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.