Unveiling of Beare Ave Historical Marker

27th July 2018, Beare Avenue Reserve, Netley, SA

Speech by Gil Daw (President KIPA)

This is a small park with a large history. The significance of today and this unveiling is that it is exactly 182 years since the first ship “The Duke of York” landed the first European settlers to commence the colonisation of South Australia.

On board the ship there was some competition as to whom would be the first to land, but while the passengers were at an early lunch, the sailors, with the Captain’s blessing, snuck off with the youngest on board, Elizabeth Beare, and placed her feet onto the sand. After she collected some shells to give to her parents, they scooped her up and returned her to the ship.

Soon after, the Captain lowered the boats and the first 2 people to land were the Colonial Manager of the South Australian Company, Samuel Stephens and the second-in-command Thomas Hudson Beare. So it could be said that the Beare family were the first settlers to land and commence the colonisation of South Australia.

Each year, the Kangaroo Island community and the Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association celebrate this day which we call “Settlement Day’ and right now there is a Settlement Day ceremony being held at the Reeves Point site and tonight the mainland people from Kangaroo Island and descendants will hold a dinner to celebrate the day.

I firstly want to congratulate the Mayor and the City of West Torrens for fully funding and erecting this historic interpretive sign. It will allow the community to better understand the early history of this area and indeed South Australia. I also want to thank the council staff for the help and assistance to move this from the proposal stage to where we are today with the unveiling of the sign.

Secondly, I want the thank our former Vice-President, Neil Miller, for his liaison with the Council, for his extensive research on Thomas Hudson Beare and for providing the wording on the sign. Neil has done an outstanding job for the Kangaroo Island Pioneers Association and for the Beare descendants.

Thirdly, an interpretive sign about a person or family that includes a picture adds so much more to the readers perception and understanding. I would like to thank our Patron and former President, Bruce Williams, for allowing the use of his outstanding painting of Thomas Hudson Beare.

As I was standing here, I could not help but think Thomas Hudson Beare would approve of this park because it contains a wonderful playground and with the 10 children by his first marriage and 9 children by his second marriage, he would appreciate its benefit to the present community.

Neil Miller is going to talk about Thomas Hudson Beare in a moment, but it is easy to forget how isolated and difficult it was for these early pioneers to open-up the land and make a living from it and Thomas had a wife and large family to support. Opening up this land was not easy for Thomas, and family tragedy was often close: take for example some extracts from Thomas’s 1848 farm journal.

  • January: 35,000 bricks spoilt.

  • February: All the family down with scarlet fever.

  • March: My two dear boys John George 1½ years and Thomas Henry 6 years gone forever in 10 days – this is the severest trial I ever endured.

  • May: My last years crop a total failure from the floods (from Brownhill Creek), all the fruit trees planted this season all killed.

I’m going to end here because Neil Miller is going to fill in a lot more details,

It’s now my great pleasure to introduce Bruce Williams to say a few words.

Thank you.

KIPA Presidents, past and present: Bruce Williams, Dene Cordes, Neville Cordes, Gil Daw. Photo Anne Daw

Speech by Neil Miller (Ex VP KIPA and Beare descendant) Good morning and a warm welcome to you all for attending this unveiling ceremony of the History Marker in honour of Thomas Hudson Beare.

My family can trace our ancestry back to Thomas Hudson Beare and his wife Lucy Anne Beare through their daughter Arabella Beare who married George Williams. Their grand-daughter Madeline Williams married Herbert Head, and they had a daughter named Doris Head who married my father John Miller.

The marriage of Madeline Williams to Herbert Head was one of the contributing factors towards the births of two of South Australia’s finest ever footballers. Madeline’s brother Boysie Williams had five sons who all played league football, and one of these boys who was named Fos Williams, became the legendary Port Adelaide player and premiership coach. Madeline and Herbert Head had four boys, and three of them played league football, but they also had a grand-son who is considered by most football experts to be arguably the most brilliant player our state has ever produced in Lindsay Hudson Head.

