Introduction to Building Boonah in Minecraft
I often have a hard time looking at a 2D map and trying to visualise the lay of the land and how a place looks. I also enjoy playing Minecraft (my son introduced me to the game) so I thought I would look at some of the history of Boonah and attempt to build the early development at the same time. If all goes well I hope to make a short video of the Minecraft world and provide a download file. It may not be accurate or to scale but hopefully will provide a sense of what early Boonah may have been like ( fingers crossed). So let's get started....
The land on which Boonah township developed was at the southern end of the Dugandan Station. The land was leased from the Crown by the brothers Macquarie and Campbell Macdonald. The "Land Act of 1868" gave provision for closer settlement and meant that half of a station's land could be reclaimed and subdivided. With increasing numbers of immigrants arriving (Immigration Act of 1869) more land was surveyed and made available for selection. James Johnson has the distinguished honour of being the first settler to obtain land on the site where Boonah would eventually be established. As can be seen in the Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser clipping to the right, James selected 325 acres at Dugandan and his selection was accepted. This was published on the 5th April 1870 in the monthly Land Selections report.
This acquisition of land then prompted the lessees of Dugandan Station (C. McDonald and Jessie McDonald) to start applying for land as a means to keep control of the better parts of the station land. This can be seen in the Land Selection newspaper article below from 7th May 1870 (only a month later). They managed to secure almost 3500 acres of their Station at that particular Land Court session. The estimated total area of Dugandan Station at the time was 18,000 acres (1). Over time they gradually secured more land.
The Land Selection Court was conducted by Mr R.J. Smith, Crown Lands Commissioner for West Moreton and held monthly at his offices in the Ipswich Court House. The person wanting to select land had to be in attendance and if more than one person applied for a particular piece of land a ballot was taken to decide who would acquire the land.
(1) Pfeffer, C.K, The Fassifern Story: A History of Boonah Shire and Surroundings to 1989 (Boonah, Qld: Boonah Shire Council, 1991), p 20.
The Early Farm
Once the land was selected, the men would make their way to the land to start clearing it. Often they had to walk for two full days just to get there as not everyone had a horse and cart. The first proper house in these early times was a small building with slab walls and shingles or maybe even bark for the roof. Below is a photo of the Zerner family standing in front of their house on their farm at Templin. Notice the farm animals are also in the picture. You should consider yourself extremely privileged if you have an early photo of your family similar to this. So precious.
The image below represents an early settler farm built in Minecraft. I'm not sure which family lives here but it is a small one roomed house with slab walls and a shingle roof. Inside, a small cramped bedroom is separated from the main area by a curtain. There is a small fenced garden and the family has started to clear more land to expand their modest farm.
Next time I will be looking at the first store built on the land that was to become the main street of Boonah.