Historical information

Nillumbik Commissioners used 'reserve power's to permit a controversial Shell service station and Hungry Jackls restaurant development at the former Eltham Shire Office site at 895 Main Road. More than 200 people attended the Council meeting in the public gallery and protested at the decision.
32 personal submissions were made to Council's Planning Special Committee meeting whose members vioted 3-2 against the development. The Committee consisted of the three Nillumbik Commissioners and three community members (Jim Connor, Bronwyn South and Janet Mattiske). Chief Commissioner Don Cordell, a former Shell employee excused himself from voting and the three communbity memebrs voted against the submission. The other two commissioners, Vin Heffernan and Kevin Abbott voted against it. They then immediately closed the meeting and opened a Council meeting lasting just seconds to use special reserve powers to overturn the decision.

Community residents who made submissions included Russell Yeomans speaking on behalf of the Eltham Gateway Action Group and Eltham District Historical Society, Des Ryan on belaf of Eltham Senior Citizens, Angela Newhouse, others on behalf of Our Lady Help of Christians Primary School and Judge Book Village, Tom Munro, Ian Jennings, Margartet Ball a fifth generation descendant of the Shillinglaw family, one of the early settlers of the area and owner of the land that was sold to Council, Frank Burgoyne who said "there will be a lot of creaking and rumbling in the cemetery if this goes through. So many old people who have done so much for Eltham are buried up there and it is up to us to pass on what they left to the younger generation. Eltham is a beautiful spot; why louse it up?"

A second article "Anger over reserve power" by Laeta Antonysen provides commentary from the three Planning Special Committee community members, former Eltham Shire Councillor Jim Connor, Bronwyn South and Janet Mattiske about the process that took place and the first time use of the spoecial reserve power to overturn the decision of the committee. Barry Rochford, Nillumbiuk CEO defends the use of the power.


The demolition of the former Shire of Eltham offices and proposed sale and development driven by the Commissioners for Nillumbik Shire Council brought the community together in substantial protest at the infrigement of ratepayers democratic say in local government and ciommunity assets combined with protests about inappropraite development of Eltham's Gateway. This issue led to the formation of the Eltham Community Action Group which still operates strongly today (2023) on behalf of the community to ensure appropriate development within the community.

Physical description

Digital scan file only