150 YEARS: The first Springsure State School building in 1870.
150 YEARS: The first Springsure State School building in 1870.

CQ school celebrates 150 years

LIFE and education might have changed significantly since the late 19th century, but one institution has remained a focal point for raising young Central Queenslanders.

The Springsure State School opened on March 14, 1870 with 98 students. Its first principal was John Nicholson.

Now there are 205 students and they, with co-principal Maria Hoare and staff, have 150 years to look back on.

Staff and pupils in the 1890s.
Staff and pupils in the 1890s.

Part of the institution for 31 years, Mrs Hoare said Springsure residents brought the school into being and had considered it a town cornerstone ever since.

“The initial relationship was quite strong because it was the parents who requested the school be built,” she said.

“The school is very much a part of this community. We have a really strong culture and the children are very respectful of that.”

The original infrastructure cost 477 pounds, according to Mrs Hoare, which is roughly $75,000 today, and there have been several architectural additions in the past century.

A fountain was erected on the school grounds in 1919 to honour the scholars who enlisted in the First World War, a preschool was raised on the site of principal Nicholson’s residence and a secondary school building was added to the furniture in 1964.

The World War I memorial fountain, then and now.
The World War I memorial fountain, then and now.

Early on, some classes were taught outside of traditional classrooms. Boys learned manual arts on a train, as girls practised home economics – cooking and sewing.

“The thing that’s been constant since the 60s has been the school bus runs,” Mrs Hoare said.

“Approximately one-third of our students now travel on school buses from properties in the district.

“The biggest change we’ve had is to the curriculum. Students are certainly more tech-savvy and we need to cater for that.

“We communicate with parents electronically, there have been some changes in the uniform over the years and we use whiteboards instead of blackboards.”

Those transformations notwithstanding, Mrs Hoare finds that some things tend to stay the same.

“I still find that students are much the same as they’ve always been,” she said.

“They’re keen to learn.”

The school will have a parade and cake-cutting ceremony on March 13.


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