Eltham Shire is well known as a district in which live a large number of painters, sculptors, potters, writers and other creative people. The early settlers were, for the most part, resourceful and far- sighted; the present residents are no less so. Mention the name Eltham and many things spring to mind: conversation; the integration of architecture with the environment; mud-brick buildings; Montsalvat - the list is endless. In 1971, the century of the Shire's birth, the Council felt that the publication of a history would fittingly mark more than a century of achievement. Eltham was fortunate in having Alan Marshall as a resident and editor of this book, to which many individuals contributed. But Pioneers & Painters is more than just a local history; Eltham Shire's early story could be the history of any Australian pioneering community, which by courage and labour has built houses and villages, raised children and struggled to educate them to standards remembered from former homelands.