Appendix Seventeen: The Original Design of Two Story Brick Bulding (1936)

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The official Opening of the New Junction Park State School was held on School Fete Day, Saturday 17 October 1936. The old main school building was totally removed. Part of itwas used for added materials in the old Infant School building, and the rest was transported to new owners.  The New School is now referred to as A Block, but it has had different name. For example, the Brick Building, or the Main Building. The original design of the 1936 two-story brick building was to accommodate 854 pupils. The rebuilding of Junction Park State School was part of the political programme of William Forgan Smith Labor Government, to created large building projects, including the Story Bridge and Somerset Dam. Its aim was to take pressure off unemployment. The projects include the construction what has been referred to as Depression Brick Schools. From 1929 to 1947, 30 of these Queensland state schools were built. In deciding that Junction Park would be one of these schools involved two other politicians who followed Forgan Smith to become Queensland premiers.

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Frank Cooper (on the right) was at the time Secretary for Public Instruction and Assistant Treasurer.  He official opened the new school on the 17 October 1936, and is his name on the marble plaque at the bottom of the front steps. Frank Cooper was Premier from 1942 to 1946. Vince Gair (on the left) was at the time the local member for South Brisbane. He was one who was instrumental in lobbying for government approval of the New School Building project in 1934. Vince Gair was Premier from 1952 to 1957.

On 28 June 1934, the secretary of the school committee, Fred Bryant, had written to the Director of Education, noting that the Minister for Public Instruction had recently indicated that a large school building scheme would soon be underway, and that the school committee respectfully request that the establishment of a new and up-to-date brick school building be favourably considered for Junction Park State School.  On 20th December the Minister of Works, Harry Bruce, wrote to Vince Gair  and declared that approval had been given for the “erection of New State School at Junction Park”, and provided the following description:

  • The proposed new building will be a two stories brick building with title roof and will provide accommodation for 854 pupils;
  • The whole of the ground floor area will be concreted to form a play area;
  • The first floor will have 10 classrooms, 2 teachers’ rooms and hat and coat rooms;
  • The second floor will have 11 classrooms, teachers’ room and hat and coat rooms.

From the Queensland State Archives, there are copies of the original architecture sketches of the new school building, dated 26 November 1934.   In what follows are only few smaller portions of the sketches to highlight the original design and the differences & similarities with the space we have today.

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QSA Item ID 579703 Junction Park State School _ South Elevation

There are three elevation sketches. The South Elevation is the south side of the building, not looking south but looking northward. The Building is in the Interwar Free Classical architectural style.

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QSA Item ID 579702 Junction Park State School _ North Elevation

The North Elevation looks south to the north side of the building. The plan showed lovely Doric columns, but in actually fact the feature would be very plain brick-stack columns.

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QSA Item ID 579702 Junction Park State School _ East Elevation

The East Elevation looks west to the east side of the building.  No West Elevation was drawn.  In this sketch and the next we can see the depth of the foundations below ground level.

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QSA Item ID 579702 Junction Park State School _ Section Sketch (DD)

The only Section Sketch nicely illustrates the three levels and the roof structure with the tower. The labels of the levels on the sketches are confusing, since what we ordinarily take as ground level has been titled “Basement”. The level above has been labelled “Ground Floor”, not first floor. What we would view as the second level has been labelled “First Floor”.

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QSA Item ID 579704 Junction Park State School _ Basement Plan

The Basement Plan (what is for us ground level) highlights a complexity that is often missed. The concreted ground or basement floor served as a play area. The canteen and after-school care areas are much later additions. On each level the wings mirror each other, so an inspection of the West Wing would provide similar information for the East Wing.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Basement Plan West Wing

The West Wing of the Basement (Ground Level) highlights the storage rooms, including rooms used as the art area in recent times. The Entrance lobby on the front side of the building provides an interesting feature. The puzzling question is whether and how it was used in the school’s history. In recent years it has only served as a fire escape passage.

