Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

The History of Albert SS

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

The History of Albert SS

Article excerpt

LOOKING BACK

GEORGE SEYMOUR

FOR ME, the true value of our heritage buildings does not derive so much from architectural or aesthetic considerations as from their connection to the stories and experiences of those who have walked through their doorways.

When the first students excitedly walked through the doorway of Albert State School in 1883, there were 220 of them and Maryborough was going through something of a boom.

Their new school building was built to a design by a very bright and innovative architect, Robert Ferguson.

Maryborough's first government school had opened over two decades earlier, in 1862.

The town experienced a dramatic growth in schools beginning in 1875, with ten schools opening in 16 years.

Granville State School and Tinana State School opened in 1875; the Sisters of Mercy Convent School in 1880; Maryborough Grammar School in 1881; St Helen's State School in 1882; Albert State School and Maryborough Girls Grammar School in 1883; Maryborough West State School in 1886; a Christian Brothers School in 1888; and Sunbury State School in 1891.

This picturesque school, like others across Queensland, was built to a standard plan of Ferguson's.

The government developed these standard plans for school buildings to help ensure consistency and economy across the vast colony.

These designs were continually refined in response to changing needs and educational philosophy.

Queensland school buildings were particularly innovative in climate control, lighting, and ventilation.

The implementation of these standard designs has resulted in distinctly similar schools right across the State.

Ferguson had been appointed in 1879 by the Department of Public Instruction as its first Superintendent of Buildings and immediately set out developing climate appropriate designs to address deficiencies in ventilation and lighting.

As can be seen at the Albert School, his buildings were more than functional, being decoratively-treated with a variety of elaborate gothic timber work and were heralded by educationalists as 'far superior in design, material and workmanship to any we have before built'. …

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