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Beaumaris ( bo-MAR-is) is an affluent bayside suburb in Melbourne, Australia, 20 km south-east of Melbourne's central business district.


  • Area:5.158 km2
  • Elevation:17 m
  • Population:13,349
  • Local Government Area:Bayside City Council


Beaumaris ( bo-MAR-is) is an affluent bayside suburb in Melbourne, Australia, 20 km south-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Bayside. At the 2011 Census, Beaumaris had a population of 12,829. It is located on Port Phillip. # History ## Indigenous occupation The Bunurong (or Boon Wurrung) peoples of the Kulin nation lived along the Eastern coast of Port Philip Bay for over 20,000 years before white settlement. Their mythology preserves the history of the flooding of Port Phillip Bay 10,000 years ago, and its period of drying and retreat 2,800–1,000 years ago. Visible evidence of their shell middens and hand-dug wells remain along the cliffs of Beaumaris, but by the 1850s, local aboriginal numbers had dwindled to just over 50. ## European settlement One of the first white settlers was James Bickford Moysey in 1845, who, along with several other local settlers had Welsh roots, and he gave the name 'Beaumaris' to his pastoral run after the Welsh Town of Beaumaris (Welsh: Biwmares) on the Isle of Anglesey in the Menai Strait, called 'beaux marais' by Norman-French builders of the castle there, a name which translates as "beautiful marshes". Moysey eventually purchased 32 hectares for his farm. There is a monument on the foreshore opposite the hotel where Moysey had built a house. ## Establishment of the suburb Current day Beaumaris covers two early estates in the parish of Moorabbin developed by Josiah Holloway from 1852. Named Beaumaris Town and Beaumaris Estate after the Moysey holding, the lots comprising them were marketed by Mr. Holloway's suggesting that the railway was imminent and a canal would be built.A Beaumaris Post Office was opened on 1 March 1868, but was renamed Gipsy Village (now Sandringham) office at the end of that month. The township developed slowly, with Beaumaris Hotel, the first shop and civic hall being built in the 1880s. Beaumaris Post Office did not reopen until 1925. In 1957, this was renamed Beaumaris South when a new Beaumaris office opened in the current location. In 1954, Cromer Post Office opened to the north of the suburb.The 'Great Southern' hotel was built in 1889 as a seaside resort, then in the 1920s, was renamed the Beaumaris Hotel. The original structure survived in the Beaumaris bushfires of 1944, only to be extensively rebuilt and extended in 1950 as 'The Beaumaris'. In 2014, the hotel was converted into 58 apartments. ## Beaumaris Tram Company ### Horse tramway At the height of the Victorian land boom in 1887, the Brighton railway line was extended to Sandringham. Thomas Bent, Chairman of Moorabbin Shire Council, keen to stimulate development south of Sandringham sought and received permission to build two tramways from Sandringham station along the coast road to Beaumaris, and from there to Cheltenham railway station, with a branch from Beaumaris continuing down the coast road to Mordialloc; more than 15 kilometres of tramline in total. The Shire Council contracted the Beaumaris Tramway Company (BTC) in February 1888 for a horse tramway with a 30-year operating lease. The Sandringham to Cheltenham route cost £20,000 and opened that Christmas. At the February 1891, half-yearly meeting of the Beaumaris Tramway Company Limited the chairman Mr. H. Byron Moore reported that a recent doubling of traffic was coupled to the increasing popularity of cheap rail return tickets to Sandringham issued by the Victorian Railways, nearly 17,000 of which had been issued. The Mordialloc branch line was never built, and after the land boom bubble burst in 1891, development beyond Black Rock ceased for several decades. Holiday traffic kept the business afloat until in 1912 the Beaumaris to Cheltenham section closed, and in 1914, the BTC ceased operation. There are no remains of the line to be found, but it is remembered by the name of the suburban street that it once used; Tramway Parade, Beaumaris. ### Electric trams Development from the first decade of the twentieth century of the area between Sandringham and Black Rock prompted formation of a public association to lobby for extension of the Sandringham railway that gained Parliamentary support in 1910, though it was vetoed over the high cost of land resumptions. In both 1913 and 1914, proposals were put forward for an electric tramway from Sandringham to Black Rock but using an inland route to preserve the visual amenity of the coastal reserves. In November 1914, an Act enabled this tramway to be owned and operated by Victorian Railways, on standard gauge to cater for any future connection to the main Melbourne system. The line, almost entirely double track, was opened on 10 March 1919 with a small three-road depot at Sandringham railway station yard connecting with the down track in Bay Street. Six crossbench cars with six trailers operated on the tramway, with Elwood Depot maintaining track and rolling stock, joined in 1921 by four new bogie tramcars.Beaumaris residents' lobbying for an extension of the Black Rock service was considered by the Parliamentary Standing Committee in 1916 and again in 1919, but it was not until 1925 