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Airy Park State School

1912 First Class

On 27 January 1912 a list of prospective students for Airy Park School was sent to the Under Secretary of the Department of Public Instruction together with a sketch of the proposed site of the school. A report was made by District Inspector Taylor and a map from the survey office showing both the proposed site and neighbouring schools was enclosed.

The report carried a detailed account of potential pupils, available accommodation for teachers and a suggestion that the parents should be called upon to clear the site of trees because of the mosquito problem in the area. An interesting note was seen in the margin: `Inspector to be told once more not to write on both sides of the sheet'. Rules once made were expected to be adhered to even if you did hold the rank of district inspector.

The decision to establish a school in the area was taken on 19 April 1912 then came the difficult task of raising sufficient funds to enable the work to commence. At that time, local school committees were required to raise one-fifth of the total cost of their school.

In April 1912 Mr Breusch wrote to the committee stating:

'In reply to Yours of 1st inst I beg to state that it is utterly impossible for this community to provide the amount of local contribution asked for in your letter as all the parents are poor people, employment is scarce and they have a heavy task before them in erecting dwellings and other necessary improvements on their just lately acquired holdings besides the town and district are being drained for funds to the new Bundaberg Hospital.

We are however prepared to undertake the clearing of the school site free of charge and trust you will be able to be satisfied with that and release us from any further monetary assistance.'

The matter was apparently resolved as on 1 August 1912 tenders were called for the erection of a 'State School', at Airy Park, Springfield, via Bundaberg. Plans for the new building were chosen and the location had been selected. A further portion of land was added to the reserve in December 1912. The Department of Works advised that the school had been completed on 16 January 1913. 

Airy Park State School 1917

First head teacher

Rosanna Cordwell was appointed as head teacher at the School and advised that she was taking up duty on Monday 22 July 1912 after being transferred from Ginoondan. Miss Cordwell remained at the school until 1917. During this period it would appear that 1915 was a particularly difficult year for her. The comments on the annual returns indicate that she was allowed twelve days leave of absence due to illness. From the 21 September until 11 October further leave was granted due to the death of a brother and again on 1 November another day was given due to the death of a brother. A violent cyclone closed the school on 9 February. One bright spot in her year was leave of nine days to attend a physical culture course at Pialba.

Accommodation

Some difficulty in finalising accommodation led to Mr Dwyer being transferred to Dunwich. An accommodation sheet was sent to the school and its committee advised that suitable accommodation could be provided for a male teacher.

School grounds and buildings

In 1920 a request was made by Mr Delahunty to let a portion of the school for grazing purposes. Permission was granted for part of the ground to be let and the rental to be used for school improvement. The head teacher, lsabella McDade, wrote to the department regarding repairs to the school fences as cows and calves were continually getting into the school grounds and destroying the school garden. More trouble with the grounds in 1924, this time because of noxious weeds and undergrowth. It is interesting to note that a broken window pane was attributed to fleet gun practice at sea. Must have been large guns in 1924.

In 1933 a request was made by the Springfield and District Progressive League to build a community hall on land which adjoined the school reserve. After further correspondence permission was granted but later that year the league decided against pursuing the project.

School residence

The provision of a teacher's residence for the school had been under discussion for some time with an early request to the department appearing in 1934. At that time it was stated that it was not departmental policy to provide residences for schools of this size. A further request was made in 1947 which was denied but a promise was made to review the situation in the following financial year. The residence was built in 1952 and was ready to be occupied from 2 April 1952.