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History

For more Thallon history, you can purchase our Thallon Centenary book 1911 - 2011 from the Thallon P&C for $30.00 plus postage. Please contact the Thallon State School office.

Thallon area

The area around Thallon was first mentioned in reports by Sir Thomas Mitchell during his second journey through Queensland. The expedition was held up on a sand ridge due to flooding of the Moonie River in 1846. This site is where the Bullamon Plains homestead now stands. The town of Thallon was first gazetted as a town in 1911 and was named after the commissioner of railways of the time. The town was established as both a train link for wool transportation to Goondiwindi and a Cobb and Co changing station for the road link between St George and Mungindi.

Thallon continued to grow and prosper as a town with running water being supplied in 1959 after a weir was placed over the Moonie River and the town received electricity in 1961.

Thallon State School

In 1911 the number of families in the district of Bullamon increased due to the pending arrival of the railway line, which brought many extra families and workers to the area. Due to the increase in numbers of children it was decided by the parents that they would send a list of prospective pupils with a request for a school to the Department of Public Instruction. The Department agreed to set up a provisional school on the railway reserve. From 1869 provisional schools could be established with as few as 12 children if the local people were willing to provide some sort of school building and accommodation for a teacher. Provisional schools often became permanent state schools.

There were five families at the school in 1911 which consisted of one boy and two girls under six, ten boys and seven girls between the ages of six and twelve and two boys and seven girls over twelve, giving a total enrolment of 29. Compulsory and free education was introduced by the State Education Act 1875 for children aged 6 to 12 years but the compulsory clauses of the Act were not gazetted until 1900. The school leaving age was raised to 14 in 1912 and to 15 in 1964.

Mr John Mccreadie Simpson was appointed as the first head teacher to teach at the Bullamon Provisional School on 1 July 1911 and remained at the school until 11 march 1912, when he transferred to Dundee State School (also known as 'Dundee Camp' Provisional School). When Mr Simpson arrived there was no sign of the tents that were requisitioned for his use. The railway gangs were due to move on and he was concerned that there would be no need for him to stay, however once a temporary tarpaulin was erected, he was able to commence teaching and the numbers of pupils began to rise. Bullamon Provisional School opened 24 July 1911. Mr Simpson wrote to the Department of Public Instruction on 28 July 1911, reporting that ‘so far no school of a proper kind has been erected here. A temporary structure in the form of a large tarpaulin has been put up, under which instruction is at present given. There is no blackboard.’ This received the commitment to have a ‘hyloplate board’ forwarded as early as possible.

By August 1911 the Department was becoming anxious, as the tents had still not arrived. Eventually the two wooden-framed tents arrived at the end of the year, one being for the school and one for the use of the teacher. Tent schools were very primitive; sometimes they had a plain timber roof and two simple walls on the western and southern sides with canvas elsewhere.

In Thallon it certainly had no windows and no doors that could be locked. They were small and uncomfortable and very hot in the summer and provided little protection in winter. The dirt floor of raw sand was not much help and the flies and mosquitoes were troublesome. The prickly pear was so thick at this time that the children had a special track worn in to the school and of course they had no playground.

The school was closed from 29 March-16 April, 1912 for the want of a teacher. Mr Hugh Philip arrived and commenced as the new principal in April 1912. He transferred to Blackwater in July 1913. In May 1912, Mr Alfred Rolph, the town’s blacksmith and member of the school board wrote to the Department requesting that a proper school be built as the numbers had risen to 31 with the prospect of more. At one stage during 1912 there were six families enrolled at the school, made up of three boys under six, eighteen boys and nine girls between the age of six and twelve, and four boys and five girls over twelve, giving a total enrolment of 39.

During this period the township on the Moonie at Bullamon had acquired an identity and a new name, Thallon. On 8 August 1912 the Department officially changed the name of the school from Bullamon Provisional School to Thallon State School.

Inspector Kemp was sent out from Warwick and he found that the district was growing and he made a very positive recommendation for a new school to be built without delay.

