Monday, March 20, 2017

Wynnum School of Arts

Have you ever wondered about the term "School of Arts"? If so, you are not alone. As a kid I thought the Bulimba School of Arts was a place where one went to study painting. You probably could do that in some of them, but their original purpose was to be the focal point of the community - as a meeting place, as a library, as a learning centre. Mechanics' Institutes provided a similar purpose, and we have previously looked at the South Brisbane Mechanics' Institute that was to become the South Brisbane Library.

Australia's first Mechanics' Institute was formed in Hobart in 1827, right around the time Moreton Bay penal settlement, the forerunner of Brisbane, was being established. It was not until 1851 that Brisbane saw its own School of Arts established in a building on the corner of Queen and Creek Streets, and it moved subsequently to the well-known building in Ann St.

As new districts and suburbs emerged, many built their own School of Arts for the same reasons. Today we are looking at one of them - the Wynnum School of Arts which was built on Bay Terrace in 1913. Here is a photograph made just after its completion, and it includes the workmen from the project.    
(Photo: SLQ 72379)

And I'm pleased to say that the building remains and still performs some of its original functions.
(Photo: BCC)

Click here for a Google Map.

tff 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Wynnum Post Office

This humble structure at Wynnnum South, photographed in 1912, was the area's post and telegraph office in the early 20th century. Its appearance suggests that it probably contained quarters for the postmaster in addition to its commercial role. I don't know whether it was purpose-built - it may well have been a house converted for that use.

(Photo: SLQ 77567)

A new post office was erected in Bay Terrace in 1923-24. This building looks a lot more business-like, doesn't it? The district's telephone exchange is also housed in the building, pictured below in 1925. The telephone exchange operated here until 1955, while post office business was wound up in 1995.
(Photo: SLQ 80383)

After Australia Post quit the premises in 1995, the building became available for commercial use. The current occupants are a dental clinic and medical suites.
(Photo: BCC)

Click here for a Google Map.

tff


Monday, March 6, 2017

Junction Park State School, Annerley

Today we are looking at a grand old school building at Annerley - Junction Park State School, pictured here in 2015.
(Photo: Heritage Branch Staff; EHP)

As mentioned previously in these pages, this was my first primary school. I was a pupil there for about five years in the mid-1950s. Yes, the middle of last century! I can't quite believe it myself!

My memories of the school are fairly minimal now, but the main recollection is that it was very imposing. I suppose that is only natural to a five year-old leaving the security of home for a six or seven hour day in an environment of strangers.

At the time I was there, there was an infants' school that catered for years 1 and 2, and the rest of the grades through to year 8 were housed in the main school. The infants' school had its own head, and in my years there that was a Miss Flannery. Memories of those first years include writing on slates with slate pencils that were sharpened by rubbing them on concrete; "tidy boxes" which held the items cleared from each student's desk at the end of the school day; reciting the alphabet (A like an apple on a twig, A says "a"); parades where we were lined up in order of descending height.

Graduating from the infants' school to the "big school" was a rite of passage that was greatly anticipated. The head of that school in my time there was Mr Irish, a huge man with a loud voice and a reputation for fearsome corporal punishment. I'll never forget the day that he addressed the morning parade and ordered anyone wearing denim pants to go straight to his office after parade. It appeared that I was the only one! "You're gonna get the cuts!" whispered the kid next to me, helpfully. I was nearly throwing-up by the time that I arrived at Mr Irish's office. But the reality didn't match the reputation. He was kind and considerate, but told me that I mustn't wear jeans to school. When I reported this at home my mother said "We'll see about that!" Next day she was up at the school telling Mr Irish that I would be wearing jeans to school, as the alternative would be for me to continue my education in my underwear. That was the end of the matter!

But that's enough of my history - let's look at the school's history.

The school originated as a provisional school with a dozen or so students in 1888 in a different site near Stones Corner. As the attendance increased it was necessary to have permanent facility. With the help of William Stephens MLA some land near Ipswich Rd was obtained in 1890 and a school building and a teacher's residence were erected shortly after. The school opened on 31 March 1891 in the expectation of attracting up to 280 pupils - 425 turned up! In 1892 the name of the school was changed from Thompson Estate State School to Junction Park State School. As befits one of Brisbane's oldest schools, there were some significant changes over the ensuing years. In 1910 it became the first state school to have its own swimming pool and in fact it opened a second larger pool in 1929, which meant that the earlier pool could be used to teach infants to swim. I had my first swimming lessons in that pool, not without some difficulties at times.

In 1936 a new brick school building was completed for a reported £28,000, designed by the State Public Works office and constructed under the Forgan Smith government's program to provide jobs during the depression. The classic design and masonry construction have ensured that the school has stood the test of time. Here's a photo from 1936, around the time of the opening of the school's new building.
(Photo: BCC-B120-81041)

During the post-war baby boom enrolments of around 1500 positioned Junction Park as the largest school in Brisbane, requiring the construction of new buildings and amenities.

Further extensive details of the school can be found on this page of the State Government's Heritage Register, and also on the school's own web pages.

It appears that being heritage-listed doesn't come without disadvantages however. Recent reports indicate that repairs to another school of this era have risen from stratospheric to other-worldly as a result of the heritage factor.

And in the midst of the current hot spell in Queensland, it was also claimed by the news bulletin that school pupils were treated badly by comparison to prisoners, because jails have air-conditioning while many schools do not.

Click here for a Google Map.

tff    
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