STANDING TALL: Beau Broome at the former Deebing Creek mission site.
STANDING TALL: Beau Broome at the former Deebing Creek mission site. Cordell Richardson

Fight against land development broadcast across Australia

TERRY Royan delved further than he thought possible to reveal the story of the fight to preserve land held sacred by Ipswich's Aboriginal community.

He spent more than a year filming his debut documentary on the former Deebing Creek mission site but his focus changed from compiling information on its history to covering the ensuing protests over its development.

In January, Frasers Property announced work would begin on a 925-home estate on land that included the site of the former Aboriginal mission and borders the Deebing Creek cemetery.

This prompted protesters to set up camp and occupy part of the site.

Frasers said last month a cultural survey to determine where Aboriginal burials are located would be undertaken before progress on the project begins.

The 52-year-old shot 60 hours of footage, which was edited to 16 minutes, and the documentary will air on NITV in the near future.

Mr Royan said he camped out overnight and spent days at a time at the site, speaking to protesters, Elders and their families to forge strong connections over the camp fire.

He said, with his initial focus on the site's history, he had about 80 per cent of documentary filmed when news broke of the development starting up, which shifted the documentary's focus.

"I wanted to put the word out to educate not just the local community but the wider community on the significance of what that area means to the local Indigenous people," he said.

"A lot of people don't know that the mission exists."

Mr Royan said he "crossed the usual boundary" of covering the story.He has spent 20 years filming news and producing corporate videos.

"This really touched my heart, I couldn't walk away," he said.

"I certainly took my hat off and got into another role. I'd never done that before.

"I wasn't just coming in for one week and going away, I got to experience the stories."

One of the highlights during filming was finding an axe head, which was predicted to be between 100-200 years old by an archaeologist.

"My interest started as my own heritage is Indigenous," he said.

"To find something of such significance was pretty overwhelming."

The fight to stop the development captured national attention before, particularly in March when protesters clashed with police.

Mr Royan was working on another job in Brisbane that day and began receiving lots of text messages alerting him to what was happening.

"I was sitting there and I said 'I've just got to go'," he said.

"It was obviously a very important part of the documentary. Eventually I had to go.

"When I pulled up it was still calm and there was not a lot of action.

"Something must have clicked and the ancestors must have been looking after me and waited for me to arrive.

"Then everything happened. I still got there when I needed to."