Local Farming Families’ Legacy: The History of Aspley State School

Did you know that Aspley State School was the first school established in Brisbane’s outer northern suburbs? Built in 1890 with funds raised by local farming families, the timber and tin school building known as ‘A’ Block stands today as the oldest surviving school building in the area.

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From its earliest days, the school served as a community hub, hosting not just classes but dances, picnics, teacher training sessions and more. Its grounds evolved over the decades, gaining trees, gardens, sport facilities and even air raid trenches during World War II. But the heart of the campus remained the A Block, which has been considered a local heritage place since July 2002.

The ‘A’ block in 1895 (Photo credit: Aspley State School P&C Association/Facebook)

In March 1889, John Morris, William Brown, and William Wallin contacted the Queensland colonial government’s Department of Public Instruction to request a school for their district. As a result, a local committee comprising Morris, Brown, Wallin with Robert Graham and Thomas Ridley, was formed. 

Aspley State School
Matthews’ settlement, Aspley, on the site of the Aspley State School ca 1887 (Photo credit: Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

They issued a formal, written request that detailed four possible school sites on 20 March. John Shirley, a school inspector, visited these sites and presented his official report on 15 April. Shirley rejected all four sites, as they were too close to existing schools. He recommended that a more central location be found for the proposed school before the matter could be reconsidered. 

Whilst the Department of Public Instruction had already selected a site on Portion 454 along Maundrell Terrace on 13 July 1889, for the proposed school, they chose not to proceed until the local residents resolved their disagreements. 

Following a prolonged dispute, the government ultimately accepted the proposal from William Brown to build the school on Maundrell Terrace, and the institution came to be called the Little Cabbage Tree Creek School.

The school commenced operations in 1890 with an initial enrollment of 40 students. Archibald Robert Wing assumed the role of the inaugural head teacher and continued to lead the institution until 1901.

As the suburb transitioned from its agricultural roots to a residential area after World War II, Aspley State School expanded rapidly to accommodate the growing population. New classrooms, libraries, amenities and other buildings were constructed, even as other local schools like Aspley East and Craigslea relieved some of the pressure on student enrolments.

Through it all, that iconic 1890 school house has endured – a link to Aspley’s past as Soldier’s Flat and Little Cabbage Tree Creek.

Aspley State School
Photo credit: Aspley State School P&C Association/Facebook

The name of the school was changed when the area received its official designation as Aspley in the year 1897. The name Aspley is thought to originate from the Aspley Orangery and Aspley Vineyard, which were owned by Morris during the 1860s. Morris had arrived from Nottinghamshire in England, where there existed an estate called Aspley Hall.

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Today, the school remains a source of pride for the community that raised the funds for its construction over 130 years ago. Named after the orchard that gave the area its current moniker, Aspley State School’s humble beginnings echo the story of the suburb itself.

From farming families to modern residents, generation after generation has passed through its doors. As the school celebrates more milestones ahead, the heritage-listed ‘A’ Block will continue standing as an enduring symbol of Aspley’s evolution – and its pioneering vision for education.

Published 28-May-2024

Mandarin Beginner’s Class for Kids Happening at Aspley State School

The Lyrebird Language Centre is conducting a Mandarin Beginner’s Class for kids every Sunday morning at the Aspley State School.

It is never too early to start learning a second language. In fact, studies have shown numerous benefits of learning foreign language to young children. Some of the benefits include:

  • Boosts problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, and listening skills
  • Improves the child’s memory and concentration
  • Gives the child the ability to multitask
  • Enhances creativity and mental flexibility

Apart from these benefits relating to a child’s cognitive development, children who are exposed early to other languages also learn to embody cultural sensitivity. This is primarily because language and culture are very much intertwined; and by learning a new language, it offers a child cultural understanding that will lead for him/her to display a more positive attitude towards the culture that is associated with that language. Hence, foreign language allows young children to open their minds and appreciate the world and its diversity even more.

Photo credit: www.pandatree.com

Lyrebird Language Centre

If you are interested in enrolling your child to a foreign language class, the Lyrebird Language Centre is opening a new Mandarin Beginner’s Class for Term 2 every Sunday morning at the Aspley State School.

Mandarin Beginner's Class for Kids
Photo credit: www.eventbrite.com.au

This class is ideal for kids who don’t speak Mandarin at home but would want to learn the language and overall an introduction to Chinese culture. The beginner’s class being offered by the Lyrebird Language Centre allows kids to have fun whilst learning through various games and songs. Aside from playing and singing, kids will also learn a few basic Chinese characters and the proper Chinese pronunciation called Pin Yin.

For 9 sessions, the goal of this Mandarin Beginner’s Class for kids is to cultivate their interest in learning Mandarin and also to build a proper foundation for their possible Mandarin study in the future.


Date28 April 2019 – 30 June 2019
Time9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

To know more about the classes being offered by the Lyrebird Language Centre, click here.