Alonnah was once known as Mills Reef and along the roadside there is a memorial to the Mills family, one of the earliest families to settle in the area and whose family met with tragedy.
In 1863 William Mills leased 1000 acre opposite Satellite Island (Woody Island). The region had still not been named but was marked on survey charts as “Sunset Bay”. The stretch of water between Satellite Island and the South Bruny mainland is known today as Mills Reef.
Two graves are known to have existed on the foreshore near the reef, their location had been marked by a holly bush planted nearby. The earliest grave was that of Edward Mills who died at the age of 7 in 1861, the son of William. The second was that of his mother Charlotte Mills, a widow aged 80, who died in 1865.
A road trust had been formed in 1870 whose task it was to administer the provision of roads, tramways and jetties using money raised from rates on private property and Crown Leases. One of its first members was William Mills. Mills was the only representative who lived on the island.
When the main road was being re-aligned in 1950 it cut through the property where the graves of Edward & Charlotte Mills were located. The Bruny Council decided that a suitable memorial should be erected in memory of the Mills family. This was unveiled at a ceremony dedicated by Archdeacon Barrett at Alonnah on Sunday 28th January 1951.
It is somewhat ironic that the last remaining public piece of land, once owned by William Mills the only resident representative of a body that was later to become the local council, should now be considered for sale by the current council.
In a time of increasing visitor/tourism numbers to Bruny this unique parcel of public land with historical significance provides an opportunity for increased amenity to both local residents and visitors to the island.
It is of prime importance for future generations that this piece of land remains in public hands.