Wooloowin State School: A Model School’s Journey of Resilience and Growth

Wooloowin State School
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Did you know that Wooloowin State School is the first primary school in Queensland to offer woodworking and domestic science classes to its students?

From its establishment in 1914, Wooloowin State School has gone through significant expansion, interesting developments, and numerous challenges (even a tragic fire incident) and come through it all with remarkable resilience.

Here are some things to know about Wooloowin State School:

A Model School Borne Out of ‘Educational Experimentation’

In the early 20th century, Wooloowin emerged as a rapidly expanding suburb due to its proximity to the railway station, which opened in 1889.

Local Resources

Recognising the need for quality education, the Wooloowin Progress Association and school building committee spearheaded the establishment of Wooloowin State School.

Wooloowin State School was one of the most expensive schools to be built by Queensland Public Works. Its establishment came at a time when Queensland was undergoing an “educational experimentation” and a reworking of the curriculum.

With its construction occurring in four stages between 1914 and 1934, the school resolved to be a model institution in terms of curriculum, staff, facilities, and progressive education.

First Primary School to Teach Woodwork and Domestic Science

Wooloowin State School
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

The first section of Wooloowin State School was completed in 1914, comprising two single-story brick wings with four large classrooms, spacious verandas, and modern furnishings. In subsequent years, additional classrooms were constructed, bringing the total count to six by 1918. 

Employing the finest teachers in the state, the school eventually introduced woodworking and domestic science classes. It was the first primary school in Queensland to teach these subjects to the students.

Rapid Growth in the Early 20th Century

Wooloowin, originally part of Lutwyche, flourished as a suburban community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The extension of the tramline in 1913-1914 played a crucial role in the area’s development. Wooloowin State School had to undergo more expansions, including a swimming pool, to fill the demand for education. These expansions in 1925 and 1934 reflected the school’s commitment to holistic education and catering to the growing population of the working-class suburb. 

Resilience in the Face of Adversity

In 2003, tragedy struck Wooloowin State School when an arson attack damaged several key buildings, including the office, pre-school, tuckshop, School’s Out program, and library.

Despite the setback, the school’s heritage listing prevented the demolition of the damaged structures. Instead, the community rallied together, and the school was carefully repaired and rebuilt at a cost of A$4 million. Temporary classrooms were erected, and in September 2004, Wooloowin State School proudly reopened its doors.

Manners Maketh Man

The restoration process brought about several improvements, including the refurbishment of the main block, library, and pre-school. Additionally, a new tuckshop and uniform shop were constructed near the pool, further enhancing the school’s facilities. School’s Out program, initially located under the library, found a temporary home in one of the demountable classrooms.

Wooloowin State School stands as a testament to the power of community and resilience. From its early days as a model school at the forefront of education to the challenges faced during the 2003 fire, the school has evolved and adapted while preserving its rich heritage. 

With the motto “Manners Maketh Man” guiding its students, Wooloowin State School continues to provide quality education and shape the lives of generations to come.

Published 17-August-2023