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Timeline North Arm History

( Source: North Arm State School Centenary 1985)  


In 1866 the Bank of Queensland closed its doors due to the severe financial depression, and on Good Friday of the same year a day of prayer was observed on account of the severity of the drought.  


In late 1867, a great impetus to settlement was provided by the discovery of gold at Gympie. A road to Gympie became an urgent priority. The existing route, a mountain track via Conondale, Obi Obi and Traveston, was described as 'something frightful'.  


Crown Lands Alienation Act became law, and the way for closer settlement was opened up. Under the selection system the land was first rented annually and had to be cleared and improved to certain standards within a given time period, following which the selector was granted a title to it. It was not, however, as easy as it may sound to fulfil these terms, and many selections were forfeited.  

The old Canando cattle run, which included North Arm, was opened up to selectors with some of the land being set aside for timber reserves around Mt Ninderry. 

The cattle industry was ruined by falling prices during the 1860's, as the country responded to severe financial depression.  


By mid 1868 a road to Gympie was virtually made, crossing the Maroochy River at a ford at Native Dog Flat (Yandina). They would travel by boat from the coast up the Maroochy River as far as Yandina, and then undertake the remaining thirty seven mile journey on foot to the Gympie goldfields.  

The surveyed route went up the Bottle and Glass Mountain, through the Belli Creek across the slopes of Mount Tuchekoi and over Skyring's ( or Bergin's ) Creek to Gympie. This was known as the wet weather road.  

There was apparently another route, known as the dry weather road, which crossed the North Arm of the Maroochy River at the present crossing just north of Yandina School, then went along the present Ninderry Road, crossed the Ninderry Range passing east of Mt Cooroy, along the Six Mile Creek, and through Traveston to Gympie.  


12 November  Cobb and Co started a coach run from Brisbane along the new road. It took two days from Brisbane to Gympie in good weather. Frequent changes of horses were necessary along the rough and often steep route, and in this way various staging posts became established. 

1868 - The enterprising James Low erected a coach depot which became the Maroochie Hotel. It is confusing to find that in early records Yandina is often called Maroochie.  


Thomas Chambers became one of the first settlers in the Fairhill ( North Arm) area when he applied on 20th March 1876 for 140 acres, at an annual rental of three pounds ten shillings.  

The Chambers brothers cut timber and floated it down the river to Maroochydore where a log boom was set up between the island at Cotton Tree and the south bank where the logs were caught. This island is now named Chambers Island in memory of the Chambers brothers.  


Maroochy Provisional School opened in October 1879. At this time Nambour was not even named and consisted of only a few scattered farms, the name Nambour being later taken from the name of one of the larger farms.  

The Maroochy Provisional School was sited halfway between Yandina, then an embryonic township, and the Nambour area, where settlement centred around Petrie Creek, then a major means of transport to the coast. The school was known as Lemon Tree School by the locals due to an old lemon tree which grew nearby, and was on the old road to Nambour on top of the range near the Quarry. It existed for the next twelve years, being closed in 1891.  


In North Arm, in September 1884, moves were afoot to establish a school. Following the procedures required by the Board of Education, a building committee was elected at a public meeting held on 27th September 1884. Committee members elected at this meeting were Charles Chambers, Peter Stevens, Fred Goeths, George Brown and James Donnelly.



February - The District Inspector, John Kilham, visited the district in February 1885, and described the proposed school site as follows:  

"The site is centrally situated on a timber reserve of which five acres have been surveyed and set apart for school purposes. It consists of stony ridges, covered with open forest, well grassed and sloping to the creek. Most of the selections are taken up on scrub lands, surrounding this timber reserve. A considerable amount of clearing has been done during the last two years. The ridge is dry, but in wet weather the roads through the scrub would be impassable.

The North Arm is a tributary of the Maroochy and as the tide rises over the crossing place, it would be impossible for children living on the Gympie Road side to attend at all times." 

The site is further described as being a little distance to the north of a road leading from Maroochy to Noosa ( Maroochy being Yandina).  

