Bonwick's Jeweller sign brings back memories

BONWICK’S Jeweller in Horsham might have sinister connotations for making headlines in 1962, when a prisoner awaiting trial for robbing the store was found hanged in a cell at Horsham Police Station.

But for many Horsham couples, the old store is associated with the start of long-lasting, happy marriages.

Since the Mail-Times ran a Man in the Corner item about the jeweller’s sign being discovered last week, people have rushed to share their memories.

Among them are Horsham residents Peter and Beryl Fraser.

Mr Fraser diligently kept the receipt for his wife’s engagement ring, purchased on April 17, 1968.

It reads, ‘One diamond ring, at a cost of 95 pounds’.

“He keeps telling me he only got two pounds a week as his wages, when he first started,” Mrs Fraser said.

“He worked as a fitter and turner with the Country Roads Board.”

The proposal was a simple but sweet surprise.

“People would laugh, but it was in May Park,” Mrs Fraser said.

“He picked me up from work and proposed to me in my lunch hour.”

They were married in December the following year; she was 21, he was a year older.

Horsham man Kelvyn Barnett read the Man in the Corner item at his nursing home, and sent daughter Jan Stenhouse to the Mail-Times office with his story.

“In 1954, he bought my mother Hilda’s engagement ring from the jewellery shop,” Mrs Stenhouse said.

“He went there after hours and after dark; Mr Bonwick came down and opened up the shop. Mum died in 2007, but I still have the ring, in its original box.”

Mr and Mrs Barnett were married in November, 1955.

Former Horsham Technical School teacher Phil Lienert remembered Mr Bonwick as a very friendly man.

“I used to buy stuff from him from the mid 1970s, up until he retired,” he said.

“In my opinion, he had the best display and stock of crystal outside Melbourne and Adelaide.”

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