Ashgrove State School

Name: Ashgrove State School

Time: 1876 - Current

Epoch: Late 19th Century

Category: State Primary School

Institution Category: Education

Institution Group: Primary

Coordinates: -27.4476116666667, 152.977333333333

Street Address: 31 Glory St, Ashgrove

Suburb: Ashgrove

Sector: State

Local Study Area: Ashgrove

Study Stage: MBNH Stage 7 Study Areas

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The Ashgrove State School opened in November 1876. Postal services were based at the school from 1877 to 1907. James Brunton Stephens (1835–1902) served as the first headmaster and postmaster, leaving Ashgrove at the end of 1882. By this time, Stephens was already establishing his reputation as a remarkable poet, having published ‘The Godolphin Arabian’ and ‘The Black Gin and Other Poems’ in 1873. Stephens was also one of the founders of the Brisbane’s Johnsonian Club in 1878. 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 (Inconformity with this policy, all assistance to non-vested schools was withdrawn in 1880.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: Breakfast Creek; Ithaca Creek

Geographic Description 3: Flood Gullies (Major); Hills; Ridgeline (Waterworks Road)


Cohen, Kay. with Val Donovan, Ruth Kerr, Margaret Kowald, Lyndsay Smith, and Jean Stewart. Lost Brisbane and Surrounding Areas 1860-1960. Volume 1. RHSQ. 2014. page 152; Brisbane City Council, Heritage Register Summary, ; Entry extracted from Queensland Department of Education document, Primary Education, undated.

Image Citations

Ashgrove State School, 31 Glory St, Ashgrove, unstated. Lost Brisbane. Volume 1. RHSQ. 2014. page 152