History – Kangaroo Inn Area School

A Social History of the Establishment of Kangaroo Inn Area School
By Mark Greenfield

The History of Kangaroo Inn Area School

On February 5th, 1963, Kangaroo Inn first opened its doors to students. At 8.30am the Head Master met two students who had arrived by push bike. Then at 8.50am the silence of the bush was broken with the arrival of six buses carrying 236 uncertain children.’

War Cry – 1965

Kangaroo Inn is our fame,

Never such a finer name,

Here we go romp, romp, romp,

Battle on stomp, stomp, stomp,

Til at last we reach the top,

Here we go rah, rah, rah,

All for Kangaroo Inn Area.

(Kangaroo Inn Area School Official Opening Souvenir Programme, 1965)

Kangaroo Inn Area School was officially opened in 1965 but the planning for a school to meet the needs of the rapidly developing area began in 1958. Building commenced in 1962 after clearing the scrub land opposite the Kangaroo Inn ruins which was chosen due to its central position. It supported the educational needs especially the secondary needs of the following communities; Bray, Reedy Creek, Conmurra, Furner, Greenways and Mount Bruce. Kangaroo Inn was admired as being the ‘most beautiful and unique school in the state.’

Over the years the school has grown in size and facilities with a number of additional buildings being added including transportable classrooms and library facilities, canteen facilities, sporting facilities including the hall, squash courts and tennis courts. More recent improvements have focussed on the library upgrade, additional computer and wireless technology and Home Economics and Technical Studies upgrades.  Bushfire safety has been an ongoing concern since the 1970’s when the Minister of Education visited KIAS recommending installing an adequate fire system. Recent upgrades to this have included installation of bushfire ready tanks and pumps and a sprinkler system on the Hall roof.

The establishment of an agricultural program was first discussed in 1969 and put in place in the late 1970’s largely due to community involvement and a grant from the Schools Commission for $1584 for building materials for the United Fowls and Vegetables group. It has been integral to the school ever since with students currently showing steers and goats at the Adelaide Show with regular success.

The Child Parent Centre (CPC) began in 1976 with the introduction of a Playgroup leading to the current preschool program in 1980 and in 2003 the Child Care on Wheels (CCOWS) commenced a much needed childcare program one day a week at Kangaroo Inn. The preschool program now includes a 3 year old program and a weekly playgroup.

Kangaroo Inn currently has an enrolment of 111 students and staff of  24, teachers, ancillary staff and bus drivers.

In 2019-2023 funding for school projects was over $1,000,000.

Projects include

  • Developing the Centre for Sustainable Living which incorporates a fish farm, vegetable garden, orchard, vineyard, composting and other projects

  • Purchasing a bus to travel to Hatherleigh and pick up students

  • Water upgrade including fire services

  • Internal painting and redevelopment of toilet facilities

  • Preschool yard upgrade

  • Development of a Frisbee Golf course as a secondary collaborative learning project

  • Internet upgrade as part of the Department for Education’s SWIFT project

In 2023 we have a Preschool class, three primary classes and secondary students studying a range of subjects offered by face to face teachers onsite, Open Access through the computer network and at other local secondary schools through the Wattle Range Education Network (WREN).

Some interesting KIAS facts

  • In 1973 slacks were discussed as a part of the school uniform for girls but the Welfare Club voted against them

  • In 1967 the enrolment was 289

  • An Open Space classroom was set up in 1971 with 66 year 5,6,and 7 students amid much discussion

  • 1972 saw the first KIAS victory at Interschool Athletics

  • The School Band consisting of 35 members was very popular in 1982

  • 1983 saw the Ash Wednesday Bushfires sweep through Kangaroo Inn and resulted in changes to the bushfire policy and a very welcome donation from Clontarf Beach StateSchool in Qld of $3032.79

  • Computers also arrived in 1983

  • Year 12 was offered for the first time to 2 students in 1985

  • Neil MacDonald Farm was established in the 1980’s with a donation of 50 acres of land 1.5 km from the school on the Beachport Road.

  • Front Office re-developed occurred in the early 1990’s

  • Science labs refurbished in 1997

  • Early 2000’s – Music room removed and kitchen garden established

  • Deceased former students remembered in Westley’s Walk, Michael Guyett Bus Shelter, Jarrod Stehbens Gates, Tyson Atkinson, Jed Kirkland and Ben Faulkner Memorial Garden

  • Squash Courts removed and Sprinklers installed on the Hall roof in 2011 to improve fire safety

  • Ongoing play area improvement continues with new play equipment purchased regularly, revitalised garden areas, new gazebo and pergolas and resurfacing the playing courts