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QSA Item ID 579704 Junction Park State School _ Ground Floor Plan

The Ground Floor Plan (what is for us first level) had ten classrooms, two teacher rooms and hat & coat rooms. Since the next level up is mostly mirrored in this level plan, it can be taken as representative of features in First Floor Plan (what is for us second level).  On the Ground Floor Plan (what is for us first level), attention can be given to the four corner sections, the two wings, and the two-halves of the centre section.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan North-West Corner

The North West Corner of the Ground Floor (First Level) highlights the distinctive feature of the stairs and the unusual porch area. We can also note the first of many cloak rooms which will appear through the building. The cloak room here is now a staff toilet area. The original classroom arrangement can be noted.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan North-East Corner

The North East Corner of the Ground Floor (First Level) shows a similar view to the other corners sections.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan South-West Corner

The South West Corner of the Ground Floor (First Level) highlights that most of the space of the upper levels were given over to classrooms and cloak rooms. The present staff room and resource room was something well into the future.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan South-East Corner

The South East Corner of the Ground Floor (First Level) mirrors the same conclusion about the previous corner. The instrumental music room was also something in the far distant future.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan West Wing

The West Wing of the Ground Floor (First Level) increases the view out from the corner section, and a number of classroom arrangements can be seen. Note the class rooms have fixed walls with doors in the middle.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan East Wing

The East Wing of the Ground Floor (First Level) had a slightly different arrangement than the other wing. On the East Wing the class rooms have the fold-back partitions.  Note that, at some time of the school’s history, a stage area was placed at the eastern wall, and the classrooms would have been converted into a small assembly hall. Today, it is the Teasdale Activities Room.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan North Centre

The North Centre of the Ground Floor (First Level) is the strangest part of the plan. Space was given over for future extensions, a demarcated opening to which an additional wing would be placed. Most likely the planners were only making provision for the capacity of future developments. In hindsight it is difficult to imagine that an additional wing could have been placed on the 1936 Building. If such a feat had been undertaken, improbable as it is, there is an interesting question of whether the construction would have enhance or demean the heritage value of the school.

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QSA Item ID 579704 JPSSI _ Ground Floor Plan South Centre

The South Centre of the Ground Floor (First Level) is the most fascinating part of the plan. The Head Teacher’s Room is the same space as today. Head Teacher being what we now call the Principal.  However, today’s office and reception area was designed as the Male Teachers’ Room.  We will see that the Female Teacher’s Room was up on the next level. For number of male teachers in 1934 it seems today quite inappropriate for their prime space at the main school entrance, and close to the ‘seat of power’ (i.e. Head Teacher’s Office Desk).  Note the fixtures – basin in the Head Teacher’s Room; Gas Ring and Sink in the Male Teachers’ Room.

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QSA Item ID 579703 Junction Park State School _ First Floor Plan

The second floor had eleven classrooms, a teacher room, and hat & coat rooms. Its features were mostly the same as the level below.

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QSA Item ID 579703 Junction Park State School _ First Floor Plan Centre

The Centre of the First Floor (Second Level) had one unique feature in the building, the Female Teachers’ Room. It has the same gas ring and sink fixtures as the Male Teachers’ Room.

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QSA Item ID 579702 Junction Park State School _Tower

The Tower (Roof) is a really curious feature of the building.  It was probably that it was ventilation device to create circulation of air from the roof. It is possible that the design was also as a bell tower.  At this stage of the investigation, there is no clear evidence on how the tower was used in the school’s history.

REFERENCES 


QSA Item ID 579704 Junction Park State School _ New school Sheet No 1

QSA Item ID 579703 Junction Park State School _ New school Sheet No 2

QSA Item ID 579702 Junction Park State School _ New school Sheet No 3

Letter from the Minister for Works. 20 December 1934. QSA Public Works File 126198 for Junction Park State School 1928-1956. NDB Document No. DSC03484.