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Heritage and culture in Somerset

Step back in time and immerse yourself in Somerset’s history. From adventure, exploration to love and war, Somerset’s fascinating past is unique.

From historic buildings including the beautifully restored Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery, formerly the Nestlé Condensed Milk Factory packing shed, the unique 1942 Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield and the significant heritage of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail stretching throughout Somerset, you are guaranteed to discover something interesting from the past.

INDIGENOUS CULTURE AND EARLY SETTLEMENT

Somerset is home to the Aboriginal tribes of Jagera, Yuppera, Ugarapul, Yuggera and Jinibara people.

After the initial discovery of the Brisbane Valley made by Matthew Flinders in 1799 and John Oxley in 1823, there were many more explorers to follow, the most extensive discoveries being made by Alan Cunningham in 1829. The first settlers to the region in 1841 were the McConnels at Cressbrook, now known as Toogoolawah, Balfours at Colinton and the Norths at Fairney View. Somerset soon flourished with the success of dairy farms, cattle farms and timber mills.

KILCOY YOWIE

Yowies are mysterious creatures believed by many to inhabit the rugged mountain ranges surrounding Kilcoy. Many residents have claimed to have seen a Yowie, although no conclusive evidence supports these sightings.

The most famous sighting was in 1979 when two teenagers claimed they saw a Yowie at Sandy Creek, four kilometres north of Kilcoy. They described the creature as being two to three metres tall, covered in chocolate coloured hair.

Make the most of your Kilcoy Yowie experience and take a photo with the Yowie statue at Yowie Park, Kilcoy.

While in Kilcoy make sure you visit the Kilcoy Yowie Country Markets held on the second and last Saturday of every month or enjoy a Yowie coffee at Yowie Park.

RED DEER

When travelling through the region it isn’t uncommon to see Red Deer grazing among the rolling hills of Somerset.

In 1873 Queen Victoria sent a gift of Red Deer to Queensland in celebration of the state being named in her honour. Two stags, Norman and Bolingbroke, and four hinds, Atlas, Alma, Ada and Martha arrived from the Windsor Castle gardens aboard the Great Queensland.

On 19 September 1973 the deer were released at the McConnel family property, Cressbrook. Releases of Red Deer continued on Cressbrook until 1878. In honour of this significant event, a bronze Red Deer sculpture named Norman has been installed at the Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery. The life-sized stag sculpture was hand crafted by world renowned artist, the late Bodo Muche.

For more information, visit experiencesomerset.com.au