May 27, 2016
Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey AC will be the special guest at Saturday’s Coolabunia State School 125th anniversary celebrations.
Governor de Jersey’s father, Ron de Jersey, was principal at the school from 1950-1953 and his family lived in the heritage-listed principal’s residence.
The Governor is due to arrive at 11:00am.
This will be followed by the official opening ceremony and then a performance by the school choir at 11:30am.
At 11:45am, past students will perform as the Coolabunia Fife Band (we hope they’ve been practising!) and then at noon there will be a student performance of maypole dancing.
The school bell will be rung at 1:30pm to gather past students together for photographs.
There will also be classroom displays to enjoy, old crafts, old movies, a jumping castle and slide, working machinery, a hay maze, face-painting and market stalls.
The day will wrap up about 4:00pm.
* * *
The late Geoff Missingham, well-known in the South Burnett for his writings, penned a poem for the school’s centenary in 1991 called “The Builders”.
This excerpt has been circulating in recent weeks as the school has been promoting its 125th anniversary celebrations.
And it explains the large haystack koala which has been keeping guard on the D’Aguilar Highway since the Australia Day weekend:
“In the tall spotted gum the koala is sleeping
Over broad camphor laurels Old Sol is new peeping
In the red bottle-brush the honey birds are singing
When I hear the peal of a school bell ringing…”
* * *
More than 1500 students have passed through the rooms at Coolabunia State School since it opened its doors to its first pupils on June 16, 1891.
The school came about after great agitation from local farming families in 1890.
The Education Minister at the time challenged the community to come up with the timber for the building and desks.
When this happened, the State Government provided enough books and slates for 18 pupils, and set aside £40 a year to pay a teacher.
The first teacher was Fred Horne, a local resident and a former pupil teacher in Yorkshire, England.
The children enrolled came from six families.