If the tongue and groove walls of the old Gleneagle schoolhouse could talk, they’d tell stories of simpler times.
Locals who went to school there remember piling into the single classroom with all their friends and riding horses or bikes to school.
On 5 November, former students shared their memories at a special morning tea hosted by the school community to farewell the building, which the Department of Education has confirmed will be demolished next year.
Several of the old schoolhouse alumni came with cameras slung over their shoulders, taking photographs to remember their childhood classroom by. They took a final wander through the building, built in the early 1900s, and reminisced over memorabilia set out for them.
At an all of school assembly, local legend Keith Dunn shared a song he wrote for the occasion, titled Gleneagle School Back Then.
He remembered starting in the old schoolhouse back in 1955 as a skinny little kid and how his own son, 25 years later, ended up with the same teacher as his dad.
Ian Dennis, 84, remembers riding his horse to the old Gleneagle school from 1944 to 1951.
“When I started there were 32 students in the one building, one teacher, no power, no air conditioning and on a hot day we used to do our lessons under the school,” he said.
Brian Radke,74, who went there from grade three onward, said it was a tough farewell.
“It is very special to this area historically and it’s where we were taught,” he said.
“I’m disappointed and originally I thought it’d be good to keep it as part of history, but I suppose you can take photographs and remember it that way.”
The Department of Education confirmed to the Beaudesert Bulletin that the building will be demolished in the 2022 Easter school holidays.
“The original Gleneagle school house (Block B), built in 1910, is in poor structural condition and does not comply with current Australian Standards or the Building Code of Australia,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“A structural report commissioned by the department recommended the building be demolished as it is not financially viable to renovate.
“Demolition is scheduled to occur in April 2022 during the Easter school holidays, and an outdoor learning area will be created in its place.”
Beaudesert Bulletin sought Member for Scenic Rim, Jon Krause’s comment on the issue:
“I can understand people’s concern about our old school buildings going – there’s so many memories tied up there, no matter where you went to school.”
“I wasn’t aware of plans to move the Gleneagle State School building until I was told in Beaudesert one day by a parent – this Government simply doesn’t share information like that.”
“The Government says the building is slated for removal or demolition next year. About two years ago, apparently Education QLD did up a list of heritage buildings to preserve in schools and this one was not included. I asked what a lot of people wonder – why does it have to go? Is it for a new building?”
“Unfortunately, there seems no plan for a new building, at least not one they’d tell me about, either for teachers or children. In fact removing this building, it was explained, may actually help build a case for new rooms by increasing the ratio of children to buildings. It sounds like a bit of bureaucracy silliness, but that’s apparently one of the reasons.”