After the end of the Second World War, many communities were considering how they would commemorate those who had died and those who had returned.  The Eltham War Memorial Trust was formed in 1945 to decide how best to honour them. The first notice of the meeting contained the words:

Those who had a member of their family in the fighting services will want to see the form of memorial we are concerned with is one that will be a constant reminder to us of those who fought for us and the little ones for whom they fought and died.

The Eltham War Memorial Trust’s aim was to build a Memorial complex which would not only serve as a War Memorial but would also benefit local children.  The foundation stone for the World War 2 Memorial complex was laid in 1950 by the Governor of Victoria, General Sir Dallas Brooks. He said that, just as a human being must have a heart, so must a shire, town or city.

This memorial, based on the absolute determination that we of our generation will do our utmost for the next generation, will be the heart of Eltham.

 

A Baby Health Centre was to be the first part of the War Memorial and other buildings included a crèche, soldier’s rest rooms, kindergarten and children’s library surrounded by a Garden of Remembrance.

        • Eltham Preschool construction started in 1955 and still operates in Main Road, over 60 years later.
        • In 1956, Eltham held an Easter Show in Eltham Lower Park for the War Memorial Trust as part of the ongoing community fundraising.
        • In 1963, the Garden of Remembrance was developed.
        • The Eltham Community Centre – Australia’s first public mudbrick and timber building
        • In 1964, the Eltham Senior Citizens Centre bought land from the War Memorial Trust for their building opened in 1967 that still operates and is well used.
        • 66 feet of the 1.5 acres was used for the CFA Fire Station.

      In 1965, the Eltham War Memorial Trust transferred its property – paid for by the community – to the Eltham Shire Council – now Nillumbik Shire.

    • Eltham Community Action Group believes that any development on this site should reflect the intentions of the originating committee which was:

Those who had a member of their family in the fighting services will want to see the form of memorial we are concerned with is one that will be a constant reminder to us of those who fought for us and the little ones for whom they fought and died.

 

                                                     Eltham Preschool Garden