Michael Henry Geoffrey Becher

Michael Henry Geoffrey Becher & Florence "Pat" Jeffrey

Michael Henry Geoffrey Becher was born on 7th May 1905 at "Myrniong", Redan St, Melbourne, Victoria. He was the second child of  six, and the eldest son.

Michael Becher in 1906 with his sister Blanche and their mother Mabel
His early years were spent on various properties that his father managed, with North Bungaree being a favourite. He was a good horseman, even accompanying his grandchildren to pony camp in his seventies. He went to school at Hale, Perth, and here he formed friendships that were to last a lifetime.

Michael Becher in his Hale Uniform [Photo from George McKie]
 He was a champion sportsman, playing Hockey and rowing for his school. He continued to play Hockey with the "Old Haleians" after he left school. He was featured in the Sunday Times Perth on the 13th July 1924 when he won the handicap Scull by 12 seconds, beating the State champion G. Rogers.In 1928 he joined the Cottesloe Surf Club, and served at many levels, including State President. He even began a surf club at the Solomon Islands during the war! He was awarded the medal of the order of Australia in 1982 for his tireless contribution to Surf Life Saving.
Michael Henry Geoffrey Becher                            Florence "Pat" Jeffrey

He was married on the 5th October 1929 at St Mary's, West Perth to Florence Jeffrey [Pat], born 4th January 1903 at Kings St, Coolgardie,  the only child of Ethel Johns and Thomas Jeffrey. My favourite photographs of them were taken at Rottnest with friends, especially those with seaweed costumes!

Florence (second from end) at Rottnest

Mick Becher, centre with friends at Rottnest Island

They lived at 5 Avonmore Terrace at Mosman Park, a house I remember well from my childhood. They had three daughters in 1935, 1937 & 1939. As a young man he had joined the Australian Military Forces in the Signals Corp and volunteered for active duty when war broke out. He served in Cape York and the Solomon Islands and gained the rank of Major. He was something of a stranger to his young children when he returned home.

5 Avonmore Terrace, Mosman Park

Major Michael Henry Geoffrey Becher

Major MHG Becher's WWII Medals

After the war he worked as an insurance assessor for Benny S. Cohen & sons, and then for Edward Lumley and sons. He was also President of the Cottesloe P & C, on the Vestry for St Lukes Mosman Park and an alderman for the South Ward. He was initiated to Freemasonry in 1946 in the Cottesloe-Claremont Chapter. As a young girl I always wanted to ask him about stonemason secrets, but never quite dared!

On 3rd June 1953 Michael Henry Geoffrey BECHER was awarded a Coronation Medal.

He and his wife attended a Garden Party to meet the Queen on the 29th of March 1954 at Government House. Their daughters remember how excited their mother was!

His wife, Pat died in 1968, mourned by all who knew her. He lived alone at 5 Avonmore Terrace on his own, until moving into the Sundowner Centre for the last year of his life. He loved to play bowls with the Dalkeith Bowling club and go to Rottnest Island for fishing holidays.

He was awarded The Order of Australia Medal.

MHG Becher's Order of Australia medal

I believe he was a stern parent, but as a granddaughter that is not how I remember him. As a little girl, I spent many happy days staying at their house with my beloved grandmother. I remember picking and eating sunwarm gooseberries in the garden, and being lifted up so I could see the sea. I  remember picking corn from plants towering over my head, and having a  feast with my family afterwards. I was first shown the family crest and told about the Becher family at 5 Avonmore terrace, and I used to love looking through the button tin or all the little ornaments that had come from my Great Great Aunt Alice Johns. Cooing of turtle doves, sweetpea and the smell of cypress in the sun still reminds me of the garden.

Later, Grandpop used to visit us in NSW for the May school holiday, which was spent by the beach or out at Hill End or Braidwood. He was proud of me when I continued the Becher tradition of horse riding and bought myself a pony. When I was to marry he bought me my first lounge after being horrified at the bean bags we were using as chairs! He celebrated his 80th birthday with us, and also the last Christmas of his life. He died on the 29th May, 1986.

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