Beaconsfield : A Brief History.
Beaconsfield is on the eastern edge of suburban Melbourne, developed as a farming township on part of the Panty Gurn Gurn Station established in 1845.
Prior to white settlement, aboriginals were known to frequent the area for the fresh water and fish Cardinia Creek provided, the aboriginal meaning of ‘Karr Din Yarr’ is ‘looking at the rising sun’.
The surrounding land provided an abundance of flora and fauna, including wildlife for hunting and there was a lush canopy of glorious gums and golden wattle, with dense undergrowth.
The aboriginals were known to trade their catch with the new settlers.
When the land was divided further, David Bowman selected land of approximately 200 acres east of Cardinia Creek, where he built an inn for travellers who would pass on their journey east along the Gipps Land Road, now the Princes Highway. The settlement grew around the Bowman’s Inn, also known as ‘Gippsland Hotel’ and now ‘Central Hotel’ which was a coach and resupply stop.
Once gold was discovered at Woods Point, business increased significantly with the passing miners travelling to the gold fields in various locations. After the flash of gold miners, the district became known for its logging and sawmilling, sand deposits and then the orchards of apples and lemons. In the 1860’s the Dandenong Market was within reasonable distance for farmers to sell their produce.
In 1877 the Beaconsfield Railway station opened up giving the opportunity for further growth of the town and businesses began to form the small township. The railway station became the hub of activity with the influx of visitors from Melbourne and suburbs; they would arrive on the train greeted by coaches and horse drawn carts, which would transport them to Beaconsfield Upper for the day or a stay at a guest house.
Beaconsfield had been known as ‘Little Berwick’ but the name Beaconsfield was adopted officially in 1881, the year that Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield died. The name was already in use in the area being the name of the Post Office, which opened on October 1st, 1878.
In 1879 the Victorian Municipal Directory described Beaconsfield as ‘a new agricultural settlement near the Gipps Land line. The sanatorium established during the last few years gives promise of being very successful’.
The first homes built were wattle and daub huts near the Cardinia Creek. As the district developed, produce was grown, harvested and transported by rail to Melbourne.In the 1890’s Thomas Patterson of St Germains recounts his interaction with aboriginals and had learned ‘a good deal of their language’. As settlement increased the land was cleared which diminished the aboriginal presence in Beaconsfield.
There were a number of grand homes built ‘Kenilworth Villa’, ‘Holm Park’, ‘Primrose Park’ and others. Businesses continued to open, a general store, produce store, blacksmith, timber yard, wheelwright shop, paint shop and bakery. There was a racecourse next to the hotel; a public hall was officially opened in 1906. A reservoir was constructed by the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission in a gully north of Beaconsfield, to serve Flinders Naval Base. The Montuna golf links opened in 1930.
Beaconsfield now has all the usual suburban shops and amenities.
In recent years further community services such as the Beaconsfield community complex and a new sports ground have been built.
Since the turn of the century the population has increased significantly, which has resulted in the massive expansion of Beaconsfield.