A history of Elsternwick Village’s landmark sites

A history of Elsternwick Village’s landmark sites

Elsternwick Village has a rich offering of historical and cultural attractions that make the area the destination it is today.

The area, which dates back to the 1850s, has become an exciting mix of old and new, where traders who have served the community for decades rub shoulders with start-ups.

To celebrate the heritage of the area, Glen Eira City Council has unveiled a free historic walking tour of Elsternwick that can be downloaded as an app on to your smartphone or device.

The self-guided tour takes you through the early days of Elsternwick and sheds light on how the area came to be the way it is present day.

Many of Elsternwick’s key landmarks are explored in the app, allowing you to obtain a more detailed insight into the local sites.

Here’s a look at some of the landmarks in Elsternwick Village that are on offer through the app:

A history of Elsternwick Village’s landmark sites

Elsternwick Railway Station

Elsternwick Railway Station initially opened in 1859, as part of the Melbourne and Hobson’s Bay United Railway Company’s network.

Almost 20 years later, it was taken over by the state government to become part of Victorian Railways.

Trams also played an important role in Elsternwick’s early days, with the first horse tramway opening in 1889 and the arrival of the first electric tramway in 1913.

A history of Elsternwick Village’s landmark sites

Classic Cinemas

The building that houses Classic Cinemas was first erected in 1889 and was originally intended to be a skating rink, shop and clubhouse.

The plans were never realised, so it served as a popular meeting place for many years before it became Elsternwick Theatre in 1911.

The theatre had its ups and downs, closing in 1929 when the depression hit Melbourne and then re-opened as the Esquire Theatre in 1946. A fire severely damaged the theatre in 1969.

The film house has been operating under the Classic Cinemas banner since 1971 and has been recognised by National Trust for its regional historical and social significance.

A history of Elsternwick Village’s landmark sites

Elsternwick Plaza

Elsternwick Plaza was one of the first real garden parks to appear in the area after local residents pressured authorities to provide more open spaces.

In 1902, a group of ratepayers urged Caulfield Council to turn a triangle parcel of land located next to the train station into a public park.

The Commissioner of Railways approved the request and transferred the land to council, which landscaped the site and then opened the reserve in 1904.

A history of Elsternwick Village’s landmark sites

Jewish Holocaust Centre

The Jewish Holocaust Centre was founded in 1984, dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945.

The centre, which serves as an educational space to combat racism, hatred and prejudice, was established with the generosity of Holocaust survivors, their families and supporters.

One of those supporters was Mina Fink, a member of the founding organising committee of the Jewish Holocaust Centre, who set up a fund with her husband Leo that helped buy the former dance school.

The site also contains a specialist Holocaust library and a collection of more than 1,300 survivor video testimonials.

Learn more about local history

To discover more local history or to take the Elsternwick Historic Walking Tour yourself, click here. 

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