E. J. BanfieldPrint Page Print this page

Cairn over grave and Memorial reserve commemorate author and naturalist E.J Banfield who lived on Dunk Island and died in 1923.

On 28 January 1971, an Order-in-Council gazetted a block of 47.9 perches (1212 sqm) of land surrounding Banfield's grave as a Reserve for Museum (Banfield Memorial) Purposes, with the University College of Townsville, later James Cook University, appointed as trustee. Mr Eric McIlree, Chairman and Managing Director of Avis Rent-a-Car had surrendered the land to the Crown, having had it surveyed in October 1967.

Banfield  camped with friends on Dunk Island near Tully and in September 1896 applied for a thirty-year lease of part of the island. Diagnosed as tubercular and in nervous collapse, he resigned from the North Queensland Newspaper Co. and, partly blind, with a palsied hand and a deaf wife, settled on Dunk Island from 28 September 1897. He grew maize, vegetables, coffee and fruit, and kept farm animals, but was unable to live on the proceeds. An apiary was destroyed by birds which he refused to kill because he considered the island a sanctuary and hoped it would become a national park. His income to maintain himself, his wife, and Irish servant and occasional Aboriginal helpers never exceeded £100 a year; the community lived on seafood, goat meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables, milk and eggs, with occasional provisions from the weekly steamer. An `erratic diary` of nature observations became the basis of articles and books which were studded with quotations from copious reading. He corresponded with naturalists throughout the world, and a species of rat discovered by him on the island was originally named `Uromys banfieldi`. His most famous work was "Confessions of a Beachcomber".


GPS Coordinates:Lat: -17.94
Long: 146.149722
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Source: ADB, QHR
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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