Now onto some very important facts about the man we are here to honour today:

THOMAS HUDSON BEARE.Thomas Hudson Beare was born on the 30 th December 1792 in Winchester, Hampshire, England, and passed away on the 6 th November 1861 at his farm in Myponga, South Australia at the age of 68. (A strange event happened in regard to Thomas’s headstone which was installed on his grave at the Myponga Cemetery. It was removed from his gravesite when the existing church building was extended over it, and his headstone now sits atop his second wife Lucy Bull’s gravesite in the North Road Cemetery at Collinswood).

Thomas was employed by the South Australian Company in London, as the Second-in-Command and Superintendent of Buildings and Labourers for the company’s pioneering trips to settle South Australia.

He sailed to our state aboard the company’s ship the “Duke of York”, along with his wife Lucy Anne and their four children, William, Lucy, Arabella and Elizabeth. The Duke of York was the first of the pioneer ships to arrive at Kangaroo Island on the 27th July 1836, and 2-1/2 year old Elizabeth Beare became the first of the settlers to set foot on South Australian soil when the Captain ordered that she be rowed ashore by crew members of the ship and placed on the sandy beach at what is now known as Reeves Point.

Upon the untimely death of his wife Lucy Anne on the 3rd September 1837 following a difficult childbirth, he left Kangaroo Island and moved with his now family of five to the mainland in 1838.

Using his land orders granted to him by the South Australian Company, he purchased from the Adelaide Land Company a farming property west of the city of Adelaide which he named “Netley” after Netley Abbey in Hampshire. The original farm consisted of 134 acres, but in later years he purchased an adjoining plot of 80 acres to the west and the Netley property then became a 214 acre farming property. The current Adelaide Airport adjacent to this site is situated upon a large section of the old Beare family farm.

(Sadly, Elizabeth Beare died on this property from injuries she sustained in a fire in 1846, she was only 12 years of age at the time.)

Thomas purchased many other properties as well as the one at Netley, namely a 2 acre site in O’Connell Street, North Adelaide, (the former site of Le Cornu’s Furniture store), and in 1839 he bought another property which was a farm in the outer northern areas and which eventually became known as Nailsworth. He also purchased 1 acre site in Pirie Street, just off of Pulteney Street in Adelaide and in 1840 he bought another property this one just off the Port Road at Beverley.

Thomas was also a partner in a maritime business which comprised of a ketch for cargo carrying, but he eventually lost all of these properties due mainly to bad management and poor investments, and he along with his second wife (also named Lucy) and their children, he bought a farming property at Myponga. This farm was about a kilometre south of the town of Myponga and the current road to Yankalilla runs through the middle of where this property was originally situated. Upon his death at this farm, one of his daughters made the statement that he had “Worked himself to death”.

Thomas must have been a very virile man, as he fathered 19 children during his two separate marriages. But the premature death rate of children in the early 1800’s was quite prevalent and 7 of Thomas’s children died at very young ages.

Thomas was a founding Councillor on the very first City of West Torrens Council which was originally inaugurated in 1853.

The Beare family lineage is a very old English one especially in the village of Twyford which is situated about 5 kilometres from Winchester in Hampshire, England, and the family name can readily be traced back to the reign of King Edward 2nd in 1284 A.D.

My wife Faye and I are the very proud great-grandparents of 3 year old Lucy Miller, who has become the 9th generation of our family to have lived in South Australia.

Thank you all for attending today and I would like to personally thank the Mayor, John Trainer and his Councillors for approving the creation and erection of this memorial marker.

I want to also congratulate the following employees of the City of West Torrens Council, namely Andrew King, Steve Watson and Kathleen Allan for their great work in seeing that this memorial project for Thomas Hudson Beare reached fruition.

Neil Miller, Gil Daw (President of KIPA), John Trainer (Mayor of City of West Torrens) and Bruce Williams (Patron of KIPA). Photo: Anne Daw