Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Steady Growth at West; Nestle's Drives the Rise at Gympie West State School

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Steady Growth at West; Nestle's Drives the Rise at Gympie West State School

Article excerpt

Byline: Donna Jones

AFTER the construction of the Nestle's factory in Pine Street, it soon became apparent there was a need for another Gympie primary school.

With the central school already at capacity, the MLA for Gympie at the time, Mr G B Kehoe, wrote to the Department of Education to put the wheels in motion in October, 1954.

He commented that residential development in that area was progressing rapidly, and was likely to be given a great boost when the Nestle's factory opened in 1955.

A month later the site was chosen but construction on the four classrooms, office, staffroom, library room, sickbay and storeroom didn't begin until mid 1957.

The school was allocated [pounds sterling]16,500 for the project and was opened on January 28, 1958 by the first principal, Kenneth Hugh Brown Johnston.

With just under 100 students, the school began its life with four teachers, one of whom was Mr Brian Kidd.

"The school was constructed on the then outskirts of the northern side of Gympie and to get to it one had to wend a way along a bush track, through a gully and up a hill to the building," he said in 1983, on the 25th anniversary.

He recalls the first day of school as being hectic and said one of the parents provided the first broom for the school.

"This was used to sweep out the classrooms so that furniture could be installed and school begin," he said.

Although there were only four classrooms, there were seven grades, with composite classes created.

The minister for education, J C A Pizzey, conducted the official opening on Saturday June 7, 1958.

By mid 1961, attendance had climbed to 162 students and in October a fifth teacher was added to the staff with a temporary classroom established under the school.

By the following April the school got approval to erect a new wing with another classroom and a head teacher's office and another storeroom.

Class numbers continued to rise and a sixth teacher was added to the school staff in 1963. …

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