A Brief History
Beaconsfield was once known as “Little Berwick”. the site marks the original Panty Gum Gum Station property, a squatter’s run. The lease of Panty Gurn Gurn or (Coronbile) W.P. No. 111 was granted to C.F. Jackson in 1845 and to William Bowman in 1850. It consisted of 1920 acres for the depasturage of 150 head of cattle. The lease was cancelled in 1873.
The name “Beaconsfield” was derived from that of Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield), who died on the day in
1881 when a deputation of local residents waited on the Minister for Railways to ask for a station at the
The deputation consisted of Dr. L.L. Smith, M.L.A., Professor Halford, Messrs. William Goff, T.T. a’Beckett, W.A.C. a’Beckett and William Brisbane.
In the early days, Bowman’s Hotel, at what is now Central Hotel, was known as the Gippsland Hotel, and the Cardinia Creek was called the boundary of Gippsland. Later the Bunyip River was proclaimed as the official boundary of Gippsland, and the name of the Hotel was changed.
Mrs. Bowman was a enterprising and courageous woman; also a devout one. She had here own private box pew in the Berwick Presbyterian Church which she regularly attended.
About the time the gold rush to Wood’s Point had set in, at here own expense and out of her savings, she employed men to make a track from Beaconsfield to link up with the Yarra track leading into Wood’s Point, thus providing a new approach to the gold diggers. Her enterprise acquired for her business the custom of many gold diggers, who availed themselves of the new route, which could be traversed either on foot or horseback. The track led from the hotel yard, up the ridge to the south side of Mount Misery, thence on its east side, approx. the present O’Neil’s or Hugdenden Road, past “Holm Park” garden, to the summit, north along the ridge crossing Telegraph Road, and passing on the south side of Quarry Hill, Beaconsfield Upper, thence for many miles through the bush, north-east.
When the Government eventually was paid 500 pounds compensation, notwithstanding the business which had accrued from the track whilst in use.
In 1869 Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinborough, stayed at Bowman’s Inn, and enjoyed several days of relaxation in the district. Bowman’s Inn was taken over and staffed by members of his ship, the H.M.S. Galatea, then on a visit to Melbourne. A Beaconsfield resident still has a medal struck in 1867 which commemorates the Duke’s visit to Melbourne.