Heidelberg Historical Society

Coronavirus restrictions

As per Government regulation the following are required as conditions of entry to the Courthouse:
  • Proof of double vaccination (certificate) must be shown.
  • Wearing a mask inside the building.
  • Registration of your visit using the Current restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne at the Victorian Government Website.
  • Please sanitise your hands upon entry.
Please note that for the rest of 2021 the Research Room will not be open on Sundays due to density requirements.

For more information, please see the Current restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne at the Victorian Government website.


  • Tuesday 14 December 2021
  • Starting at 8PM
  • Uniting Church Community Centre, Seddon Street, Ivanhoe
  • Enter from the car park at the rear.
  • Visitors must be double-vaccinated and certificates to that effect presented before entry.
  • The meeting will be available on Zoom. If you are interested, please contact our Secretary, Janine Rizzetti at heidelberg.historical.society@gmail.com for connection details.
John Anderson

Topic: History of the Railway Line to Heidelberg
and its Electrification

An illustrated talk by John Anderson

Our speaker, John Anderson, grew up in Eaglemont and used ‘dog-box’ trains to travel to school, football matches, the cinema, music lessons, visit friends and relations and attend everything else that kids did at that time. His talk will include some of the material published in his article in the July 2021 edition of Newsrail to mark the centenary of the electrification of the line

The line as built in 1888 ran from Spencer St Station to Royal Park, then eastwards to Clifton Hill and southwards to Collingwood (now known as Victoria Park). Here the locomotive ran around the train and took it back to Clifton Hill before heading out on the line to Heidelberg. This made for a very indirect, circuitous and time-consuming journey, which was made even longer by the need to use a cable tram to travel between the city centre and Spencer St Station.

Princes Bridge Station
John will describe a diary entry by Arthur Streeton dated 1890 which reveals that travellers shortened their journey by using the Collingwood cable tram between the city and Collingwood Station to connect with Heidelberg trains. One of John’s themes will be that train travel to and from Heidelberg at that time was dependant on the cable tram system, which was opened just months before the Heidelberg train service commenced. His talk will be illustrated with a series of maps and diagrams to show the initial route of the line and the cable tram/train line inter-relationships.

Perhaps he will also mention the lack of a tram service to Heidelberg.

The dependence on cable trams to get to and from the centre of the city was circumvented by the construction of an independent direct link between Clifton Hill and Princes Bridge Station via Jolimont in 1901 – a project that cut a swathe through a densely built up area and entailed the demolition of countless homes and premises that would be unheard of today.

The People of this Area

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people who are the Traditional Custodians of this Land. We also pay our respect to the Elders both past and present of the Kulin Nation and extend that respect to all other Indigenous Australians. Our way forward is to look honestly at the past, avoiding the old distorted historical accounts as much as possible.

First Nation History

This area has been the home of mankind for around 60,000 years. Many descendants of First Nation live amongst those of us who only understand other historical origins. So what happened with the First Nation people, both before and after European occupation?

A good starting point is the Wurundjeri website.

European Settlement

We have evidence of European land use since the early days of occupation in the 1830s. These timber fences, old sheds and introduced tree species are located on the Yarra Flats in modern day Heidelberg. Non-indigenous people have come to Heidelberg from many places, not just Europe. And some of them were convicts - not many, but a few. Some escaped and some were even bushrangers.


Our Historical Society wants to provide a service to all people who are interested in the history of the area. In 2020 and 2021, we are faced with the COVID 19 virus. History tells us how dangerous such diseases are, mainly since European occupation. We must therefore restrict our activities to maintain the safety of our members and all members of the public. The flu epidemic of 1919 is a well known example.