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Nudgee College moves from history into the 21st century

IT WAS a different world in 1891.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was still creating a character called Sherlock Holmes.

Australia, as such, did not exist.

A Welsh preacher's son named Samuel Griffith was Premier of Queensland.

The Labor Party was about to be born out of the Australian shearers' strike.

Rugby had just taken over from Aussie rules as Queensland's most popular football code.

And a boys' boarding school called St Joseph's College opened on Sandgate Rd, Nudgee.

As Nudgee College approaches its 125th year of operation, now with capacity for 332 boarders as well as its day boys, the school is revamping its boarding village.

Describing the village as the heart and soul of the college, deputy principal Mr Graham Leddie said it would combine the four boarding houses with a beautiful, large centre courtyard for family barbecues, movie nights and house meetings.

Boarding school conditions have changed dramatically over the years, from this:

Nudgee college dormitory in about 1935
Nudgee college dormitory in about 1935

to this:

Nudgee College dorm in 2014
Nudgee College dorm in 2014

"It will be a home away from home, a place of safety and security, fun and friendship," Mr Leddie said.

"It will be a wonderful environment for boys to learn, explore and engage with their learning setting." 

Each boy will have his own individual room that feels like his home inside a larger house.

Features include a window, natural light, single bed, space and quietness to study, a desk, shelving, cupboard, large lockable storage areas, task lighting, wireless internet, overhead fans, and bench seating.

The larger house will contain lounge spaces and common spaces with 6m-high ceilings to provide a sense of space and openness.

Bathroom spaces will open to vertical gardens offering natural air circulation and air quality.

Nudgee college boarding house bathroom
Nudgee college boarding house bathroom

The entire boarding village will be secured safely and all entry and exits points monitored. 

Stage 1 of the village opened earlier this year, with stage 2 to be completed in January 2015.

Old and new: Nudgee boys and a bench recycled from timber out of the old boarding facility.

"Nudgee College is very excited that its high level of academic and pastoral care support will be further enhanced with these new, state of the art facilities for boarders at the College," Mr Leddie said. 

Mr Leddie said Nudgee College boarding provided boys with valuable opportunities to develop independence, resilience, confidence and respect. "Boys develop life-long friendships and contacts that assist each boy develop his future. Career counsellors are on hand to assist boys open up future possibilities.   

"Nudgee College boarding is a vibrant, close-knit community rich in traditions.

"Parents are encouraged to engage, visit and support their sons as often as they can. The school sees a close partnership with parents and Heads of Boarding House as paramount for a successful individual boarding experience."  

Boys had plenty of space to roam, run, walk and play across the campus' 133 hectares of bushland and ovals, Mr Leddie said.

Nudgee College, only 16km from Brisbane city, was a great, safe place for country boys to orientate themselves to a large city environment.

"This is a big advantage as the city is where most boys will go on to further studies at university," he said.

Nudgee College Boarding runs an academic tutoring program four nights per week with teachers across a range of subjects assisting boys with their work.

"The Health Centre is staffed with highly skilled and caring nurses 24/7 and doctors and dentists are on call," Mr Leddie said.

"Boarding has its own fully equipped industrial kitchen and dining room, staffed with four chefs who have previously worked in some of the finest hotels. They produce nutritional, well balanced meals for the boys.

"A fully equipped laundry where all the boy's clothes are washed, ironed, repaired and named is also situated on the campus.

"The activities co-ordinator provides a rich variety of activities over the weekends on top of the college's extensive co-curricular program."