In 1985, the site belongs to the Lands Department and remains unbuilt on, being readily observable and accessible from the Old Coach Way at Fairhill



April - Progress on the school building was documented by the Committee Secretary, James Donnelly, who wrote in April 1885:  

"I beg to state that there is a room attached to the school for a teacher, single man preferred. The best way to send school requisites in order to reach in safety is by steamer to Maroochy River, and let me know and I will see them here safe. By steamer is also the best way for a teacher to come, or else by coach to Mooloolah and then take a horse and ride up. The building will be ready for occupation on the 12th of May, and I hope you will be able to supply us with a teacher as soon as possible. We have called the school Fairhill School, North Maroochy, which I hope will be satisfactory."



July - Several months later, in July 1885, Fred Goeths, the Treasurer of the Committee, gave further details about the school.

 The building is 26 feet by 12 feet, 8 feet being partitioned off for a teacher's room, verandah 5 feet wide, iron roof with spouting fixed ready for tank which will be supplied shortly, but water can be found near the school in all except very dry seasons.

The schoolroom has two double sash windows, twelve panes of glass in each window. The teacher's room has one window of the same description. Each room has a door, cedar and pine panelled, furnished with a carpenter's spring lock.

There is only one closet built, but we will put up another at once. As to the schoolroom furniture, there are four moveable desks and forms made to regulation height and width, ten feet long, also large presses for books etc. as well as blackboard, chair and other requirements as set down in the Regulations.

 The walls were made of wooden slabs and the Board required the Committee to close the gaps between the slabs of one of the walls. Water was provided by a 400 gallon ship's tank. 


1885 July 27th - The first teacher, William H Boyd, opened the Fairhill Provisional School on 27th July 1885. By the end of the same year the enrolment was eighteen pupils, with an average of fifteen being maintained.

The original admissions register records the names of 13 pupils who were present on the first day.  

These were August Wegner, Eusta Wegner, Wilhelmine Wegner, Hermann Goeths, Mary Goeths, Elizabeth Goeths, Amelia Goeths, Jane Chambers, Alice Chambers, Charles Chambers, Edward Brown, Emily Brown, Hannah Brown.  

Some of the occupations listed for parents of these children were timber-getters, farmers, inspector of brands, carpenters, engineers, tailors and lengthsmen.  

Children of the old bush schools mostly spent their lives within a few miles of where they were born. Clothes were almost invariable hand-me-downs as cloth was expensive and hard to come by. Shoes were even more difficult to come by and children travelled the rough roads barefoot, often walking five or six miles a day. Snakes, blacks and browns, are recorded as being plentiful in the district and children travelling to school might have been armed with a sharp knife and a small bottle of Condy's Crystals for some instant first aid.  

Families were often large and the people comparatively were a lot poorer, there being no financial assistance from the government as there is today. Children were often needed to do chores at home both before and after school and there are accounts of children falling asleep in class.  

Little consolation that there was no homework given. A ten year old child would have been expected to bring the cows in on the way home from school and to help with the milking for four to six hours a day.  

Attendance at school was compulsory within only three miles of a school The school provided a social centre for the people of North Arm,  school activities being a focus for the members of a hard working farming community to come together.  



Sugar cane was first recorded grown in 1886 on the property of Friedrich Goeths at North Arm. As there was no mill to crush the sugar cane, it was probably fed to cattle, providing an unspectacular beginning to the industry that came to dominate the agricultural scene over the next one hundred years.  

This land originally belonging to Friedrich Goeths, Portion 116, County of Canning, Parish of Maroochy, was purchased by the late Mr G F Davidson in 1907. It is in fact the same land upon which the North Arm School stands today.


1886 - School pupils enrolled at Fairhill Provisional School were Maria Jones, Leslie Landsborough, Bertha Schubert.  


School pupils enrolled at Fairhill Provisional School were William Chambers, Frank Wulff, John Wulff, Arthur Gridley, Henry Guilk, Edward Guilk, George Gridley, Annie Gridley, Ellen Gridley, Lena Wulff, Edward Andressen, Gustav Barganqast, Herman Barganqast, John Bargarqast, Annie Goeths.  


