The Silkstone State School began its history as the Newtown State School on 1 July 1882. The school opened with an enrolment of 79 and, from its inception, began to thrive. By 1886 the enrolment had jumped to 200 and there were six teachers in all. In 1894 the enrolment had risen to 360.
Newtown School and grounds became far too small to accommodate the greatly increased numbers attending and, early last century, moves were made to find a new site for the school. Several sites for a new school were considered and the then Minister for Public Instruction, Hon. J. W. Blair, was interviewed. The Minister was enthusiastic about the proposal for a new school and finally it was decided to purchase the land from Glebe Road to Blackstone Road between Molloy Street and the boundary fence of Cameron’s Estate from the Molloy family for £2,000. The foundation stone for the new Silkstone School and school residence was laid by the Hon. J.W. Blair on 15 May 1915.
By July 1916, the enrolment at Silkstone had risen to 626. The rapid increase in home building in the vicinity of the school after World War II sent the attendance rising in leaps and bounds until 1957, when the enrolment rose to 1300. It was a school with a great reputation for scholarship and many pupils travelled long distances to attend.
Dr. L. D. Edwards, who later won distinction in public life and became Director-General of Education, was one of many of its pupils. Past students of more recent years include David Hamill, former State Treasurer and Rhodes Scholar, cricketer Craig McDermott and former Deputy Premier and Treasurer of Queensland Sir Llew Edwards. A large number of Ipswich residents, including a significant percentage of the school’s parents, today attest to having attended Silkstone during their school days.
For many years Silkstone remained the largest primary school in Queensland, reaching a peak of 1552 in 1962, and maintaining its well-deserved reputation for excellence in the academic, sporting and cultural spheres. The original Charles Kinne Hall was constructed in the seventies with funds raised by the Parents and Citizens Association of the day, augmented with government subsidies. It was named in recognition of the school’s longest serving principal who spent 27 enjoyable years at the helm from 1947 until 1974. The current Charles Kinne Hall has been constructed in 2010 as part of the “BER” initiative. A triple unit preschool was opened in 1975, as was a modern library building, adding to Silkstone’s already impressive range of facilities. A Prep Year building was built in 2005. 2008 saw the completion of a new OSHC building located adjacent to the tennis courts.
With the ageing of the district and the opening of other schools within its catchment area, the school began to experience a natural decline in its enrolment, which flattened out in the low 600’s in the early nineties. Today, its current student population stands at approximately 820 primary aged students and 110 prep students.
Silkstone’s facilities now feature a mixture of heritage and modern buildings nestled amongst large, shady trees within grounds occupying an entire residential block. A new Prep Year building, a Special Education Centre, Library, Music and Community Centre, Hall, Tuckshop and Dental Clinic are spaced around primary classrooms and amenities. The school residence now operates as the base for the Alternative Education Program, catering for long term suspended students from schools within the district. The swimming pool, athletics and playing ovals, tennis courts, basketball and handball areas, netball courts, cricket pitch and practice nets, plus multiple playground equipment sites, provide for a wide range of sporting and recreational pursuits.
Silkstone is a school with a long and proud tradition. Today we continue to strive for excellence in preparing students to meet the challenges of the future.