Historical information

The Eltham Hotel is the oldest continually operating hotel in the Eltham district. Initially referred to as the Little Eltham Hotel, it has been known as the Eltham Hotel since the mid-1850s through to the present except for a brief period as the Eltham Tavern in the late 1980s.

The original hotel opened in 1854 by Richard Warren was built by Benjamin Oliver Wallis. The Fountain of Friendship Hotel on the opposite side of Maria Street (Main Road) opened shortly after. The hotel was a well-known resting place for gold diggers during the gold rush at Woods’ Point and Warren would buy the gold from the diggers. Warren ran into financial difficulties and determined to return to England. Wallis bought the hotel in 1861 and ran it till 1886 when he sold it to Christopher Watson Snr. When Christopher Watson Snr died a year after purchase, his son Christopher took over until his death in 1909 when it passed to wife Emily and then their youngest son, Herbert James (Jim) Watson in 1915.

In July 1925, Jim Watson demolished the original building and, in its place, erected a modern hotel which remains the foundation of the present-day Eltham Hotel.

Covered under Heritage Overlay, Nillumbik Planning Scheme.

Published: Nillumbik Now and Then /​ Marguerite Marshall 2008; photographs Alan King with Marguerite Marshall.; p41


This collection of almost 130 photos about places and people within the Shire of Nillumbik, an urban and rural municipality in Melbourne's north, contributes to an understanding of the history of the Shire. Published in 2008 immediately prior to the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7, 2009, it documents sites that were impacted, and in some cases destroyed by the fires. It includes photographs taken especially for the publication, creating a unique time capsule representing the Shire in the early 21st century. It remains the most recent comprehenesive publication devoted to the Shire's history connecting local residents to the past.

Physical description

Born digital image file