Jarvisfield, a rural locality, is seven km south-east of Ayr, in the direction of the mouth of the Burdekin River. It was named after the Jarvisfield pastoral run (1862), which by the early 1880s was nearly all cut up for farm selections. The Kalamia and Pioneer sugar mills (1883, 1884) were opened north and west, each about seven km from Ayr, ensuring ready intakes of cane from Jarvisfield farms.

The Pioneer mill was managed by John Drysdale, who in 1910 turned his attention to the Inkerman sugar estates south of Home Hill. He had also improved sugar production in the region by aquifer irrigation, and his influence was so great that he prevailed over Jarvisfield's advocacy of a third mill for their cane and the cane from Rita Island to the east. Drysdale's Inkerman mill opened in 1916.

Not content with the situation, Jarvisfield farmers joined with the Haughton Sugar Co Ltd and re-commissioned the Invicta mill works from Bundaberg, opening them in 1921 at Giru, between Ayr and Townsville, to process cane from their farms and from Rita Island.

Jarvisfield primary school in Rita Island Road opened in 1915. By the 1920s Jarvisfield's population approached 300 and in the Depression year of 1933 the census recorded 689, of whom 61% were male. The high figure probably arose from there being a camp for unemployed men on an unused site for a Jarvisfield sugar mill. The other census populations were of mixed descent, with only one-third of the school children being of British origin in the 1940s.

Jarvisfield's census populations have been:

census datepopulation


John D. Kerr, Black snow and liquid gold, Ayr, ;Burdekin Shire Council, 1994, ch 10


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