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Mena Creek State School’s 101st celebrations

18/June/2021
Mena Creek State School when it was first built in 1920.

THE Mena Creek State School community will celebrate 101 years of delivering quality education in 2021, with a full day of events this Saturday, after centenary celebrations were cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

On the actual day the school opened last year, a special assembly was held and attended by past, present, and future students, teachers, and community members, and a cake was cut.

Historical records indicate Mena Creek locals first began thinking about a school in mid-1912.

It was not until years later in early 1920 that Mena Creek School was erected and completed with Mabel Fenwick appointed as the school’s first teacher.

The school, which was a simple high-set timber building on sturdy timber stumps, was officially opened on March 15, 1920. 

Miss Fenwick was the first Principal, and 13 students were enrolled for the December quarter which increased to about 30 in 1926.

Mena Creek was an isolated community with only a few tracks connecting it to Innisfail and Silkwood.  The tram, train line, and horses provided transport and cars were a rare sight. 

From the beginning, Mena Creek was a multicultural school with families of many different races, and this has remained constant over the 100 years. 

Over 10 decades, the school community has experienced many challenges such as The Great Depression, World War II, cyclones, and, more recently, COVID-19. 

There have also been many changes, including the introduction of the telephone, cars, decimal currency, television, electricity, and septic toilet systems. 

Students started with slates, ink wells, and dipping pens, and in the 1990s moved onto modern technology such as computers, printers, fax machines, photocopiers, mobile phones, and the internet. 

Over the years, the Monkey bus, fancy dress balls at Paronella Park, break up days, and school fetes were some of the popular school highlights.

In 1970, the school celebrated its 50th jubilee and a bus shelter shed was built to mark the occasion.

It was a three-teacher school in the 1980s with 60 to 80 students, and prior to 1984 the school consisted of only one building with things becoming cramped due to increased numbers.

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A new ‘modular’ double classroom was opened in 1985, followed a year later by a covered play area, and a new toilet block in 1989.

In 2021, there are enough laptops and computers for each student.  Senior students can program Lego Mind Storm robots, and the school has a well-equipped library with a wide variety of books. 

There are also a great supply of sports equipment, musical instruments, and science resources. 

Mena Creek has two multi-age classrooms.  Prep to Year 3 students and Years 4 – 6 have separate classrooms, so teachers can focus more on individual students.  The school has spacious classrooms and students can participate in instrumental and class music and art. 

The colourful playgrounds are admired, and sport is always popular.  The school oval has a long jump pit, cricket pitch and tennis courts.  During Physical Education, students have been learning skills in rugby league, netball, and soccer.  
For further information on the 101st celebrations this Saturday, please visit Mena Creek State School’s 100 Year Reunion public group Facebook page.

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