Stockman builds his future

YOU CAN take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.

While Cameron Summerville was working towards a First Class Honours degree in civil engineering in Toowoomba, he was paying his way as a stockman in the Outback Spectacular show on the Gold Coast.

“Dad had me on a horse as soon as I could walk,” said Mr Summerville, who is home this week before tomorrow’s graduation from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

Home is a 400-hectare beef property at Sextonville, north-west of Casino, where he spent his first 19 years.

“We still have heaps of horses here, including Zena, who I broke in before I went to USQ.”

A Casino High School graduate, Mr Summerville said he had always been interested in building and construction, ‘and in designing things’.

He said his high school record was not that of ‘a world-beater’.

“But once I got serious I did all right,” the modest bright spark said.

Mr Summerville survived the Outback Spectacular stints – undertaken during every break in a four-year university career – without any broken bones, ‘but when things don’t go right you can end up pretty sore’.

At the Spectacular he rode saddle bronc horses and performed stunts such as stirrup drags, where a rider is dragged along on his back by a rope attached to a horse.

He also helped to train animals.

Mr Summerville still likes to camp draft when he has the chance – but there’s not a lot of that in Townsville, where he is now employed, working on the $50 million North Shore Boulevard for Seymour Whyte Engineering.

He attended Doubtful Creek Public School and then went on to Casino High.

After leaving secondary school, he worked for building supply firm Sly Bros at Woodburn, and then in boat building on the Gold Coast.

Aged 19, Mr Summerville decided to do a degree in civil engineering at USQ, where he was a Resident Fellow.

His thesis – for which he will receive a high commendation – was on ‘The Structural Performance of Low Grade Timber Slabs’.

He graduates tomorrow and the whole family will be there to watch – his proud parents Neil and Merle, his four brothers, and his girlfriend Sarah Jane, a North Queensland girl.

“Civil construction is very rewarding. You work long hours, but it’s great to see the product of your work at the end of every day,” he said.



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