ANNIVERSARY: Thabeban State School is getting ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
ANNIVERSARY: Thabeban State School is getting ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

DID YOU KNOW: Thabeban State School opened on April 30, 1917

SEVEN Thabeban locals called a meeting in February 1916 to discuss the formation of a local school.

Following this meeting a letter was written to the Department of Public Instruction informing them of an address that was a perfect site and asking if the department would consider building a school.

The department responded but considered the proposed site not one that would provide fair access to families that lived further from town.

A second site was proposed and most of the members of a building committee that had been formed supported the new address.

Land was bought for 35 pounds from the wife of the mayor and the school was built. It consisted of one classroom and a verandah and cost the princely sum of 340 pounds to complete.

Thabeban State School opened on Monday, April 30, 1917 with an enrolment of 43 children.

It was reported in the Bundaberg Daily News that the official opening was to take place at 2.30pm on Thursday, May 10. by the Minister for Public Instruction, Mr Hardacre.

Unfortunately due to pressing departmental business, Mr Hardacre had been unable to attend and the opening was instead performed by Mr T G Armfield, MLA for Mulgrave, who had been heavily involved in the establishment of the school.

Following the official business the students were treated to a picnic organised by the head teacher, Richard Ingram, and the school committee.

The first headmaster, Mr Ingram had received a notice that he would be transferring from Barolin State School to Thabeban. He was the only teacher.

During that first year the school grew and changed.

The school grounds were fenced, a cleaner was employed and a teaching assistant, Miss Grace Stone, 21, was employed.

She remained at Thabeban for one year after starting duties as pupil teacher of the third class on January 1, 1918.

By June of 1917 there were 45 children enrolled, but there were not enough desks for each of them.

Most of the children walked up to 6km to school, some having to cut through the bush and sheltering under trees during storms.

There were no tuckshops at schools in those days and the Thabeban students would walk to the nearest shop in Sims Rd and back during the lunch break.

Cricket, football and rounders were the popular sports of the day while the favourite lunch break game was Bobbies and Bushies.

The Bobbies (police) would chase and try to catch the Bushies, who often hid in the neighbouring canefields.

Sometimes they hid so well that they were late getting back to class after the break.

When that happened they would find Mr Ingram waiting for them with a 5cm wide strap.

Back then students could get the cuts for being lazy, untidy, for talking or eating in class.

The children learnt English, arithmetic, geography, civics, Bible studies, temperance, drawing, drill and physical exercises.

Mr Ingram also taught them to sing and Mrs Ingram came to school each Friday to teach sewing.

After complaints by Mr Ingram about the cramped conditions under which the students were studying, an extra classroom and verandah were added in 1920 and then four years later, the area under the school was concreted.

In 1941 an additional building was approved as by this time the enrolment had grown to around 100.

In the years since then, many more modern buildings and facilities were added as enrolment increased.

The initial building however, is still part of the school.

After being restored and relocated within the school grounds, it is now used as a conference room.

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