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The Cairns Technical College and High School building (in 2014 called Block A of Cairns State High School) was constructed in 1941, as part of the Queensland Government’s unemployment relief program of the 1930s.
Designed to accommodate secondary and technical classes, the building demonstrates the approach of the Queensland Government to secondary and technical education at that time, with both streams being co-located.
The design of high school buildings was the responsibility of the Department of Public Works. Like other Australian colonies, the Queensland Government standardised its plans for school buildings to ensure consistency and economy. Over time, government architects made refinements to these designs to reflect the changing educational priorities. Queensland school buildings were particularly innovative in their approach to climate control, lighting, and ventilation.
In the early days, the establishment of primary schools was considered paramount to the growth of Queensland communities. However, the government was slow to establish state secondary education. It was not until 1912 that a high school system was implemented and separate high schools established in major towns.
Notable for its substantially intact exterior, the Cairns Technical College and High School building is important in demonstrating the characteristics of a brick school building designed by the Department of Public Works in the 1930s. The principal characteristics include having an expressive and skilful neo-classical styling, three-storeyed form, high quality design, materials and construction, plan layout with north facing verandah, teacher’s rooms, hat and cloak rooms, south facing classrooms that are well ventilated and day lit, and understorey play space.
The school was the only purpose-built state high school north of Townsville until 1960.
In 2014 the Cairns Technical College and High School building is known as Block A and continues in use as a teaching building for the school.

Last updated 22 December 2014    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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