Friday, February 15, 2013

Brisbane Central State School, Spring Hill

It's hard to make sense of governments some times, at least by reading the news. One minute there are higher enrolments at inner-city schools because of the trend of folk living closer to the CBD and the next minute inner-city schools will be closed so that the land can be resold to drop some gold into the government's coffers.

Here is a photo of the exterior of the Brisbane Central State School - it was established in 1875. This is the St Paul's Terrace entrance, and below that is a picture of the heritage listed school buildings.
(Photo: © 2013 the foto fanatic)

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(Photo: DERM)

The school was designed by well-known Brisbane architect RG Suter and was originally known as the Leichhardt Street State School. It consisted of three separate schools, Boys', Girls' and Infants'.

The Brisbane Normal School in Edward St closed in 1927 and the former role of that school in training teachers was taken over by the Leichhardt St School. It then became known as the Leichhardt St Practising School. It officially became known as Brisbane Central State School in 1954.

As Spring Hill developed more as a commercial rather than residential area, enrolment at the school fluctuated.  The number of pupils has dropped to a couple of hundred from a peak of over one thousand in the 1930s. Hence the talk about selling the site, I suppose.

Let's hope that the heritage listing of the buildings and the well-being of the students is sufficient to prevent this from happening.

Click here for a Google Map.



  1. It would be a shame if it was 'lost'...there's so much history there. I taught at nearby Fortitude Valley SS in the early 2000s...the number of students there in my 3 years went between 33 and the 50s the numbers were over a 1000 students!

  2. This is a really great blog and I always enjoy getting these posts in Google Reader.

    Re the potential of the site being sold, I have a son there in grade 2/3. The school is steadily growing now as a result of the influx to the Brisbane CBD as you mention in your article.

    The school recently reclaimed the main hall from Queensland Health (the building to the right in your top photo) and this has been turned into a great modern hall with new computer labs and so on. The P&C are also trying to "reunify" the school with the old buildings between the main oval and Water St. This was originally part of the school but was turned into some sort of mental health hospital as enrollments declined in the latter half of the 1900s. This is an active project with the P&C at the moment apparently.

    The school has a number of families there that are at the lower end of the economic spectrum (e.g small unit rentals, no car, etc) and a very high number of migrants/LOTE type people. You feel like you're walking into the united nations some days. If the school were to be closed so the land could be sold, it would be catastrophic for these new Australians. If you live in a small unit in Spring Hill with no car and three kids - where the heck do you send your kids if the school closes?

    Let's hope it does not come to that.

    Great blog - keep it up. I really enjoy it.


    PS: There is a house on the market at the moment at 584 Boundary. Ring the agent and see if you can get in for photos. It was held by the Fell family for over a hundred years and is in a very poor state, but is pretty neat downstairs with original bath with hand pump from bore, etc. Might much like a haunted house but great photo opportunity.

  3. Maria: Yes, FVSS is another school that gets mentioned when the bean-counters come back from their retreats with this year's cost-cutting moves.

    David: You are right. Inner-city dwellers have every right to expect there to be a school in their suburb. Busing kids to another suburb would bring its own problems.

  4. Went to that school in the 60's and early 70's - great to hear from anyone else who did

  5. I went to this school in the 70s the best school I ever went to and I went to a few schools...

  6. Attended 1955 -1963. Wonderful experience. All my school photos have been misplaced through the years, wondering if anyone has any?
    Dianne Hogarth


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