PROUD HERITAGE: Ron Smith and John Faulkner at the Harrisville 150th-year celebrations on Saturday.
PROUD HERITAGE: Ron Smith and John Faulkner at the Harrisville 150th-year celebrations on Saturday. Sarah Harvey

Queensland Governor visits Harrisville to mark milestone

QUEENSLAND Governor Penelope Wensley graced the humble town of Harrisville as it celebrated its 150-year heritage at the weekend.

Thousands turned out to mark the major milestone of the township where the rest of Queensland was originally measured from by surveyor Robert Dixon in 1839.

Harrisville's creation was ignited by the American Civil War when cotton supplies were severely curtailed and mills in Britain were running thin.

A call was put out to the British Commonwealth to fill the shortfall.

The Harris brothers, John and George, merchants in South Brisbane were asked to start a cotton gin in the area and the town came into being in 1863.

"The Harris' established a focal point around which the town of Harrisville grew and grew, acquiring over time a police station, court house, churches, a bank, three hotels, a hospital, a railway line, a school and a school of arts that has been put to every conceivable community use and playing a role in the careers of notable individuals like internationally famous film maker Charles Chauvel," she said.

Former president of the Harrisville Historical Society Mick Rashford said while the formation of the town was significant, the Harrisville region had already played a major part in Queensland's early development.

"Allan Cunningham had come through here in 1828 trying to find the elusive path from Moreton Bay settlement to the Darling Downs," he said.

"Then in 1839 surveyor Robert Dixon created the first three-mile survey line for Queensland on the Harrisville floodplain."

Wright MP Scott Buchholz acknowledged the contribution Harrisville's pioneering families made to the region.

"The growing conditions here were some of the best conditions for cotton in the world and as a result we now provide some of the best fruit and vegetables out of the Fassifern Valley," he said.

The celebration flowed on to the main street of Harrisville with a parade featuring vintage cars and entertainment throughout the day before culminating in a gala ball in the evening.

The story of Harrisville has been told in a book produced by the Harrisville Historical Society titled Harrisville and District: 150 years.



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