Jeff Flood and Paul Martin from Summerl Land Camels (back) with the Chauvel family - Sally Gall, Jan Gall, Sally Ridgway and Ric Chauvel-Carlsson, at the Living History Day.
Jeff Flood and Paul Martin from Summerl Land Camels (back) with the Chauvel family - Sally Gall, Jan Gall, Sally Ridgway and Ric Chauvel-Carlsson, at the Living History Day. Contributed

Living history day uncovers secrets of Harrisville farm

A MOVIE producer, a murder mystery, an eminent poet, a scandal about a bull being shot, a connection to the WWI Imperial Camel Corps and intrigue surrounding a heritage homestead were just some of the stories unearthed at a recent history day at Harrisville's Summer Land Camels.

The 'Living History Day' celebrated the local history of the camel farm, previously "Summerlands" from Indigenous history to the present day.

Summer Land Camels chief executive officer Jeff Flood said the history of the land was brought to life with stories from traditional indigenous owners and descendants of pioneers.

"We wanted to have a Living History Day so we can connect with and appreciate the stories of this place to help us as we move forward, to continue the story in a way that's respectful and grateful to those who came before us," Mr Flood said.

"This land and the farm have a fascinating history extending back millennia before the emergence of agricultural developments in the 1840s.

"We started our history day with a local indigenous leader, sharing about the significance of the area, local landmarks and the local stories of his people and this land.

"From the 1840s to 1865, the land was part of Normanby Run, leased by George Thorn, the Father of Ipswich and then purchased as freehold by Edwin and Sarah Sealy."

With the help of local historian, Sharon Racine, the Summer Land Camels team was able to access documents dating back as far as 1865 and also feature more than 110 Queensland Times articles that shed light on agricultural, social and family history.

"The first story in the Queensland Times (then the Ipswich Herald) mentions Summerlands dates back to September 7, 1882," Mr Flood said.

In the long history of Summerlands, some notable characters who resided at the property include eminent Australian poet John Blight, pioneer film maker Charles Chauvel and Major J Allen Chauvel of the Australian Light Horse Brigade.

"Ric Chauvel Carlsson shared that for his grandfather Charles Chauvel, one of Australia's first film makers, growing up at Summerlands was a source of inspiration for his career and movies," Mr Flood said.



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