School pupils enrolled in 1888 at Fairhill Provisional School were Dora Barganqast, William Barganqast, Dora Andressen.  

1888 August Ninderry Agricultural Village

Prospects for the North Arm area looked rosy in 1886, when the new Land Act proclaimed the agricultural village of Ninderry on land adjoining the Fairhill school reserve. The agricultural village was opened for selection in August 1888, and occupied Portions 21V to 39V inclusive, on the north-east, south-east, and south-west corners of the present Fairhill and Ninderry Roads, plus portions 304V to 308V set aside for two village reserves.  

The concept was along the lines of an English village. Selectors were entitled to an allotment in the village where they were expected to live and to enjoy community life with fellow selectors and their selections where they went to work. Most selectors lived on their selections, and a tribute to their hard work is the fact that only one selection was forfeited. 1886 prices for Ninderry Agricultural Village were around one pound per acre.

It is interesting that a hundred years later in 1985, Ninderry Village is being awakened once more by housing development.  


School pupils enrolled in 1889 at Fairhill Provisional School were William O'Connor, John Hamilton, Frederick Grummett, Julius Manthey, Edward Best, Frank Newberry, Henry Barganqast.  


School pupils enrolled in 1890 at Fairhill Provisional School were Margaret Goeths, Theresa Ryan, Innes Stevens, Robert Stevens, George Stevens, Ellen Stevens, Samuel Best, Edith Gridley, Phillip Davenicks, John Davenicks, William Daveny.  


School pupils enrolled at Fairhill Provisional School were Ben Best, Olive Stevens, Mary Link, Ethel Grummitt, Emily Grummitt, Harriet Grummitt, Amy Robinson, Elizabeth Robinson, George Grummitt.  


School pupils enrolled in 1892 at Fairhill Provisional School were James Gridley, Elizabeth Link, James Grummitt, Cristina Goeths, Grace Best.  


School pupils enrolled in 1893 at Fairhill Provisional School were Ismay Hore, John Robinson, John Meissner, Annie Meissner, Arthur Meissner, Elizabeth Ross.


1893 -The 1893 Flood  

The year 1893 saw a great flood. School was definitely not on, as reports of oil cans (approximately 16 inches high) filling twice in one 24 hour period attest to the mercilessness of nature.

Eumundi main street was reported as being flooded, and in Yandina a boat was rowed between the railway station and the hotel.  

In Brisbane, steamers and boats were washed up in Queen Street. 

William Pettigrew's Tadornah Radjah sank on 9th February during the Great Flood, contributing to the downfall of his timber empire, as he was declared bankrupt in 1898.  


School pupils enrolled in 1894 at Fairhill Provisional School were William Meissner, George Kennedy, Mary Best, George Best, John Best, Charles Anderson, Thomas Ross, Henry Jarman, Mary Coulsen, Floyd Newberry, Ada M .., Peter M.., .M.., Frederick Burton, Lena Burton, Effie Burton, Alfred Burton.  


School pupils enrolled in 1895 at Fairhill Provisional School were Robert Link, Elizabeth Pollock, Seal Stevens, Henry Coulson, Mary Edwards, Ewan Low, Margaret Allan, Jane Best, Florence Jarman.  


School pupils enrolled in 1896 at Fairhill Provisional School were Clara Robinson, Amy Grummitt, Christina Waldrup, Ruby Best, Alice Jones, Thurza Newberry, Martha Stevens, Grace Best, Aaron Skinner.  


School pupils enrolled in 1897 at Fairhill Provisional School were Annie Link, Tommy Low, Ethel Edwards, Alfred Greer, William Griffiths, Esther Griffiths, Bella Coulson, Charles Low.  


School pupils enrolled in 1898 at Fairhill Provisional School were Edward Jarman, George Greer, Eva Grummitt, Clara Link, Hannah Britten, Pearlie Best, Edeth Robinson.  


School pupils enrolled in 1899 at Fairhill Provisional School were Albert Greer, Amy Wright, Mabel Grummitt, Ronald Low, Charles Edwards 


School pupils enrolled in 1900 at Fairhill Provisional School were Edith York, Alice York, Allen Worthington, Frederick Taege, Martha Taege, Charles Taege, William Taege, Norman Best.  