that an agreement was struck between VR and Sandringham City Council for the latter to provide a £2,000 annual operating subsidy to the proposed extension for a period of five years. As a result, construction of the Beaumaris extension commenced, and the single-track line was opened on 1 September 1926. The line ran from the end of Bluff Road in Black Rock, along Ebden Avenue, Fourth Street, Haydens Road, Reserve Road, Holding Street, and to the end of Martin Street almost up to the intersection of Tramway Parade, where a switch allowed the tram to make the reverse trip. As the anticipated residential development did not occur, the 'Bush Tramway', as it came to be known, ran at a heavy loss despite the £2,000 operating subsidy, and exactly five years after opening, the Beaumaris extension closed on 31 August 1931. Until the 1960s when roads were surfaced, traces of the asphalt and timber foundations of the tramway remained in the centre of Holding Street. ## Sea baths Sea baths were constructed in Beaumaris and used for more than thirty years from 1902 to 1934. In the 1890s, there were proposals to build fenced and netted baths with changing facilities in the sea at Beaumaris, like those at Sandringham and Brighton Beach, and others at Mentone and Mordialloc which were operated by the Shire of Moorabbin. Support for the idea came in 1896 from the proprietor of the Beaumaris Hotel Mrs. Finlay, who offered £20 per year for use of the baths by her boarders free of charge, and John Keys, the Shire Secretary and Engineer envisaged additional income to the council of £15 from its lease. By August that year, Cr. Smith reported that residents would raise a subscription and requested that plans be drawn up and tenders called. An alternative proposal was to use the hulk Hilaria floated off-shore to house the baths. That caused some dispute but came to nothing, delaying progress until 1902 when tenders were finally called for a conventional bath. Charles Keefer was ultimately successful in his bid for £105 to build, with additional rooms, the structure planned for a site beneath the cliffs east of Beaumaris Hotel, and it was he who was accepted to lease the baths at a rent of £15. Charges were £1 per annum per person, or a monthly ticket of five shillings, while a single bath cost three pence. Keefer managed both the Beaumaris Baths and a boat hire facility operated from a jetty he constructed nearby until, on 30 November 1934, a storm destroyed the baths, which were never rebuilt. The same storm's destruction of bathing boxes appears in paintings by Beaumaris artist Clarice Beckett. ## Factory village In 1939, Dunlop Rubber Company purchased 180 hectares of land in Beaumaris, intending to build a large factory and model village in an area bounded by Balcombe Rd., Beach Rd., Gibbs St. and Cromer Rd. Plans were shelved a month later with the outbreak of World War II. ## 1944 bushfires In the midst of WW2 and a severe drought, came disastrous bushfires on 14 January 1944, which killed 51 people across Victoria. The maximum temperature in Melbourne that day was 39.5 °C with gusty hot northerly winds driving two fire fronts across the heavily wooded suburb. The number of homes destroyed in sparsely populated Beaumaris was reported at between 63 and 100, leaving 'a square mile' burnt out, and 200 homeless. Hundreds of volunteers, including many from the city, with fire brigades from neighbouring suburbs and soldiers who were trucked in, could not control the flames. Householders and holidaymakers cut fire-breaks, but fire leapt every gap, leaving 7 caravans and 5 cars gutted in the caravan park. Scores of people sheltered in the sea for hours from fierce flames in the cliff-top ti-tree, with many suffering exposure as a result and some with severe burns also contracting pneumonia.Although everyone who had lost their homes had been provided with temporary accommodation by the Red Cross and Salvation Army, many in rooms, lounges and corridors of the Beaumaris Hotel that was one of the few buildings left standing, more permanent accommodation was difficult to provide. Damage estimated by the office of the Town Clerk at Sandringham at £50,000 (not including clothing, furniture and other personal effects lost) was done to buildings. The Premier Albert Dunstan convened a special meeting of Cabinet to consider relief measures and, with Sandringham Lord Mayor Councillor Nettlefold, inaugurated a State-wide appeal. ## Road surfacing, 1960s In 1949, architect Robin Boyd in a regular column in Melbourne's The Age noted that: "Beaumaris has been described as the Cinderella suburb. It is young, beautiful and neglected, by its parent council. Its streets are narrow tracks twisting through thick scrub...A car or two bogs every day somewhere in this most attractive of all Melbourne's new suburbs. The appearance of the original 'tracks' were recorded in an album by W.L. Murrell, photographer and Hon. Librarian of the Beaumaris and District Historical Trust. Most of the "ti-tree tracks" that roughly followed the street grid of Beaumaris remained unmade until the City of Sandringham realigned and surfaced them in asphalt between concrete kerbs in a campaign during 1961–67. The tree-clearing required was opposed by many residents, but their protests were successful only in Point Avenue, which remained an unmade private road. # Weather # Things to do