Upper Brookfield State School

Name: Upper Brookfield State School

Time: 1916 - Current

Epoch: Early 20th Century

Category: State Primary School

Institution Category: Education

Institution Group: Primary

Coordinates: -27.478445, 152.868833333333

Street Address: 496 Upper Brookfield Road, Upper Brookfield 

Suburb: Upper Brookfield

Sector: State

Local Study Area: Upper Brookfield-Brookfield

Study Stage: MBNH Stage 6 Local Study Areas

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Upper Brookfield State School opened in 1916. It was a low-set ‘open air’ structure. Canvas blinds were replaced with sash windows in 1923 and in 1933 a high-set building for sixty pupils replaced the original. That year the Department of Public Instruction provided a teacher’s residence, now used for Out of School Hours Care. The highest enrolment was 91 pupils in 1956. The present enrolment of about forty students enjoy the multi-age classes and the rural environment. 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 (Inconformity with this policy, all assistance to non-vested schools was withdrawn in 1880.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: The Green Belt (Part of)

Geographic Description 2: Brisbane River

Geographic Description 3: Flood Gullies; Mountain Range; State Forest


Ogilvie, Sue. Editor. 2016. Upper Brookfield State School Centenary 1916-2916. Upper Brookfield State School Available from Upper Brookfield State School; Entry extracted from Queensland Department of Education document, Primary Education, undated.

Image Citations

Upper Brookfield State School; school opening 1916. Image: Brookfield District Museum and Historical Society. brookfield [email protected].