School pupils enrolled in 1901 at Fairhill Provisional School were Frederick Robinson, Mary Goeths, Herbert Sommerville, William Grummitt, Alexander Low.  


School pupils enrolled in 1902 at Fairhill Provisional School were Joseph Edwards, William Worthington, Edward Clark, Frank Clark, Edward Britten, Lily Hansen, Eva Hansen, Dagmar Hansen, Donald Hansen, Edith Wagner. 


School pupils enrolled in 1903 at Fairhill Provisional School were Elsie Browne, Henry Clark, Hilda Taege, Catherine Low, Mary Wegner, Leslie Best.  


School pupils enrolled in 1904 at Fairhill Provisional School were Pauline Grummitt.  


School pupils enrolled in 1905 at Fairhill Provisional School were James Britten, Fred Clark, Antony Krause.  


School pupils enrolled in 1906 at Fairhill Provisional School were Harold Low, Herbert Grummitt, Frederick Wegner, Francis Cole, Norman Cole, Alexander Colel, Harry Lythall, Edward Wright.


School pupils enrolled in 1907 at Fairhill Provisional School were Elsie Best, George Wardrop, Robert Wardrop, William Galt, Ada Krause, Grace Roberts, Ella Roberts, Joseph Roberts, Percy Britten, Thelma Cole, Ivy Grummitt, Albert Clark.


Fairhill Provisional School had become a State School in 1909 and seemed to be continuing to serve the needs of the growing community around North Arm, but only a few years later enrolments were falling off. Many parents blamed the state of the original building. An Inspector of Works described the building in 1913:

'It is a very poor structure being built originally with slab walls, but owing to the slabs falling in, the two gable walls were afterwards weatherboarded. Most of the framing is of saplings or split bush timber, and the corner stumps were squared and continued up as angle studs. The building has never been painted and about two and half years ago white ants were badly in the cove ceiling and other parts, necessitating an expenditure of about six pounds in repairs, and the committee have since kept the ants back by poisoning. The classroom is badly lighted, there being no gable windows and the only water supply is from a 400 gallon ship's tank. The building is not worth the expenditure necessary to put it into good repair, and the furniture and closets are in keeping. I would recommend that if attendance and position justifies, when funds permit, the present building be replaced by an up to date school. I may state that two and a half years ago the enrolment was 24 children whereas it is now only 14, having a considerable falling off. This was owing, I was informed, to the bad and draughty state of the building which by some parents is considered unsafe.'


School pupils enrolled in 1909 at Fairhill State School were Stewart Low, Thomas Wegner, Eileen Kennan, Robert Chapman, Margaret Chapman, Mary Chapman, Sydney Lettman, William Hayden, August Stumer, Alfred Worthington, Phyllis Ward, Ivy Bloomfield, Edwin Hamilton, Agnes Hall, Lily Stumer, Frank Stumer, Albert Stumer, Harry Ward, Winifred Ward, Minnie Lythall.


School pupils enrolled in 1910 at Fairhill State School were Clara Davison, George Davison, Emily Davison, John Davison.  






School pupils enrolled in 1911 at Fairhill State School were Julius Davison, James Hall, Doris Lancaster, Alice Britten.  

Notes from P&C minutes book

 1 April 1911

Discussion of repairs to Fairhill School building - stumps and posts to be dressed with Ant Cure and the roof to be partly re-ceiled. Department to pay for materials ( underlined). Secretary to do the repairs and Chairman to supervise!

Discussion re annual Arbor Day celebration - it was decided to hold it on Friday "nearest to the full moon" in May. The reason for this becomes clear in a later report of the Day, which says that following the evening dance people dispersed about 2am "by the light of the stars and the fading moon." These annual Arbor Day celebrations were greatly enjoyed though not always highly profitable. The cost of putting on the 1911 celebrations amounted to £3/13/10, whilst proceeds from tickets sold amounted to £3/3/- only. In true style the shortcomings were quickly rectified by a three shilling donation from a Committee member.


School pupils enrolled in 1912 at Fairhill State School were Ethel Verney.


