Beachmere Community Restores Founders Grave


Beachmere’s Sesquicentenary Celebrations may have been put on hold but a number of projects have continued.

The distribution of the book “Beachmere – Then and Now” was published and distributed and continues to be ordered, along with a range of merchandise products, to the great enjoyment of all those who read it.

A number of “legacy” projects were organised by the Committee, including the production of a commemorative quilt and the restoration of the grave of one of Beachmere’s original residents, TE Bonney.

In 1870 Thomas Edwin Bonney, the grandson of a convict, took up land under the Crown Alienation Act which opened up large reserve like sections of land to settlers at the fixed price of one pound per acre.

In 1871 Mr Bonney was granted a sugar lease in partnership with WG Geddes. Whilst researching the book, author/compiler Karen Wallwork found, after some extensive searching, Mr Bonney’s grave in Toowong Cemetery.

In a state of severe disrepair, Karen garnered support from Darcy Maddock and the Friends of Towong Cemetery to have the grave restored.

“I do my vest to preserve headstones from further damage. No stonemason was interested in the work so I took it on,” Darcy said.

Darcy assisted with the steps necessary to repair the grave including advising on “permission to repair” documentation. Once this was received, and other issues resolved including fire bans halting work on the site, work progressed.

Twelve months later and the gravesite is now a proud reminder of one of Beachmere’s founding settlers. A plaque has been added to the restored grave which reads:

“Thomas Edwin Bonney, the first European settler in the area, built his homestead in 1878. He named it Beachmere: “beach” on account of the narrow sand strip of beach in front of the house and “mere” because of the marshy nature of the land. The town continues to prosper. With gratitude, The Beachmere Community.”

Beachmere has delayed much of it’s celebration until May 2021 when it will be rebranded the “Back to Beachmere” weekend and include a weekend of gala events, bush dance, street parade and mini festival as well as a high tea which may well become an annual event on the local calendar.

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