State School for Spastic Children (New Farm Special Education Development Unit)

Name: State School for Spastic Children (New Farm Special Education Development Unit)

Time: 1948 - Closed

Epoch: Late 20th Century

Category: State Primary School

Institution Category: Education

Institution Group: Primary

Coordinates: -27.468, 153.048

Street Address: New Farm QLD 4005

Suburb: New Farm

Sector: State

Local Study Area: Spring Hill-CBD-Fortitude Valley-New Farm (Inner City)

Study Stage: MBNH Stage 9 Local Study Areas

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The State School for Spastic Children opened in May 1954. It was for the Spastic Children’s Welfare League a large facility. With six classrooms and an administration area, it was the League’s second largest site in Australia. Contemporary readers will be struck by the appellation in an educationalist era before integration policies. However, the term ‘spastic’ in the era was read as a medical term, designated to infer medical support for the education of children with cerebral palsy (i.e. spasticity in muscle function). Unfortunately, with appearance dominating in the concepts of popular culture, the word became a term of abuse used by children, unaffected by the medical condition but who suffered low-esteem in school playground. Adults who never rose above their child playground education also promoted the fear and the prejudice towards such children, and adults. In May 1974 the site became New Farm Special Education Development Unit. Again, it was not long before prejudice and fear distorted the language, and the phase ‘special education’ became a derogative term in popular culture. None of the wider local history reflected on the high level of educational and medical services provided to children with cerebral palsy. With integration policies introduced into schools in the 1990s, the site became the administrative headquarters of the Cerebral Palsy League Queensland (CPLQ), re-developed in 2005.

Geographic Description 1: Inside The Green Belt

Geographic Description 2: Brisbane River

Geographic Description 3: Flood Plains (Major); Hills; low-lying valley area (around James Street)


Kowald, Margaret. with Val Donovan, Ruth Kerr, Kay Cohen, Lyndsay Smith, and Jean Stewart. Lost Brisbane and Surrounding Areas: The Later Years. Volume 2. RHSQ. 2016 page 93; Entry extracted from Queensland Department of Education document, Primary Education, undated.

Image Citations

State School for Spastic Children (New Farm Special Education Development Unit), [?] New Farm, 1958. RHSQ P54765. Lost Brisbane. Volume 2. RHSQ. 2016 page 93