By Casey O'Connor
Last week father time called stumps on an innings well played by Peter Bonner. The Southern Downs, Tenterfield and Liston communities have lost a true gentleman and champion of the district in so many ways.
Peter who had been bravely battling illness for many months was laid to rest in the Bonner family cemetery on his beloved Aloomba Top property.
His sons, grandsons and family paid tribute to the contribution and influence he had on their lives and the lives of so many others.
Peter was the third of the four Bonner boys and along with brothers Dick, Bill and Chris grew up at Aloomba. Like so many of his generation he was homeschooled by his Mother in his early years before finishing his primary education at Stanthorpe State School. Peter was a proud old boy of TSS (The Southport School) where he completed his high school education. From an early age Peter had a love of cattle, dogs and horses and a passion for sport.
People would know Peter best as a cricket tragic and an excellent player but he was also an accomplished tennis player and his son Tim recalled his pride at being able to show off his father’s accomplishments on the honour boards at TSS when he was a student there.
Peter had a long involvement with the Rural Fire Brigade and served on the Rural Fire Board as Fire Captain. In recognition of his service members from Liston and beyond formed a guard of honour as he made his final journey across the paddocks on the back of his trusty Land cruiser
Peter Bonner’s name will remain synonymous with the Stanthorpe Agricultural Society after the Exhibition Centre was renamed The Peter Bonner Exhibition Centre during the 2020 Stanthorpe Show in February, just a few weeks before Peter celebrated his 80th birthday.
It was recognition of his lifetime involvement with the Stanthorpe Show. Peter always said he could barely remember a time when he was not involved in the Stanthorpe Show. His wife Tere also shared an early recollection of waiting patiently (hard to believe) for a show society meeting to wrap up before she and Peter could go to their first dance together marking the start of his best partnership.
Undoubtedly Peter Bonner’s greatest legacy to the Stanthorpe Show and its future was his vision and desire to have an all-purpose Exhibition Centre on the show grounds.
That vision became a reality when despite obstacles and road blocks the building was officially opened in November 1997 and open for business for the for the 1998 Stanthorpe Show.
Over many decades of involvement Peter served as President of the Stanthorpe Agricultural Society on two occasions. Some of his other roles included cattle exhibitor, steward, prime cattle judge, and let’s not forget his Hot Chip cooking prowess. No surprise that Peter was Life Member of the Show Society.
His involvement in the Agricultural Show sphere extended beyond Stanthorpe holding various positions on the Darling Downs and Queensland Chambers of Agricultural Societies (QGAS). He also served as the Qld delegate on the Federal Council of Agricultural Societies
One of Peter’s proudest achievements outside of his beloved family was to be named the Tenterfield Citizen of the Year, in the 2020 Australia Day Awards. A worthy recognition of this humble gentleman’s contribution to his community.
Personally, I will always fondly remember my cricketing days with Peter both playing against and with him. Like many other bowlers I felt the wrath of his bat. He was a destructive top order batsman and many bowlers had their averages wounded by his quick scoring.
He was selected to play for Queensland Country on two occasions and had the honour of playing against the English and West Indian touring sides. He opened the batting against the West Indies, facing up against the world’s fastest bowler, Charlie Griffiths and probably didn’t see the red ball crash into his stumps. However, he did see the ball well enough against England to score a few runs including a six off English legend, Geoff Boycott.
During my era as a player Peter was a regular in Slade Shield Rep squads and would regularly finish a game of club cricket on a Saturday afternoon and make the road trip to Tara, Dalby Chinchilla, Toowoomba or Ipswich to play on Sunday. Some of those longer road trips would of course required an overnight stay along the way and there are many memories of good times that could be shared.
He and wife Tere met when she was 14 and she was the love of his life. They were married in 1965 and shared over 55 years of marriage.
Peter was a successful and very well respected cattleman and has passed his passion for the industry on to his sons and grandsons.
Peter was most proud of the achievements of his family and relished watching sons Tim and Martin and then his grandsons grow into fine young men. Grandsons, Adam, PJ (Peter) and Thomas all spoke of the positive influence their grandfather had on their lives and he would have been proud of their efforts on Friday.
His granddaughters, Layla and Dawn lit up his life. As one of four boys and no girls in his own family he was immediately smitten by the girls when they arrived.
As time was called on an innings well played by Peter Rowland Bonner his family reflected that although they were not doubt previously fine, the pearly gates will now swing properly. The strains on either side will be tight, Peter Bonner tight.
Peter has no doubt all ready rounded up a herd of Braford cross cows with a more than handy Simmental or Angus bull and will be reunited with his great furry mates Tilly, Tallis and Marsh.
Unfortunately due to COVID-19 restrictions only a small number of family and friends were able to attend Friday’s service. The Bonner family plan to hold a memorial service for Peter once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in the Peter Bonner Exhibition Centre.
Well played Peter – RIP.