The spotlight is on Beachmere this weekend as the village begins belated celebrations marking the 150th year since Thomas Edwin Bonney bought the first parcel of land there in 1870.
Organiser Karen Harris, from the Beachmere Area Network Group (BANG), says a series of events planned for last year was derailed by COVID-19 restrictions.
Three years in the planning, the Back to Beachmere celebrations will include a gala opening and the launch of the Beachmere Then and Now exhibition, a high tea, free festival in the park, a sand garden photographic competition and a wrap party with raffle draws, as well as the official unveiling of the water tower mural.
Ms Harris says the idea for the celebration was sparked after plans for a brochure about the village morphed into a 208-page book capturing the community’s recollections about life in Beachmere.
She says during research for the project the editor discovered the sesquicentenary of the arrival of Mr Bonney was looming and BANG decided to plan events to mark the occasion.
Mr Bonney, the grandson of a convict, bought land from Toorbul Point to King Johnnie Creek and built a homestead he named “Beachmere” after the Crown Alienation Act opened up large reserve-like sections of land to settlers at the fixed price of one pound per acre.
In 1871 Mr Bonney was granted a sugar lease in partnership with W.G. Geddes, and in 1887 they opened the first dairy, which became the Beachmere Dairy Farm and Cheese Factory.
Over the past 150 years, Beachmere has grown from the first sugar farm and dairy into an important food bowl for the region.
In the 1920s, it gained fame as a major holiday destination, with an influx of visitors for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
“By celebrating this historical event in a Celebration of Community, involving the entire Moreton Bay region, the Sesquicentenary Committee will bring together the young and the old, indigenous and non-indigenous, new locals and local experts, while recording the history of an important destination for Moreton Bay residents,” Ms Harris says.
Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery is looking forward to the celebrations.
“I was thrilled to open the brand new $1 million Beachmere Hub to mark the official milestone last year, after we remodeled the old RSL building, but coronavirus restrictions prevented a proper party.
“After 12 months of waiting I can’t think of anything better than a full week of festivities, and I encourage everyone from around the region to come along and join in the fun in this spectacular part of our world.”
Division 2 Councillor Mark Booth says he’ll be first through the doors for tonight’s gala dinner.
“Beachmere always bats above its average and the incredible lineup of activities and events for the belated 150th anniversary celebrations are testament to that,” Cr Booth says.
“Community celebrations have this incredible ability to bring people together, which is something we’ve all missed during COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.”
Find out more about the celebrations here.
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