Ithaca Creek State School is one of the oldest schools in Queensland with a rich history and dedicated school community. On 28 September 1885, our school opened its doors and by the end of the first year boasted an enrolment of 188 children. The petition to the Minister of Lands by the West Ithaca Progress Association, a year before, to set aside a reserve for a school had only anticipated 50 children. The committee members such as William Woolcock, John Stack and Robert Fulcher are easily recognisable in our local streets and land marks.
Our first Principal Robert Berry was a popular teacher. The conditions must have been quite difficult for those at the school. The 188 children were crammed into a single classroom 6mteres by 15 metres without the comparative luxuries we enjoy today. In the 1880s Queensland was a young and rapidly growing colony. The end focus of primary schooling was the “Scholarship Exam” (roughly equivalent to grade 8). Children passing these exams could become pupil teachers at the tender age of 12 and 14. Over the years the curriculum, facilities and teaching methodologies have changed substantially.
Ithaca has been influenced by some wonderful and inspiring principals over our 120 year history such as Arthur Exley (1901-12, 1921-28) who was an education leader of his time, and a fearless advocate for teachers. He also found time to be a prolific writer of stories and poems for the Queensland “School Paper” under the pseudonym of AXEL. George Vowles (1890-98) has works in the rare book collection at the John Oxley Library.
The period of the Great depression imposed great financial strains on primary education. The Second World War followed almost immediately compounding the strain on the community. The solemn mood of these times was partially overcome by the construction of the striking Brick building we enjoy today and the social dances and dance lessons enthusiastically run by the school community. Teachers were called away for service, budgets were drastically cut and the student population was divided in to two shifts in case of air raids. The baby boom and immigration of the 50s and 60s saw the school population increase to around 1000 in 22 classrooms. The Music Hall was added in 1954 as a domestic science block and our Pool was built in the 1960s. By the time our school celebrated its centenary in 1985 the reduced student population enjoyed much more space and audio visual areas, the school pool, tennis courts, and the oval, hand dug through a work program in the Depression years.
In the 1990s the 22 classrooms were converted into “open area” classrooms with facilities such as wet areas for art and craft and cooking facilities and computer areas to enhance the educational experience for our children. Ithaca Creek is one of 52 Queensland schools being included in the Smart classroom Strategy which aims to encourage electronic interaction in the school community.
Music has always played a significant part in the lives of our children. They have had the opportunity to be part of the Fife and Drum bands, Mouth organ bands, Choirs and more recently the Symphonic Catz and Wild Catz performing both within the school grounds and across Brisbane.
Ithaca Creek has always had a strong sense of community. The social dances of the 30s have in recent times transformed into to the hugely successful movie nights under the stars, trivia nights and mystery festival. The raising of the funds for the pool from the 30s to the 60s is the stuff of folklore. There were lamington drives, “brick” cards, and penny miles to name just a few of the fundraising activities. Today, parents and locals still play a strong part in the life of the school, both inside the classroom, and through functions and events.
In 2005 the Ithaca Creek school community worked together to celebrate our 120th year by building a fantastic new hall and holding an anniversary weekend. The Hall will be well utilised in the second century of our wonderful school. Already it has been used for Enrichment Program activities such as the annual mystery festival, maths sports program, musical performances, wet day sport activities, graduation ceremonies and school assemblies.
As we move forward we draw upon the efforts and dedication of the current and past Ithaca Creek State School community members to embrace the educational challenges ahead and provide an excellent learning opportunity for our children that will see them become a vital part of Queensland’s future