Is a well known town in the Tamar Valley. It s fame came about via some unfortunate circumstances.
It is located 39 klm north west of Launceston on the West Tamar Highway, the main road that runs up the western side of the Tamar River. Like so many towns in Australia, Beaconsfield went throught a series of names before reaching its present one. The town s site was originally known as Cabbage Tree Hill, and when goldmining began in the 1870 s it became known as Brandy Creek. The present name was given to the town in 1879 when it was proclaimed by Governor Weld. It was named to honour the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield.
The area around Beaconsfield was explored by Colonial William Paterson in 1804, and the first European settlers arrived in 1805. It is thought that gold was first discovered in the area in 1847 although it wasn t panned until 1869. My 1887 major companies were in the area and by 1881 Beaconsfield was known as the richest gold town in Tasmania. At its peak there were 53 companies working the goldfields and for a while in the 1870 s there were two iron smelting companies working in the area.
Robert Victor Jillett was a political identity in Beaconsfield, as the following story from the Beaconsfield Historical Society reveals.
The year 1908 had tow claims to fame. The Tasmania Co. made a profit - the last it was ever to make. And the growing civic consciousness of the area was recognised in a Municipal Council to replace the Town Board.
The municipality drew its whole West Tamar area from part of George Town and part of Westbury, with its northern boundary at Bass Strait, its southern at the outskirts of Launceston's elite suburb Trevallyn, its eastern at the Tamar, and its western at the crest of the Dazzler Range and its extensions north and south. First Council clerk was an appropriate choice - the former manager of the Bank of Tasmania in Beaconsfield. The First Warden also was appropriate - H.W. Walduck and of course, Adye Douglas had a seat too.
The new Council was not slow to recognise its responsibilities to primary producers and its cautious relaltionship with other tiers of gorvernment. At its' first meeting it agreed to appoint a fruit inspector (predictably this was moved by Cr J.A. Jensen), and dedided to notify the State Government that it would co-operate in solving the Beauty Point landslip problem, but would accept no responsibility in this matter. Predictably again Cr Jensen was not the mover of the second motion, since it was just below his original 1905 apple orchard that the worst movement was apparent, and still was in the 1970's. The Beaconsfield Council is nothing if not consistent, seventy years later, with a couple of dozen houses destroyed and the town of Beauty Point crippled, it was standing by exactly the same policy.
The Council was not at all overawed buy its responsibilities. At the second meeting on February 3, 1908 the meeting was adjourned for lunch at 1pm, to resume at 3 pm. At that hour, only the Council Clerk was present so he adjourned on his own authority until 3.30pm. It was 3.40 before a quorum could be mustered. Then 20 minutes later, a three minute recess was ordered - presumably to visit the toilet! It appears the councillors had a pleasant lunch.
Within weeks there was a scandal - Cr R.V.Jillett's position as a member was declared illegal, and he was debarred. The reason is lost in the mists of history. But the Council was not to be fussed about this - it declard the seat vacant, then appointed Mr R.V. Jillett to fill the vacancy! Legality and Dick Jillett's interests had been served. He reacted by successfully moving at the next meeting that the Warden's allowance be increased from £100 to £150 per year, and later capped it by becoming Warden himself!