Mr Kemp was the person responsible for suggesting the present site for the building, as he felt the original site on the sand ridge opposite what is now the British Petroleum fuel depot was too severely infested with prickly pear and he thought that the present site being half black soil would be a better proposition.

The government in council approved the establishment of a state school to supersede the existing tent school at Thallon.

Tenders were called and the successful one of £288.15s submitted by Mr Syd Noyes was notified on 18 April 1913. The building was to be 24 ft x 16 ft with verandahs front and back and stairs from each side. The department also agreed to fence the grounds with palings in an attempt to keep the rabbits out.

On 23 July 1913, Mr Alfred Rolph, secretary of the school committee, forwarded a cheque for £20.0s to the Department in compliance with rule nine of the school regulations, that required the public to find one fifth of the money required to enable the building of a paling fence to keep the rabbits out of the planned gardens.

Miss Gertrude Jane Baker arrived in July 1913 and was the first head teacher to occupy the new school building on August 25, 1913.

Miss Gertrude Jane Baker was born in Goondiwindi 29 November 1890 and died 4 July 1956 at Gladstone. Her parents were Franche and Fanny Baker of Goondiwindi.

Miss Baker was a typist in Goondiwindi before becoming a teacher.

Her last day of teaching at Thallon State School was 11 December 1914.

She commenced teaching at Figton school in 1915 and continued to teach there until she was married.

Gertrude married August Erbacher from Toowoomba in 1917. They had nine children, four boys and five girls.

Gertrude spent the rest of her life after being married living in north Queensland.

The old tent school was sold to a local resident, Mr A Mitchell who eventually moved it to what was later known as Orange Grove, which was located where Geoff and Shirley Southern’s old house was opposite the wheat board.

A meeting was held to discuss arrangements that were being made for the holding of a picnic for the children, with a ball at night, on 6 September 1913, the occasion being the opening of the new public school. There was a large attendance at the meeting which alone indicated the amount of interest that was being taken in the function by residents.

Mr Mcgeever was voted to the chair. A motion was carried ‘that the picnic would be held in the new school grounds on September 6, and the children were to assemble at 9.30 am’. Subscription lists were issued to the children, per their school mistress (miss baker), and already the sum of £6.3s had been collected.

The Queensland school readers are fondly remembered by many in the community as the red readers.

They were introduced into schools in 1915 after a long search for reading material appropriate to Queensland. This was the first time a set of readers was specifically written for Queensland school children. Teachers had relied on many different readers including the Irish national readers, Australian readers and the royal readers, before the publication of the first Queensland school readers. The readers and their predecessors were used to teach thousands of Queensland children to read. Along with the skill and love of reading, the aim of the readers was to encourage the development of good character. The content of the readers included a treasure trove of facts, moral tales, fables and poetry that reflect the values and concerns of the times in which they were written. The Australian and Queensland content in the Queensland school readers had increased compared to the royal readers. Such content included the Australian flag, water in a thirsty land, where the coral lies, droughts, some Queensland goldfields, the Great Barrier Reef, creeks out west, Australia, Chillagoe caves, aboriginal rock pictures, a bush fire, the ascent of Bellenden Ker, the Australian Alps and three Australian poets. Other timeless stories and poems included The Little March Girl, Florence Nightingale, a Christmas Carol and Robinson Crusoe and Friday.

The 1930 syllabus rearranged the structure of primary school classes into a preparatory grade followed by grades one to seven. The Queensland school readers were modified to reflect the new grade structures. The little primer and the little reader, parts 1 and 2 were used by teachers with the youngest children while the readers expanded to seven books. The content of the readers varied from edition to edition. Content judged to be valuable in the first series was retained in the next edition, while new material was added and the order of lessons rearranged. From 1930, the illustrations in the books included colour plates to make the books more attractive to children. A list of stories with their most difficult words featured at the end of each book. The number of grades increased by one to eight in 1952 which necessitated a corresponding increase in the number of readers to eight books.