Brisbane South Boys School

Name: Brisbane South Boys School

Time: 1865 - Closed

Epoch: Late 19th Century

Category: State Primary School

Institution Category: Education

Institution Group: Primary

Coordinates: -27.4789166666667, 153.018305

Street Address: Corner Gleneig and Merivale Street, South Brisbane

Suburb: South Brisbane

Sector: State

Local Study Area: West End-South Brisbane-North Woolloongabba

Study Stage: MBSH Stage 3 Local Study Areas

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The Brisbane South Boys School had opened in 1865. The site has had extraordinary evolution in the school institutions that inhabit the land. Originally the institution was ‘co-ed’ as the Brisbane South School until it was re-opened as the Brisbane South Girls and Infants School in the 1880s. The boys were transferred to a new built school across to the Gleneig-Ernest Street block near-by in 1888. In 1929 the institution re-invented itself as the Brisbane South Intermediate School (for Grades 7 and 8). The new boy’s school (Gleneig-Ernest Street block) then became Brisbane South State School. The Brisbane South Intermediate School closed in 1953 and the Brisbane South State School then moved to this site (Edmondstone-Cordellia Street block) in 1954. The Brisbane South State School finally closed on 31 December 1963. Although Queensland education was influenced by the earlier establishment of National and Normal school system primary education was shaped by the Department of Public Instruction under the Education Act of 1875, whereby:

Primary education for children aged from 6 to 12 was to be compulsory.(This provision was not fully implemented until 1900.)

Education was to be secular, i.e. under the control of the State. (Inconformity with this policy, all assistance to non-vested schools was withdrawn in 1880. This provision occasioned considerable ill-feeling among Roman Catholics and some Anglicans.)

Primary education was to be free.

A Department of Public Instruction was established to administer the Act.

The colonial curriculum drew on reading, writing, and arithmetic (the ‘3Rs), with object lessons (‘show and tell’ lessons), drill and gymnastics, and vocal music were supposed to be taught, but in practice these relatively new subjects were often ignored or poorly taught. Geography, needlework, grammar, history and mechanics were also included in the curriculum at various levels. While some of these subjects were included for their practical usefulness, the main criterion for inclusion of subjects in the curriculum was not their practical value, but their value in disciplining (‘sharpening’) mental faculties such as ‘memory’ and ‘reasoning’.

By 1905, when important syllabus changes were made, the value of subjects was increasingly assessed in terms of their everyday usefulness, and ‘learning by doing’ was stressed. The child rather than the teacher, was becoming the centre of the learning process, at least in theory. These changes in the philosophy of education, combined with attempts to mould the content and methods of teaching to the peculiar geographic conditions of Queensland, were major influences on education for the next six decades.

Geographic Description 1: Inside The Green Belt

Geographic Description 2: Brisbane River

Geographic Description 3: Flood Plains; Hills; Ridgeline (Slopes off)


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 235; Entry extracted from Queensland Department of Education document, Primary Education, undated.

Image Citations

Brisbane South Boys School, Corner Gleneig and Merivale Street, South Brisbane, unstated. RHSQ P54868. Lost Brisbane. Volume 2. RHSQ. 2016 page 235