The European settlement in Beaconsfield began in 1837, originally the names used were “little Berwick” and “Beaconsfield Lower”.
By 1869, Bowmans Hotel was well established and known to travellers, especially with the discovery of gold at Woods Point.
The Gippsland railway line from Sale to Oakleigh opened in 1877 and the following year was the opening of the Beaconsfield siding.
The earliest Beaconsfield Post Office opened in 1883 at the Railway Station and the following year the “Beaconsfield Riding” was established.
In 1896-1908 the Victorian Municipality Directory describes Beaconsfield as a township with telegraph station, post and money order office; population 200.
From 1914-1917 Directory now describes Beaconsfield as a rural township with telegraph, post and money order offices, public hall, state school, rifle club and two hotels; population 450.
The town also included the hay and corn store, blacksmith, timber yard, wheel-wright and paint store.
In 1915 a function was held at the local hall to farewell the local men that had enlisted for World War 1, Mr Keast in his address to the gathering made mention that “Beaconsfield had sent the largest portion, according to population than any other part of Australia” – South Bourke and Mornington Journal 30 September 1915.
In 1923-1926 the description of Beaconsfield is updated to a Rural township with telegraph, post and money-order offices, public hall, state school, two hotels and boarding houses. The reservoir, an imposing sheet of water, is within easy walking distance; population 150.
In 1936- 1974, the directory now includes not only the Beaconsfield Progress Association but the town now has both electric light and water.
In the early 1940’s the campaign to decentralize industry, gave the opportunity for the industrial “revolution”, which supported the advancement of business into what was once country towns, such as Beaconsfield. The population steadily increased and in 1960 it was recorded as 600.
Australian Bureau of Statistics; population count for Beaconsfield/ Officer.
|1991 – 2,941|
|1996 – 2,974|
|2001 – 3,707|
|2006 – 6,773|
|2011 – 8,223|
|2016 – 13,612|
|2020 – 21,682|
The significant population growth continues, changing the once rural township, Beaconsfield, to a modern suburb of Melbourne.
By Penny Harris Jennings