A History of Elwood




The Elwood Entity

The Traditional Owners

The Fever Ship

Rams and Roads

Recreation on the Hill and the Beach

War in Elwood

Early Settlers

Bushrangers in Elwood

From Swamp to Canal

Noxious Activities

Bluey and Curley

Early Buildings

Radio 3EF Elwood

Trams to the Rescue

Squizzy in Elwood

Shops and Community Services

Elwood's Little Napoleon

A Visit to Elwood Junction 1940s and 1950s

The Writer and the Artist

Flats, Flats and more Flats

The Architect of Elwood

Walking Tour of the Art Deco Apartments of Elwood

Poets Corner


The Admiral of Elwood

Elwood Timeline





Encouraged by the tramways, businesses finally opened in Ormond Road.  In 1913, Alice Barker, one of Victoria’s first women chemists, opened a pharmacy at number 90. 16   A grocer’s shop followed at number 121 in 1915, and row of shops with accommodation above in the 1920s such numbers as 151-55 and 161-169.  A rare pair of concrete shops, possibly the first in Victoria, opened at numbers 157-159.

In 1919, the Broadway Picture Theatre at 145-149 Ormond Road brought the first of 39 years of films to Elwood.  17

Elwood Junction prospered where the tramlines intersected at Ormond and Glenhuntly Roads.  By 1930, almost thirty businesses had sprung up on Ormond Road including an ironmonger, motor garage, police station and library.  18   The junction eventually included the classically detailed post office (1925) on the corner of Broadway and Glenhuntly (in 2005 a patisserie).  The landmark Alderley Building (1920) was opposite, marked by window turrets on each corner.  Today it houses the popular Turtle Café and many other businesses.  On the south side was the classical State Savings Bank (6 Ormond Road).  Elwood’s highly popular dance hall, Maison De Luxe, (later ‘Des’s Garage’ and today shops and apartments) was on the north-west corner.

Community services were encouraged nearby.  In 1916, St Bede’s Hall opened on the corner of Ormond Road and Byrne Avenue.  St Bede’s College was added to the rear in 1918, a kindergarten in 1921 and a vicarage at 2 Tiuna Grove 1917-1918.  In 2005 it was sold for commercial redevelopment.  The Elwood Sub-Branch of the Returned and Service League of Australia opened at the corner of Pine Avenue and Ormond Road at the end of World War Two to support returned soldiers and their dependants. 

New subdivisions on Rothesay Street (1911) and Austin Avenue (1914) encouraged a shopping strip along Tennyson Street near the new Presbyterian Church. 19

SH Dimond’s grocery store opened at 164 Tennyson Street in about 1913.  By 1916 they were followed by a greengrocer (160) and a confectioner (162) and by 1920 a bootmaker, newsagent, dairy outlet and butcher. 

In 1918, St Columba’s Church School opened at 2 Normandy Road, followed by the presbytery in 1921 and the Parish Hall in 1937.  In 1929, the Roman Catholic Church was opened by Archbishop Mannix and its tower has been an Elwood landmark ever since.

In 1917,  Elwood Primary School opened on former swampland, later becoming a central school and enlarged in 1926.  It wasn’t until 1957, after decades of community lobbying, that Elwood High School opened nearby. 

Miss Florence Manning opened Point Ormond Café at 400 Barkly Street in 1915 near the intersection of Ormond Esplanade, to service the summer crowds at Point Ormond with scones, confectionery and tasty ‘edibles’ such as sardines.  It boasted a genuine gas-heated copper.  Its demolition for new development, ‘The Point’, in 2005 is symptomatic of recent changes in Elwood.

The original building of ‘Jerry’s Milk Bar’ was constructed at 345 Barkly Street in about 1915.  Its name derives from Gerasimos ‘Jerry’ Pantelois, a Greek immigrant who operated it for over thirty years from 1964 until his death in 1997.  With its vintage fittings and signage, it remains an iconic meeting place for the local community and its children.  In 1931, Elwood Talmud Torah held its first service in Elwood moving later to 39 Dickens Street. 

90 Ormond Road


Former Broadway Picture Theatre, now apartments


Alderley Building


Site of former Maison de Luxe


Former Post Office


Former State Savings Bank


Former Point Ormond Cafe, now 'The Point' development 400 Barkley Street, cnr Ormond Esplanade (below)




16 In 2006, Chisholm and Gamon Real Estate were the occupants of this delightful former pharmacy faced with stone from Waurn Ponds and Stawell.

17 It was originally leased by Westgarth Theatre and later owned by Consolidated Theatres who also operated the Kinema, Albert Park and the Victoria, Richmond.  From 1961 to 1995 the building was used for receptions and nightclubs.  It is now Broadway Theatre Apartments 145-7 Ormond Road.

18 Former resident Ken Corbett states that a Mrs Hume of Goldsmith Street conducted her Duchey library for many years in the 1940s and 1950s.

19 The oldest church building in Elwood still stands behind the brick Presbyterian Church on the corner of Scott and Tennyson.  The history of churches and synagogues is told in the Spirit of St Kilda A History of Places of Worship (see www.skhs.org.au)