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History

 
 
Photo: The late DA Low (MLA) offically opening the new gates in 1953
 
 
For a little while before 1927 six children went to an unofficial school in Mr Pettigrew’s old dairy house on Ridge Road, then owned by Mr O’Connor.
 
In 1921 there were enough children in or near Maroochydore to warrant a school so parents formed a committee and petitioned the Education Department for a teacher.
 
The outcome was that a Professional School was started in a small hall owned by Mr Thomas O’Connor.  It stood right beside the big gum tree that still stands in the Playground at Picnic Point and opened on the 25th of August 1921.  Miss Daisy Eva Fielding was the first Principal with 23 children.
 
In a District Inspector’s report of the 19th of October 1921, it was stated that horses and cattle roamed about the building precluding the establishment of a garden.
 
Later Mr O’Connor gave the land on Main Road for a school, but at the time it seemed to be right out in the bush away from the houses which were scattered along the river.  However, Mr O’Connor said, “It’s a well drained slope of land; very good for a school.  Someday Maroochydore will grow into a town and will spread out right past the school.  People laughed at him for these fanciful ideas, but we know now that he was right.
 
The present school was established on the 1st of September on Main Road in 1924.  It had only one teacher, Mr Francis Sherrin, and 50 children.  That first part of the school is used and part of the school today.  You can still see how small it was if you go and look at the stockroom which was then the verandah, and Room No.1 which was the classroom.  The steps beside the Principal’s office are still in the same place as the original ones, which were on the corner of the building.
 
How do you think they moved everything from the Provisional School of Picnic Point to this one? On a truck? No, indeed! For days the children walked from one to the other carrying seats and desks, the two cupboards and the two blackboards, and the slates and books.  Each child had one reading book for the whole year, a copy book for good writing, a drawing book and a slate and pencil.  For homework, children used an exercise book and a mapping book and atlas, and that was about all.
 
The big boys and Mr Sherrin spent months both in and out of school time, cutting down and burning the trees that surrounded the school to make the first playground.
 
The children all walked to school – some from long distances.  One family lived at Mooloolaba and another near the Buderim Gold Links.
 
In the wet season, the Amaroo Street (into Sunshine Plaza) was under water and the parents would bring a dingy and row the children along the road.  No one stayed home on these days.
 
In 1929 Mr Sherrin had eighty children on the roll and six classes.  Miss Power arrived as the first assistant teacher and a second room was then added.
 
For over twenty years commencement at the start of the 1952 school year, children living on the other side of the river, travelled to and from school on the “School Boat”.  The daily travelling distance being 32 miles.  Occasionally, on very low tides, the big children had to jump overboard and help to push it off the sandbanks.  At the end of the 1973 year, the boat service was terminated as the number of children to be transported did not warrant the continuation of the service.
 

Photo: Children attending school via the local "school boat"
 
Children attended primary school until they were about thirteen of fourteen years old.  The few who went on to high school had to go away as there was no high school between Brisbane and Gympie.  In 1935 the Nambour High School opened and buses took children from the coast.  In 1964 the local Maroochydore SHS was built.
 
Today we also have playgroups, a Kindergarden, Prep and other schools both state and private have opened in the district.   Our own school – Maroochydore Primary – in March 1979 had 13 hectares of land, 40 rooms, the hall, a staffing of 55 with 974 students.