School’s out forever at Charlton State School


Even though it was a free-dress day, children wore their school badges with pride. (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


Leanne Muller says “it’s like ripping apart a family. The school means a lot to the community. The teachers were pretty sensational. My three children attended the school. We did 17 years here. It’s really sad, and to not be able to finish your primary years where you started is so sad.” Leanne’s youngest son Jayden will head to St Mary’s for year seven next year. (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


“Once we heard the news that it was officially closing we just tried to enjoy the rest of the time at the school, because it was out of our hands,” says Vicki Anderson. “Allie started here when she was young, and we were hoping Declan would get to do his schooling in a small school too. He only got to do grade one here. He’s going to Wellcamp next year, we figured that’s the closest thing to another small school. That’s the big shame, small schools closing means parents don’t have that option. Everybody knows each other at a small school.” (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


Maria and Steve Fatseas were both on hand to pick up Christalla, Anastasia, and Ted at three o’clock. “It’s been a sad day,” says Maria. “We’re all a bit emotional. I didn’t think this day would finally arrive. It was a unique school, close to Toowoomba yet a small country school.” “We’ll just get through today,” Steve says. “After that it’ll be all the good memories. And there’s definitely good memories there.” Maria has kept her children’s uniforms. “I even kept all the badges and certificates they received, and put them in a box. Their little Charlton packs. It’s history.” Maria spent her primary school years at the school too, and hopes the original school building will survive. “I don’t want to see a wrecking ball, the original building should be preserved and taken somewhere.” (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)


Gary Kendall studied grade one to seven at the school, and his two grandchildren Bailee and Blake Martin attended until today. “It’s bittersweet,” Gary says. “Sad to see the school go, and the kids have got to travel further to their new school now. It was a good country school, but this area is all going industrial, so I guess we all have to move out.” (ABC Southern Qld: Peter Gunders)

Children didn’t run out the gate at 3:01 on Friday afternoon, like they normally would on any other day at Charlton State School. They signed each other’s school shirts, and talked and played for one last time, as their parents reminisced.

Established in 1898, the school was one of six earmarked for closure in September this year.

The Government has yet to make public what the land will be used for, but according to a report released in November at least one new primary school will be needed in the area over the next decade.

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