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The first European family to settle at Saunders Beach were the Saunders in about 1882.

The family comprised father George, a native of Hertfordshire England, mother Elizabeth, an Irish woman who had sailed on the Maryborough from Liverpool to Bowen in 1865, daughter Elizabeth Annie born about 1869, a second daughter Louisa Emma born 1872, a son George Alfred  born 1876, a third daughter Cecile born 1878, and a second son Ernest William born 1880.

George Saunders began applying for ten-year leases of Crown Land from the Queensland Colonial Government north-west of the Black River from 1877. Over the next fourteen years he accumulated seven tracts of land totalling about 5 200 acres (2 100 hectares).

Springfield, as the Saunders called their dairy property allowed George and his wife Elizabeth to provide a stable, even prosperous home life for their five children. Both George and Elizabeth involved themselves in the local community by such activities as establishing the Springfield Racing Club, hosting house parties and acting as judges in the Townsville Show according to their individual areas of expertise.

One by one the three daughters married and moved away from the family home. George died unexpectedly in 1903. In time Elizabeth, her son Ernest and his wife moved into Townsville where Elizabeth passed away in 1924.  Husband and wife are buried in West End Cemetery, Townsville.

In Loving Memory of George

Saunders’ plot, West End Cemetery, Townsville

In loving memory of George, the beloved husband of Elizabeth Saunders.
Died 17th August 1903 aged 62 years.
Also the above Elizabeth Saunders. Died 24th August 1924.
Aged 82 years.

The naming of geographical features and towns after their founders is common and honours the contribution of pioneers. Saunders Beach was named after a true North Queensland pioneer, George Saunders and his name will live on for future generations.


Queensland State Archives Item ID 62829, 62929, 62876, 63112, 63221, 62304, Land Selection Files.

Note: George Saunders was christened on 31 Dec 1837 and 65 when he died. Ancestry.com. England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013.