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The Camp Mountain land was purchased by the Marks family in 1877 and prior to that little, if any farming had been done on the property.
The flat area near Samford Creek was cleared for cultivation using a ‘forest devil’ (a man powered tree pulling winch) to pull over the Eucalypt trees.
An underground dairy was dug into the side of the hill near the Slab Hut, part of which remains.
An orchard was planted on the next ridge towards Samford but disappeared in the 1920s. The western boundary of the property is bordered by Samford Creek.
Pat Marks used the property as a country holiday house until 1982 when she moved to the property permanently until shortly before her death in 2002. During this time the property held a small herd of cattle and a few horses.
The current property is about a quarter of what her grandparents, Dr Charles Ferdinand and Elizabeth Gray Marks had originally owned in 1887 which then was part of a much larger holding of 457 acres.
The rest of the property that was sold contained a granite quarry which supplied stone for the foundations of the Brisbane City Hall in the 1920s.
Dr Marks passed away in 2002 and under the provision of her will, instructed the executors of her estate to identify a suitable beneficiary for this land who would use the property for “ecological purposes”.
The Barracks building started its life as part of a skating rink on the site of the present Brisbane City Hall before it was transported to the property as living quarters for the quarry workers. It was moved and adapted for use as the main residence in 1942.
‘The Barracks’ was originally established in 1942 as a safer alternative to living at the Marks's home on Wickham Terrace opposite the Central Railway station with a possible Japanese attack imminent in World War II.
The Slab Hut (also known as Selectors Hut/Mark's Hut/Pioneer Hut) is located on a gentle ridge in an open grassed paddock on the southern end of the property. It has significant historical value because of its age and is regarded as one of Pine River Shire's oldest buildings.
The Hut is a rare example of a 19th century selector's dwelling and illustrates an important phase of settlement that occurred throughout the Queensland colony, starting in the 1860s. At that time, Crown land began to be divided into allotments and made available for selection in line with a government policy to encourage the growth of small scale farming. The Hut was built by a selector during the early stages of this process in the Samford Valley.
The Hut is small scale and simple in design. Timber elements are set directly into the ground and the hut is mostly clad with hardwood timber slabs with the roof made from corrugated iron sheeting. Buildings of this type are uncommon in south-east Queensland as they are very susceptible to weathering.
Due to the historic nature of the hut, it was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register (PDF, 52KB) in December 2007. There are pegs on the property marking the Heritage Survey boundary of the Slab Hut installed by registered surveyors. The boundary covers the timber stockyards to the northwest of the hut and a hollow in the slope to the north of the yard which signifies an earlier storage area. The storage pit and stockyards are important evidence of farming activities associated with the changing uses of the hut, the property and land use in Samford since 1870.
No research activities are to be conducted in this area until further notice. Heritage Register boundary survey plan (PDF, 28KB) for the site is available for viewing.
QUT is committed to the preservation of the building due to its cultural and heritage significance and has engaged Ruth Woods and Peter Marquis-Kyle, two heritage architects, to assist in the conservation of the building.
Peter Marquis-Kyle was commissioned to prepare a comprehensive conservation report for the Slab Hut. Under the supervision of Peter, Chapman Builders undertook stabilisation and repair work. Investigation into further conservation work is underway.
At the moment, the Hut is in disrepair and must not be used.
You can download the Slab Hut Conservation Report (PDF, 1.2MB).
For historical background on the Slab Hut, Leith Barter a local historian with the Pine Rivers Shire Council in conjunction with the Samford District Historical Museum Society and the Marks family, has a report documenting its origins titled The History and Heritage significance of the Pioneer Hut (PDF, 1.8MB).
The top wooden part of this building was once the office for the granite quarry but the structure remained there for a long time after the quarry was disused. Its name derives from when it was raised up on stumps, and a joking reference was made to it as the ‘Royal Mews’.