When Veresdale Scrub opened a provisional school on 25 April 1899, it came after a hard-fought community battle to secure an education and a future for their children.
Now, 123 years later, the community is fighting to save the original school building which still stands front and centre at Veresdale Scrub State School.
Central to the fight is a push for consultation, with some locals feeling left in the dark.
Veresdale Scrub’s Cheryl Ardrey, whose family has seen five generations through the school dating back to her grandmother, is among locals pushing to save the historic building.
A copy of a letter addressed to residents on 2 November 2021 encouraging feedback and promising to share outcomes in ‘early 2022’ came into Cheryl’s possession, but not directly.
“I didn’t even know the old Veresdale school might be under threat. I haven’t got anything in the letterbox or been phoned or emailed,” she said.
“This letter says, ‘dear resident’, but if it went out it never got near the local residents I phoned. We want to at least have some input into what’s happening.”
There is also a Change.org petition started by history advocate Julie Wilkinson, titled Save Historic Veresdale Scrub State School from Demolition.
In response to a Beaudesert Bulletin enquiry, the Department of Education provided the following.
“On 23 August 2021, an engineer completed an inspection of the original school building (Block A) and the adjacent covered area and provided a report concluding that both structures were in poor condition and currently not fit-for-purpose,” the statement said.
“Investigations are underway to determine the options available to upgrade or repair Block A to meet the future needs of the school. These findings will be presented to the community through a community consultation process in early April 2022.”
At time of print, the Department had not responded to a further enquiry about the letter.
Member for Scenic Rim Jon Krause, who wrote to Education Minister Grace Grace on 21 September after residents raised the issue with him, said it was a complex matter, but the community must be properly consulted.
“There are a lot of questions and there needs to be proper consultation about this and that was something the Minister said there would be,” he said.