School pupils enrolled in 1913 at Fairhill State School were John Hall, Archibald Best, Rose Stafford, Phyllis Ward, David Fountain, George Green, Walter Green, Francis Green, James Doig, Lillian Green.  


The District Inspector wrote the following report on 8th January 1914, about the need for a new building.  

"The school at Fairhill is about two and half miles from Yandina. The road to it is rather lonely, and the last half mile is uphill and stony. The school itself is built on the lower spur of a range which extends continuously on the eastern side of the locality, preventing in that direction any expansion of settlement that would have communication with Yandina. The school population is drawn, for the most part, from valleys that lie north and south of the spur on which the school is built. Dairying is the chief industry.  

I quite agree with the Inspector of Works when he says the building is beyond repair. White ants have eaten into the corner posts, the front and back walls are of slab that are ready to fall down, the lighting and ventilation are bad, and an old box with rough hinges and four pieces of pine for legs, does service as a press.  

It is fair to assume that the school will begin the new year with an enrolment of twenty of whom sixteen are children of permanent residence.

When at Fairhill, I noticed some settlement in the direction of North Arm on the railway line about two miles away. I got a horse and rode in that direction to investigate. I found that a few of the children thereabouts, one accompanied the teacher to Fairhill, while the remainder go by train to Yandina at 8.30am, returning after midday. Taking North Arm into consideration, a site a little to the north-west of Fairhill would be more central, but there are no roads, a creek without a bridge would have to be crossed and there would be the usual difficulty about a site.  

As the enrolment for the coming year will be about twenty, most of whom are under twelve years of age, and as there appears to be sufficient young children coming on to keep the school at about its present number, I would recommend the building of a room to accommodate about twenty pupils, on a site about 30 yards to the southwest of the present building.  

While on the site, I drew the attention of the Committee to several matters. If a new room is erected, they have promised to clear the ground near the school of a few large stumps and dry logs that are lying near. It would be well to see that this is done before the building has begun. They will also erect a fence around the school building to enable garden work to be done,if the Department will supply the K wire. At present, a few acres of the reserve adjacent to the school building are enclosed with a rough barbed wire fence. I would also recommend them to plant some good shade trees immediately west of the building to act as a breakwind, as the scrub that affords protection at present on that side is being felled." 

So the school the pioneers built was not longer good enough. Its thirty years of service were about to be ended, but before the school was started on the new site, a Mr James F Fountain, on 16th March 1914, informed the Department of a better site:

 "I am informed that there is to be a new school built at Fairhill and would like to draw your attention to the fact that the school at North Arm would be far more central to the greater number of children in the district, and would serve some who are not too far away from the present school, and are not having any education at all. When your inspector was at Fairhill he did not see anyone from the North Arm end of the district. If you would forward me any information I can put before the residents, I would be very much obliged."

District Inspector W Benbow visited the district on 31st July 1914, and submitted this report on the new school site:  

"After arguments of considerable length and variety, it was decided that red soil ridge, naturally well drained, a part of the farm belonging to Mr G F Davison, was the most central, suitable and convenient position for the erection of the school.  

All but two voted for this site which is about mid-way between Fairhill and North Arm. The owner of the land is willing to sell two acres."  


School pupils enrolled in 1914 at Fairhill State School were Pauline Grummitt.  


School pupils enrolled in 1915 at Fairhill State School were Christina Hall, Reta Morgan, James Davison, Scott Cleig, Richard Wright, George Ham, Henry Ham, Eric Ham, Gordon Russell, Masdeline Smales, Ruby Morgan, Harold McCarthy.  


15 September The new school was occupied on 17th September 1915, on which day the children had a picnic and a dance was held in the school building. The name was changed from Fairhill to North Arm in October 1915.




  • History 1915 -

    North Arm State School commenced at the present site in 1915. Here is a summary of our history from 1915 onwards.

  • North Arm State School Reunion 12th September 2015

    North Arm State School Reunion 12th September 2015

    North Arm State School will celebrate 130 years of history in September 2015 with a school reunion of past students and families from the Fairhill Provisional School and the North Arm State School.