Historical information

Poor video quality (noise and interference), edited raw footage with music and some commentary by Merv Hanna.
A video documenting the demolition of the Shire of Eltham offices at 895 Main Road Eltham under the direction of the Commissioners appointed for the new Shire of Nillumbik and some of the communities activities surrounding the event. The building was demolished exactly 25 years after the southern wing housing Engineering and Planning on the upper level and the Eltham Library on the ground level was opened in celebration of the Shire of Eltham's centenary.

Video has lots of distortion and noise, and sections of clips dubbed over. Immediate initial footage of Jenni Mitchell talking about asbestos claims in the Shire Offices (Sigmund Jorgensen standing behind her) advising Council did a review of the building several years previously and had been cleared of health problems. Cuts to group of people standing outside front door of offices but possibly voice dub over not related ? Then the date 27 Jul 1996 on a scene flashes on screen immediately followed by an edited clip intro of title and credits with classical music track. It then opens with Jenni Mitchell driving to the Shire Offices on Saturday 27 July 1996 at 11.00am. Footage of Main Road past Pitt Street, Alistair Knox Park then entering Shire Office driveway which is fenced off and contractor signs hanging up. Scenes at rear of building showing some internal demolition has commenced. View of the Administration wing. More clips of road driving, Alistair Knox Park, Eltham Library and visitor car park for Shire Offices. Cuts to a group of people standing in access to visitor carpark with new Eltham Library in background, one being immediate former Shire of Eltham President, John Graves. Scenes of people looking through chain link fence and security guard checking front door. John Graves being filmed that someone informed him the Shire was offering the building to the Community Health Centre for $2.3 million and that if they had been offered a price of $1.1 for what it apparently was sold for they would have snapped it up. View of truck loaded with brick rubble literally struggling to ascend the hill of Library Place to exit into Main Road. Cuts to a scene looking at Eltham War memorial Hall through the Memorial Gate, then the Shillinglaw trees and large banner sign ‘Delta Demolitions’ hanging on office façade. Views of front door, old library and bluestone wall.

Scene (31 Jul 1996) filmed at night of several white crosses with “RIP Community” and “RIP Democracy”.

Scene (1 August 1996) again driving along Main Road towards the Shire Offices then scenes of the offices showing substantially more demolition to exterior, groups of people standing on footpath outside watching, Delta heavy demolition machines, woman holding sign “Democracy where have you gone …”, the odd person in full protection gear and breathing apparatus hand carrying materials out to place on rubbish pile in front of people standing on footpath watching (with no protection) and then stamping on it to break it creating dust, security person in hard hat (no other protection) wandering around, many groups standing around watching, news film crew, person standing on roadside edge holding signs facing traffic stating “Pirate Planning” and “ Grant us your ears” also sign on back of parked car “Elthams High Jacks”, another sign “Community Democracy”, views of crosses in Main Road median strip “RIP Community”, groups of people on footpaths and reporters conducting interviews, footage of unknown person standing with Jenni Mitchell and Sigmund Jorgensen advising people have the right to protest, Jenni Mitchell urging people to ask questions of local MP and Council and Sigmund Jorgensen referring to the three historic Shillinglaw trees with demolition machinery operating in background, Jenni Mitchell and others installing more crosses in median strip; demolition machines operating inside and outside the building, more views of onlookers including Sigmund Jorgensen then Police approaching on footpath, workers and machinery continuing to operate, views of the old library being demolished, the former Community Services department, security personnel.

Scene (2 August 1996) more heavy demolition machinery in operation smashing building up, people standing around southern wing watching, view overlooking Eltham Library of train pulling in to Eltham station.

Scene (7 August 1996) more heavy demolition and people wandering around with only hard hat protection, no dust protection, comments from one operator dumping a bin of material stating “wait till there’s a Hungry Jack’s here, you’ll be laughing, fuel, videos, hamburgers. You’ll be up with the rest of the world soon, you’ll have electricity and everything here, ha ha ha ha”, more heavy machinery demolition and breaking up of materials, view of Hitachi train going by and Administration wing, view inside the front door opening of the staircase leading to upper level, person walking around operating heavy machinery with a hose spraying rubble (no protective gear other than hard hat interspersed with edit cuts of meeting of Commissioners and independent observers on panel as well as members of the community in public gallery. Nillumbik Shire CEO Barry Rochford addressing the meeting., Chief Commissioner Don Cordell directly addressing Jenni Mitchell with respect to permission to take photographs, Barry Rochford continues to address the question asked of Council about the valuation of the former Shire of Eltham Office building/site, public gallery calling out asking why was building demolished, what was the urgency.

Scene (14 August 1996) views of southern wing, previous single demolition operator again mocking people filming, operators working in and around building, Shillinglaw trees and largely demolished front, heavy demolition equipment at work, piles of building rubble, hose spraying water over rubble, large trucks arriving for rubble removal and loading of truck.

Scene (21 August) more of the same, building virtually down, Shillinglaw trees standing tall and alone, water spraying on rubble and wattle in bloom. Cuts to Council meeting with public onlookers. Barry Rochford walks out, Wayne Phillips addresses meeting explaining one or two people shouting, members of the community challenging Council (Commissioners) about why due process appear to have been subverted. Former Shire President Robert Marshall in public audience, cuts back to Shire office carpark entrance site and sign hung on fence in front of library “Think Again!” and people standing around observing awaiting a protest demonstration erecting a large sign on stilts stating “Shell No!”, people singing a revised version of God Save the Queen (God Save Us All), Sigmund Jorgensen in attendance, Jenni Mitchell, Sigmund Jorgenson and others address the protest crowd, followed by people mingling, music being played then people standing around the cleared site circumference all with arms linked (video very broken up with noise) then chants “Save the Gateway” and “No Shell for Eltham” and more music and singing “Put up a parking lot”. The crowd then proceeds to walk along the footpath of Main Road.

Scene (15 Sep 1996) meeting at Montsalvat in Great Hall addressed by Sigmund Jorgensen discussing a recently published list of the Commissioner’s to senior Council Officers of banned Nillumbik people, others encouraging people to view proposed plans for the site and lodge objections. Specific issues regarding asbestos claims are also addressed. Harry Gilham addresses the meeting on the subject of the Eltham War Memorial and Memorial Gardens and how Council believe a roundabout in the vicinity is of greater importance. Views of various artworks on display (for auction) and music performance in the Barn Gallery. Meeting addressed by Sigmund Jorgensen discussing an appeal against Council granting a permit to Dallas Howgate to develop the site and that the Minister has called the matter in to be decided by the governing council. This is followed by an auction of paintings.

Physical description

Hi-Tech Ultra High Grade Video Cassette E-180 VHS dubbing of (poor quality) edited raw footage with some music from Star Wars and commentary by Merv Hannan
Converted to MP4 file format 0:30:26, 2.6GB

Inscriptions & markings

On label " Merv's Demolition tape No. 2 Copy"