Morningside State School Gets New Building After Devastating Fire

More than two years after Morningside State School’s heritage building was destroyed by fire, the school’s community proudly welcomes a $6.5-million, three-storey learning centre in its place. 

Read: Kerry Foods Murarrie to More Open Jobs for New Food & Technology Centre

The entire community helped with the design and masterplan of the new centre, which houses six classrooms, a music room, practice room and green space. 

Education Minister Grace Grace led the official opening of the new building, along with Di Farmer, Member for Bulimba, who congratulated students, staff, and parents on their resilience.

In October 2018, fire gutted a six-classroom, heritage-listed building at Morningside State School. Apart from the classrooms, the music room, books, and resources were all destroyed.

“While the fire was a tragedy for the whole community, it proved that the Morningside State School spirit was well and truly alive. The wonderful staff, parents and P&C members did whatever was needed to get the school back up and running.

Ms Grace also thanked Balmoral State High School for immediately offering to accommodate the students and staff whilst the damage was cleared. Whilst Morningside State School was designing the new centre, temporary classrooms for the children were installed.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this school community,” said Ms Grace, who thanked everyone at the school, P&C and the Education Department for their hard work in making this building come to life.

Morningside State School Principal Sheryl Kennedy said the new building is loved by everyone.

“We have a beautiful new statement building that means children are learning in modern facilities and have extra space for play time,” she said.

“The open green space in the middle of the school is a wonderful gathering space for our children and the community and will be fully utilised in years to come. And the inclusion of lift and pathway in the Green Space has ensured there is now disability access across the school,” Ms Kennedy said.

The new learning centre was completed in November 2020 with the help of builder Kane Constructions. The works were completed earlier than expected and generated a total of 10 local jobs throughout construction.

Morningside State School to Get $1.5 Million Education Infrastructure State Funding

A record budget of $1.464 billion has been allocated by the State Government for education infrastructure projects to build new schools and upgrade the existing ones, including Morningside State School.

Photo Credit: The State of Queensland (Department of Education) 2019 /

Education Minister Grace Grace said that under the Queensland Government 2019-20 Budget, eight state schools will receive funding for planned enhancement and construction of new facilities this year.

“Over the past 12 months, my department has undertaken master planning of 35 inner city schools in Brisbane to ensure they have the infrastructure they need for the future,” Minister Grace said.

“I am pleased that this year’s budget includes funding to start bringing these master plans to fruition at eight schools – Toowong, Newmarket, Brisbane Central, New Farm, Morningside, Ithaca Creek, Windsor and Petrie Terrace state schools.

“This will see new and enhanced classrooms, libraries, canteens and administration areas built at these schools, which will make these great schools even better.

Rebuild and Recovery

The 2018 Morningside SS fire resulted in the loss of six classrooms, a music classroom, an art room, as well as smoke and water damage to the adjacent areas.

Photo Credit:The State of Queensland (Department of Education) 2019  /

The Department of Education placed three new buildings to replace the six classrooms spaces gutted by the fire. Plans for the replacement of the fire damaged school buildings is already being developed in coordination with the school.

Under the Budget 2019-20, $1.5 million will be allocated for the Morningside State School replacement building / fire rectification project.

School air-conditioning projects and four new state schools

The state will also invest an additional $100 million, spread over four years, for priority state school air-conditioning projects. This will bring the government’s total investment to $191 million over five years.

“This will include urgent replacement of air-conditioning units in schools in the Cooler Schools Zone and other priority school air-conditioning projects as identified through a review of state school air-conditioning needs,” Ms Grace said.

Photo Credit: The State of Queensland (Department of Education) 2019 /

Also included in the announcement is the allocation of funds for four additional new state schools to be built across the state.

“New primary and special schools will be built at Palmview and a new secondary school will be built at Caloundra South on the Sunshine Coast, and a new primary school will be built at Pimpama on the Gold Coast,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“These new state schools will enrol students for day 1, 2021 along with the new Inner City South State Secondary College, which we’re delivering in Dutton Park for Brisbane’s inner southern suburbs.

“This investment will see the total number of new schools opened by my government since 2015 increase to 26.”

Morningside State School Joins Heritage List as Testament to State Education Evolution

Morningside State School has been included into the Queensland Heritage Register in April 2018, primarily for its role in showcasing the evolution of state education architecture in the early to mid-20th century.

Located on Pashen Street in Morningside, the school is characteristic of typical school buildings designed by the State Government during that period.

The school established in 1926 includes four Sectional School Buildings built from 1926 to 1930; a Depression-era Brick Infants School Building built in 1937; the Highset Timber School Buildings built from 1956 to 1957; and the World War II memorial to the Rats of Tobruk.

Architectural Treasure

Morningside State School is deemed a heritage treasure for its architectural and aesthetic significance. The Depression-era Brick Infants School Building showcases a beautiful façade and demonstrates high-quality masonry and design using natural lighting and air circulation. The building’s roof, joinery and decorative elements all represent the style of the 1930s era.

Highset Timber School Building (Photo credit:

The Sectional School Buildings are representative of how timber school designs evolved in the late 1920s.

It also shows how the Department of Public Works considered educational and climatic challenges in coming up with lighting and ventilation design.

Historical Significance

The school’s historical significance is a major factor for being considered a heritage treasure. Aside from representing the culture and architectural style of the early to mid-20th century, the school also took part in important portions of Queensland’s history.

