July, almost two thousand militia and troops engage in military manoeuvres at Point Ormond.
1870s and 1880s Boom era after gold rush stimulates housing estates and subdivisions in Elwood e.g. Brighton Road, Mitford Street, Southey Street, Byron Street, the Esplanade Hood Street, Beach Road, St Kilda Street, Spray Street, Hotham and Grosvenor Streets. Many fail due to depression in 1890s.
1888 Major works being to drain Elwood swamplands and build Elwood canal. Cable tramway opens along Brighton Road to Milton Street.
1897 Elwood canal completed from beach to Glenhuntly Road.
1898 Fever victim graves exhumed from Point Ormond and re-interred at St Kilda General Cemetery.
1899 Abattoir closed after protests.
1905 Swamp reclamation completed.
1906 First electric tramline in Victoria opened, from St Kilda station via Elwood to Brighton.
1907 Rifle range (eleven acres) closed at Elwood Beach to become Elwood Park.
1908 Land sale of former swampland occurs on 21 January 1908 followed by second land sale in 1913.
1913 Elwood Life Saving Club commences the first of many recreational clubs on the foreshore. Elwood’s earliest shops open in Ormond Road.
1914 Elwood officially becomes South Ward, St Kilda on the 8th April.
1915 Tram commences along Glenhuntly Road to Point Ormond.
1916 St Bede’s Church opens corner Ormond Road and Byrne Avenue. In 2005 it sold to developers.
1917 Elwood Primary School opened on former swampland, later becoming a central school and enlarged in 1926.
1917 Early flats built at 73 Mitford Street, forerunner of the housing type that will eventually comprise 65% of Elwood’s dwellings.
1918 St Columba’s Church School opens at 2 Normandy Road. Presbytery added in 1921 and Parish Hall in 1937.
1919 Broadway Picture Theatre opens at 145-149 Ormond Road and remained open till 1958.
1920 Alderley Building (later housing Turtle café and other shops) constructed at Elwood Junction.
1920s Subdivisions of mansion estates into flats and homes eg. Thalassa, Wimbledon, Rothermere, Whinbank, Hartpury, Arranmure and Chiverton.
1915 Tea kiosk at Elwood Beach.
1926 Electrification of Brighton Road tram route on 28 April.
1929 Roman Catholic Church St Columba’s opened by Archbishop Mannix.
1930 Tearooms open at Point Ormond.
1930 Elwood village grows to almost thirty businesses.
1930 Brutal murder of teacher Molly Dean in lane off Addison Street.
1931 Elwood Talmud Torah holds its first service in Elwood, moving later to Dickens Street.
1937 Polio epidemic alarms population. Elwood canal feared as ‘Plague Canal’.
1956 The Point Ormond tramway closes followed by the St Kilda to Brighton tram in 1959.
1957 Elwood High School opened.
1957 Canal diversion through Elsternwick Park to the sea at Head Street completed
1969 St Kilda Marina opened on twenty acres of land reclaimed from the sea.
1970 Prince Charles swims at Elwood in April describing the water as ‘diluted sewage’.
1974 Aboriginal midden uncovered near Point Ormond.
1985 Reunion of descendants of Glen Huntley fever ship at Point Ormond.
1994 Elwood becomes part of the City of Port Phillip after amalgamation.
1999 Residents create Elwood Community Bank, first urban community bank in Australia.
2006 ‘Flood, Fire and Fever: a History of Elwood’ published by Elwood Community Bank, St Kilda Historical Society and PMI Press.
(Sketch by Sharyn Madder)