HISTORIC: Silkstone State School.
HISTORIC: Silkstone State School. Heritage Branch Staff

Primary school earns spot on heritage register

SILKSTONE State School has been entered in the Queensland Heritage Register.

Queensland Heritage Council chair Debbie Best said the school, established in 1915 to replace the overcrowded Newtown State School, demonstrated the evolution of state education and its associated architecture in Queensland.

"Silkstone State School demonstrates the main characteristics of a Queensland state school of the early 20th century - a teaching building of a standard design set in a landscaped site with mature trees, gardens, and play and sport areas," Ms Best said.

"It's an excellent example of a standard government design that responded to the educational philosophies of the time."

The school retains an original suburban timber school building (Block A), built in 1915, described as the most substantial example of its type in Queensland.

"Block A is an outstanding, intact example of a suburban timber school building, with its impressive, symmetrical design revealed at the end of an attractive path from the front entrance gate," Ms Best said.

Other notable features of the block include a high-set and timber-framed construction, open understorey play areas, classroom wings linked by verandas, and original hat and cloak rooms.

"The building has become a picturesque feature of the school due to its location, standing on the centre and highest part of the site, as well as its attractive surroundings," Ms Best said.

"The mature trees that form a boundary around the school complement the surrounding residential development.

At the time of its design, the Department of Public Works was experimenting with ways to make the most of natural light and to improve ventilation.

"The classrooms were planned to compel right handedness in writing by providing natural light through large banks of windows on the left hand side," she said.

"Natural light and ventilation were sought through features such as elevated classrooms with open understory, high level windows and fanlights, lofty and coved ventilated ceilings, hinged wall ventilation flaps at floor level, and distinctive roof fleches."

She said the school had a strong association with the local community.

"Silkstone State School is significant due to its important contribution to the educational development of Ipswich, with many generations taught at the school. It continues to serve today as a prominent venue for social, sporting and community events and is supported by an active Parents and Citizens' Association."

The school was nominated for heritage listing by the Department of Education and Training in Stage 3 of its comprehensive Queensland Schools Heritage Strategy.

"The Queensland Schools Heritage Strategy aims to identify, assess and protect Queensland schools that are of state heritage significance," Ms Best said.

"Over a four-year period from mid-2014, the Queensland Heritage Council has to consider 107 schools-all identified to be the best examples of their type-for entry in the Queensland Heritage Register.

"I congratulate the Department of Education and Training for their efforts in undertaking this extraordinarily comprehensive heritage survey of Queensland schools."

The Queensland Heritage Council is the state's independent advisor on heritage matters and determines what places are entered in the Queensland Heritage Register. Places entered in the Heritage Register are considered of importance to Queensland's history and are protected under heritage legislation.