During the Great Depression that started in 1929, the Queensland Government provided relief work for the unemployed to counter the effects of the economic situation. Among the jobs made available were painting, repairs and grounds improvement works at the school.

In 1932, the construction of the Brick School Building was central to the government’s program to increase employment of local workers and buy local building materials.

When World War II broke out, slit trenches were built at Queensland state schools, including Morningside State School, to protect students from Japanese air raids. The school’s Brick Infants School Building became an emergency hospital for air raid casualties. Female students sewed and knitted items for the Australian Comforts Fund, whilst the Junior Red Cross brought gifts to a military hospital.

After the war, the school expanded as demand for state education grew. In 2014, an ANZAC memorial was constructed to commemorate the Rats of Tobruk. It stands to tell of the school community’s involvement during the war.

Today, Morningside State School continues to provide quality education at its original site. Its inclusion into the Heritage Register cements its importance as a key social focus for the community.

Battle Drowning by Letting your Kids “Learn2Swim” at the Hampton Swim School in Morningside

This year’s “Learn2Swim Week” initiative kicks off at the Hampton Swim School on Monday, the 25th, all the way to Friday, the 29th of September. As a Learn2Swim partner, the Hampton Swim School will be holding free introductory swimming classes at both of their pools in Morningside State School and Norman Park State School.

Photo credit:

Julia Ham, a former Australian swimming representative, established the Hampton Swim School in 1999. The swim school provides essential water safety and life skills through their tailoured programs for all ages, from infancy to adulthood.


Learn2Swim 2017

Photo credit:

Learn2Swim Week is an initiative backed by the Kids Alive – Do The Five campaign that will run from the 23rd of September to the 2nd of October. The goal of the initiative is to give every child, especially children under 5 years, the chance to learn swimming. Learn2Swim is about reminding everyone, particularly parents, about the importance of water safety. This initiative will educate parents that teaching basic swimming to kids under 5 years of age should be encouraged.

According to Kids Alive, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children, worldwide. In the 2017 Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report, there were 29 reported drowning deaths in children under the age bracket of 0-4 years old between the 1st of July 2016 and the 30th of June 2017. This is a 32 percent increase on last year’s drowning deaths. Swimming pools were the leading location for drowning among this age group.

Hundreds of swim schools from all over Australia, including the Hampton Swim School, are participating to reduce this drowning statistics through teaching vital water safety and life skills.


Kids Alive – Do The Five

Laurie Lawrence, former Australian Rugby Union Representative and Olympic and World Champion swim coach, established Kids Alive – Do The Five in 1998 to combat drowning. This campaign focuses on informing the public about the five fundamental steps to reduce the risk of preschool drowning.

According to the Kids Alive, here are the five important proactive tips to prevent drowning.


1. Fence the Pool.

Photo credit:

The mandatory pool fencing legislation was introduced in 1991, requiring all pools to be properly fenced. Despite this, children under 5 years of age continue to drown in backyard pools due to poor pool fencing. It’s important that pool owners abide the state government’s pool fencing legislation.

Pool fence should be well-maintained. Always clear the fence; children can climb over using objects leaning against it. Failure to comply with the fencing legislation can result to heavy fines; tragically, it can also result to accidents.


2. Shut the Gate

Photo credit:

Never leave the gates open; it’s one of the causes of drowning accidents. Self-closing hinges on pool gates are required. The latch should always be checked and replaced if it’s faulty. Do remember that all doors, including dog doors and cat doors if you have a backyard pool, should be closed especially if there are infants crawling around. Small children can easily crawl through small openings.


3. Learn to Swim

Photo credit:

Of course, it’s vital that kids know how to swim. Learn2Swim is a good example of swimming classes that provide free water safety lessons to all parents and their children. Learning to swim does not just eliminates some risks of drowning, but also provides health benefits to children.

Laurie was afflicted by Bronchiectasis during his childhood. It is a condition where the bronchial tubes of the lungs are permanently damaged, widened, and thickened. He was advised to pursue swimming to improve his lung function after his surgery. This turned out to be life-changing advice because he found his real passion and great love for swimming.

Swimming is one of the healthiest ways to get your kids moving, but still remains to be a relaxing form of exercise. Moving the whole body against the resistance of the water is a great workout. It builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. More importantly, swimming helps maintain a healthy heart and lungs.


4. Supervise

Photo credit:

Supervision around water is an absolute necessity. Children in their early years are curious and often drawn to water. Do not, by any chance, leave your kids unattended. Floatation devices are not reliable and should not replace adult supervision.

There are also instances that parents and guardians leave small kids under the supervision of older siblings or older kids. This is not advisable; they’re also kids. They can easily be distracted and may not be able to act in an emergency situation. The bottomline is that adults are responsible for the supervision of children.


5. Learn to Resuscitate

Photo credit:

No matter how vigilant you are in taking safety precautions, accidents can always happen. Think of Murphy’s Law. It’s important that every parent and every supervising adult learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Prompt, competent first aid can save lives.

There are different ways to perform CPR to toddlers and babies. St. John Ambulance Australia and Life International Training provide first aid trainings, including CPR to kids and infants.

Get involved! Let your kids “Learn2Swim”. Visit the Hampton Swim School website and register for the free classes. You can also visit Learn2Swim website to check out other schools that will participate in this year’s initiative to reduce the risk of drowning.