The first white settlers arrived in the Coorparoo area around 1856. The suburb wasn't known as Coorparoo then, it was part of Bulimba. The first school was built some twenty years after that - it was, according to the school's web pages, a one-room building with hardwood floors and a shingle roof. The school opened in January 1876, and by the end of the year it had over 100 pupils. Among the early students was George Nicklin, the father of long-serving state premier Sir Frank Nicklin. George Nicklin probably had to walk from the family home Langlands (now part of Villanova College), but his parents later moved to Hatherton, just next door to the school. The following photograph shows the little school in 1916.
The name of the suburb is surrounded by some confusion. The school takes credit for the name Coorparoo, saying that it was bestowed on the school by the first headmaster. They say the suburb was named after the school. Others say that the name comes from an aboriginal word that could mean either "place of the mosquito" or the name they used for the area surrounding Norman Creek. If the latter, it could be onomatopoeic for the sound made by the doves that inhabited the place. Whatever, it is one of those delightful indigenous words that rolls off the tongue if you are a local, but completely baffles anyone else.
As the suburb grew, so did the school. During the depression era when public works were in full swing, the original timber school house was demolished to make way for a new brick school designed by Cecil J Virgo. A two-storey building was constructed, and it is shown from the rear (above) and from the front (below).
Of course, the school has continued to grow since then, with its peak year for enrolments being 1958 when it was flooded by baby-boomers, having a student population of around 1600.
Today's picture of the school is above. The area is now a solid middle-class suburb quite close to the city. This fabulous school building definitely gives the local environment some class.
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