SLICE OF HIS­TORY MARKED

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE -

AF­TER an eight month jour­ney by boat, six red deer from the gar­dens of Wind­sor Cas­tle set foot on Som­er­set soil for the first time in Septem­ber of 1873.

The two stags and four hind were a gift to the state of Queens­land from Queen Vic­to­ria and set­tled on Cress­brook Sta­tion, owned by the Mc­connel fam­ily.

A spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion was held on Satur­day at the Som­er­set Re­gional Art Gallery - The Con­densery in Too­goolawah to recog­nise the 144th an­niver­sary of the deer be­ing re­leased.

Gover­nor of Queens­land Paul de Jer­sey AC, Som­er­set Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Graeme Lehmann and Christo­pher Mc­connel un­veiled a plaque com­mem­o­rat­ing the event, in front of the life size bronze statue of ‘Nor­man’ the deer, which was crafted by Som­er­set artist Bodo Muche.

Mr Mc­connel spoke about his fam­ily’s rich his­tory in the area to the more than 100 peo­ple in at­ten­dance.

“To­day, I am sure, would give an over­whelm­ing sense of sat­is­fac­tion and pride to the pre­vi­ous four gen­er­a­tions of my fam­ily’s pre­de­ces­sors, to see the lo­cal com­mu­nity and in­deed the fam­ily cel­e­brat­ing the mile­stone,” Mr Mc­connel said.

Cress­brook Sta­tion was es­tab­lished in 1841 and the re­lease of the deer onto the prop­erty oc­curred 31 years prior to the es­tab­lish­ment of the town­ship of Too­goolawah.

Nor­man, Bol­ing­broke, At­las, Alma, Ada and Martha ar­rived at the sta­tion from Ip­swich in closed timber crates af­ter much an­tic­i­pa­tion.

Mary Banks, Mr Mc­connel’s great-great-aunt, wrote at the time: “every man, woman and child on the place was present... all were dressed in their Sun­day best”.

To com­ple­ment the event, an ex­hibit show­cas­ing Aus­tralian his­tory through the eyes of two distin­guished lo­cal artists, Mr Muche and Su­san Mc­connel, is on dis­play at the gallery un­til Oc­to­ber 8.

PHO­TOS: CONTRIBUTED

HIS­TORIC: Christo­pher Mc­connel, Gover­nor of Queens­land Paul de Jer­sey AC and Som­er­set Graeme Lehmann un­veil the plaque.

PHO­TOS: LACH­LAN MCIVOR

Gover­nor of Queens­land Paul de Jer­sey signs the guest book.

Lester and Mar­garet Un­der­down and Jenni and Peter Birch of Moree stand in front of Nor­man.

A big crowd gath­ered at the Som­er­set Re­gional Art Gallery The Con­densery for the event.

Le­fric North of Wiven­hoe and Veron­ica and Alan Grieve of Too­goolawah.

Linda Begg, Vivien Burns, Caro Em­slie and Jeanette Hanson of Bris­bane caught up at the event.

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