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A chronology of special education in Queensland

1875-1900 | 1900-1925 | 1925-1950 | 1950-1975 | 1975-2000 | 2000-2009



  • The State School for Spastic Children opened, with Hilda Paul as first head teacher.
  • Parent/community interest led to the establishment of the Queensland Subnormal Children's Welfare Association (later known as the Endeavour Foundation), with Professor Fred Schonell as honorary president. Department of Public Instruction was responsible for the teachers' salary component.


  • The report The Education of Mentally Handicapped Children in Queensland prepared by the Research and Guidance Branch and presented to the Director-General of Education.
  • A second report An Investigation into the Care and Treatment of Ineducable Children in Queensland was also prepared.
  • Three speech correctionists attached to the Schools for the Deaf and Blind were brought under direct departmental supervision.


  • The Department of Public Instruction established separate schools for students with mild intellectual disabilities. "Ineducable children" became the responsibility of the Director-General of Health.
  • The Association for the Preschool Education of Deaf Children was founded and offered early intervention programs for deaf children using the oral method, with Clare Minchin as first teacher-in-charge


  • The Queensland Subnormal Children's Welfare Association opens its first school at Bowen House, Bowen Hills, with Thelma McConnel as foundation principal.


  • Gladstone Road Junior Day School opens with 22 deaf children.

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  • Special Education Services Division established with William Wood as Director.
  • Visiting teacher service for deaf children begins with 4 teachers visiting 150 deaf students in the metropolitan area.


  • A separate school for the visually impaired is established (Narbethong), with Eric Searle as first principal.
  • School for multiply handicapped children is opened at Kangaroo Point by the Multiple Handicapped Association of Queensland, with Ian McDonald as foundation principal.
  • The Queensland School for the Deaf rebuilding program begins to cater for the vast increase in the number of deaf students as a result of rubella epidemics.
  • The Department of Education takes on the responsibility for employing teachers at the Yeerongpilly Preschool for Deaf Children.


  • The number of speech correctionists had reached 22.
  • The Department of Education recognised the need to employ speech therapists. Two graduates of the Speech Therapy course at the University of Queensland were employed.


  • Opportunity schools contained a total of 2000 places.


  • GF Berkeley appointed Director of Special Education Services.


  • Position of Inspector of Schools, Special Education, created and GJ Swan appointed.

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Last reviewed
10 January 2013
Last updated
10 January 2013