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Fernvale is a small town in South East Queensland, Australia. Approximately 60km west of Brisbane, it lies on the Brisbane River, at the southern end of the region of Somerset. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics at the 2011 Australian Census Fernvale had an estimated population of 2,367. It is a rapidly developing rural township located within the urban footprint of the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009–2031. The town acts as a centre for the adjacent areas of Fairney View, Vernor and Wivenhoe Pocket.HistoryAboriginalFernvale falls within the area formerly occupied by the Indigenous Jagera people.Just upstream from Fernvale is a significant archaeological site known as Platypus Rockshelter, a double chambered weathered cavity in conglomerate cliff, now largely inundated by Wivenhoe Dam. The site was excavated as a salvage operation in the late 1970s. Excavation recovered thousands of stone artifacts, associated with large amounts of shellfish (predominantly freshwater mussel), mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish bones.European settlementFollowing the British Government’s establishment of a penal settlement where the city of Brisbane now stands, an embargo was placed on the occupation of land within fifty miles of the ‘closed’ penal establishment. Several officers of the colony made journeys of exploration up the Brisbane River, passing through the area which would become Fernvale. After Alan Cunningham’s discovery in 1828 of Cunninghams Gap a wave of squatters travelled from Sydney via the inland areas of New England and the Darling Downs, bringing sheep to settle on the rich pastures of the Brisbane Valley, taking up runs of tens of thousands of acres.
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