Windsor State School

Name: Windsor State School

Time: 1865 - Current

Epoch: Late 19th Century

Category: State Primary School

Institution Category: Education

Institution Group: Primary

Coordinates: -27.4314166666667, 153.030388333333

Street Address: 2 Harris Lane, Windsor 

Suburb: Windsor

Sector: State

Local Study Area: Alderley-Newmarket

Study Stage: MBNH Stage 8 Local Study Areas

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The heritage listed Windsor State School, at the current site, opened on 5 August 1916. It replaced the Bowen Bridge Road School, opened on 17 July 1865 which was built in the elevated area (now Windsor Memorial Park) accross the road. A concrete swimming pool was placed at the school in 1925. The institution was among the largest primary school enrolments in the early twentieth century, peaking in 1928 at 1,642 pupils. In the late twentieth century enrolments dramatically reversed as young families moved out in what were in the 1950s and 1960s the outer northern suburbs. As urban renewal occurred in the Windsor area from the 1970s, generally from more wealthy young families renovating old homes, the enrolments stabilised at the school sufficiently to ensure its survival. 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 (Inconformity with this policy, all assistance to non-vested schools was withdrawn in 1880.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

Geographic Description 3: Flood Gullies (Major); Hills; Ridgeline (Margar Street, and Lutwyche Road in parts)


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 108; Robert Price, Windsor State School – Celebrating 150 Years 2015; Entry extracted from Queensland Department of Education document, Primary Education, undated.

Image Citations

Windsor State School, 1916. Photo Courtesy of the Windsor and Districts Historical Society