George Saunders and Lord George

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Throughout his time in Townsville George Saunders exhibited a passion for horses. He gained an income through trading horses and breeding the Suffolk Punch draught horse. Training racehorses occupied much of his time.

Image 1. Horses on Saunders Beach, taken 2015. From the early 1880s the Saunders family resided at Springfield, a 2 100 hectares property which nowadays takes in the current Saunders Beach. The Saunders used to ride <a href="https://saundersbeachhistoryproject.com/2015/12/31/pioneers-4/" target="_blank">socially</a> on the beach and no doubt George Saunders used to train his racehorses on the beach.

Image 1. Horses on Saunders Beach, taken 2015. From the early 1880s the Saunders family resided at Springfield, a 2 100 hectares property which nowadays takes in the current Saunders Beach. The Saunders used to ride socially on the beach and no doubt George Saunders used to train his racehorses on the beach.

Lord George, a bay gelding and perhaps named for his owner, raced in the Townsville Turf Club’s 1875 Christmas Races.

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Wulgurukaba People – Ethno-Botanical Trail at Jezzine Barracks

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The Wulgurukaba people are the Traditional Owners of Saunders Beach and their communion and contact with the land and sea is told throughout the Townsville region in many places e.g. the paths leading from the Garabarra Entrance at Jezzine Barracks, the Gabul Way that snakes around the cliffs of Magnetic Island and Wulgurukaba Plant Trail here at Saunders Beach.

Over time it will be Saunders Beach History Project’s great pleasure to feature images each of these places. Hope you enjoy them.

Jezzine Barracks redevelopment is a 15 hectares heritage open-space project provided by Townsville City Council and the Queensland and Australian Governments. It is located at Kissing Point area of Townsville.

The Wulgurukaba people and the Bindal people called this area Garabarra.

Image 1. The Garabarra Entrance is in Cook Street, North Ward.

Image 1. The Garabarra Entrance is in Cook Street, North Ward.

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Saunders Beach Cyclone Story Sign

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The 2016-17 cyclone season starts today, 1st November 2016 with the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology launching its cyclone warning service for 2016-17.

Since 2007 Saunders Beach has had a constant reminder of cyclones in the form of interpretive signage in Saunders Park, at the northern end of Reef Street.

Image 1. The Saunders Beach Cyclone sign. Designed and installed by Thuringowa City Council.

Image 1. The Saunders Beach Cyclone sign. Designed and installed by Thuringowa City Council.

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Townsville – Road to Municipality

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This year Townsville celebrates 150 years – 1866 to 2016 – since it became a Municipality under the Queensland Municipals Institute Act of 1864. To commemorate this milestone the current Townsville City Council has planned a year-long festival of events.

Under the banner T150 the Council has selected some community-based activities to support financially. The National Trust of Australia (Qld) Townsville Branch received funding for four bus tours, the first of them being Townsville’s ‘Hidden’ War Memorials.

That’s what happening in 2016. The remainder of this post takes place at the beginning of the period, back to 1866 (and even earlier), to Townsville’s foundations. Just who were the movers and shakers of 150 years ago, the men who pushed the Queensland Colonial Government to give Townsville formal recognition?

One name stands above the rest – John Melton Black.

John Melton Black whose vision created Townsville. Photo: CityLibrary Townsville

Image 1. John Melton Black – his vision created Townsville. Photo: CityLibrary Townsville

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George Saunders’ Role in Queensland’s Kangaroo Cull

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Queensland became a separate British colony from NSW in 1859, cash poor but rich in land. The first parliaments knew a prosperous pastoral industry would generate income for Queensland through wool and beef exports so the politicians listened to the wants and needs of their constituents on the land.

One pressing complaint of the rural sector, both agricultural and grazing concerned kangaroos, wallabies and other marsupials. They ate food intended for both humans and stock and drank sparse water in drought-prone areas.

The situation couldn’t go on. Action was needed, action that took the form of a new law:

1877 Title

Image 1. The header of Queensland’s new law authorising a cull of kangaroos, wallabies and other marsupials. Image from the Queensland Government Gazette 1877 Volume XXI.

‘Destruction of Marsupials’ quite simply meant money for scalps. In the 1877 Act a scalp is defined as “a portion of the skin of the head of any marsupial to which both of its ears are attached”.

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Saunders Beach Rural Fire Brigade and the Pacific Festival

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On the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June 2016 the iconic Pacific Festival makes a comeback in Townsville to mark 150 years since the city became a Municipality.

In the 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s the Pacific Festival was a much-loved annual event.

Today, Sunday a Float Parade will travel from Mariners Drive, down the Strand to the Rockpool and into Jezzine Barracks.

In 1994 Saunders Beach Rural Fire Brigade became a part of the Float Parade as the colourful vehicles drove down Flinders Street.

1994 Pacific Fest

The fire truck came to Saunders Beach about 1991.

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Townsville’s ‘Hidden’ War Memorials – a T150 event.

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Ever since the 1880s when George Saunders took up land in the area now called Saunders Beach this beachside village has had a vital connection to Townsville for such things as banking, Courts and State Land Office transactions. In 2008 the Queensland Government amalgamated local governments and Saunders Beach became a suburb of Townsville City Council.

This year Townsville celebrates 150 years – 1866 to 2016 – since it became a Municipality under the Queensland Municipals Institute Act of 1864. This historical milestone for Townsville is elegantly represented by the abbreviation T150.

In recognition of this Townsville City Council has planned a year-long festival of events, selecting some community-based activities to support financially. The National Trust of Australia (Qld) Townsville Branch received funding for four bus tours.

Castling Street.

Image 1. In the grounds of the Townsville Heritage Centre.

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North Queensland Cowboys – made history in our time

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In their twenty-first playing year on 4th October 2015 the Cowboys team won the National Rugby League premiership for the first time.

2015PremiersFramedPrint

Photo kindly contributed by John Sheil.

 

It came as a just reward for the club whose beginnings were found in community desire and sustained effort . Continue reading

New Year’s Eve 1891

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The first Europeans to settle on what is now Saunders Beach were the Saunders family. They spent New Year’s Eve 1891 hosting a party for about thirty guests at their residence Springfield, north of the Black River.

The guests danced and sang and an enjoyable night passed too quickly, reports The North Queensland Herald of 6 January 1892 (available on microfilm at James Cook University).

On New Year’s Day “a riding party proceeded to a fine beach…where a pleasant picnic took place”. Afterwards some members of the party relaxed under the spreading trees while the more energetic rode races or walked along the beach. That night there was more dancing until the party-goers were exhausted.

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Community Christmases at Saunders Beach

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By all accounts the Saunders family generously opened their home Springfield in the late 1800s and the early twentieth century. George Saunders and his wife Elizabeth were from rural backgrounds – George came from the small village of Whitwell in Hertfordshire, England and Elizabeth was a farmer’s daughter from Cappyroe, Offaly, Ireland. They carried the hospitality of rustic life learnt in their homelands to Springfield, hosting such activities as a New Year’s Eve 1891 house party for thirty guests.

Modern Saunders Beach unknowingly carried on this tradition when the Saunders Beach rural fire brigade put on the first kids’ Christmas Party on the beach at the northern end of Reef Street in 1990.

1990 Tug-of-war.

1990 Tug-of-war.

1990 Santa

1990 Reef Street car park (now Saunders Park).

 

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