Queensland Family History Society Inc


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About Queensland School Pupils index


The Queensland Family History Society is pleased to present this online edition of its continuing Queensland School Pupils Index project, indexing admission and other records of school enrolments in Queensland.

The index includes almost 2,390,000 names drawn from over 1150 schools and more than 900 sources. Dates covered range from 1860 to 2013. Where we have extracted the pupil names directly from admission registers, a 30 year closure has been observed as recommended by Education Queensland. Schools range from large city ones, with admissions in the thousands, to country one-teacher schools with a total enrolment of hundreds. Some schools have long ceased to exist; others are still functioning.

The index covers provisional, state, and private schools. In the early days, provisional schools were set up by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) at a request from parents who generally agreed to provide the building for school purposes and some of the essential requirements. The DPI, later the Education Department, supplied the teacher and the rest of the requisites. This was an interim measure taken by both parties to provide schooling for needy children until it could be established that a permanent school was really needed. A state school would then be built. Some provisional schools never made the transition to a state school as they closed due to lack of attendance.

The disproportionate number of provisional schools in the colonial period helped keep the overall standard of buildings and teaching down. In 1908 there were 640 of these essentially makeshift schools compared with only 461 state schools. A significant development came in 1909 when the minimum attendance required for a state school was reduced from 30 to 12. This led to the reclassification of large numbers of provisional schools as state schools, and meant that new districts applying for a school were more likely to be granted a state school. Consequently, in 1909 there were 1059 state schools and only 79 provisional schools in Queensland. (https://education.qld.gov.au/about/history/Documents/primary-education.pdf)

Sources from which the names are drawn are diverse: actual school admission registers, school histories covering a significant anniversary (Jubilee, Golden, Centenary) in the life of a school, and local histories which don’t specifically focus on the school but include a pupil list as part of their story.

Many sources provide additional information on the family including age at admission, birth date, parent’s name and occupation, religion, address – all very useful to a genealogist and family historian. Schools are a source we cannot afford to overlook.

Whatever the source, care has been taken to make this index as faithful to that source as possible. Some admission registers, poorly recorded in the first instance, or having deteriorated through time or neglect, provided a challenge for transcribers. Some lists taken from the published sources presented with obvious errors but as a matter of policy were deemed to be an accurate transcription and indexed as such.

The index of Queensland School Pupils has been compiled by volunteers from the Queensland Family History Society between 1995 and 2016. It has been a team effort and QFHS extends special thanks to all who have contributed to the coordination, indexing, and publication. We also gratefully acknowledge those people who have donated copies of admission registers, or have allowed us to make copies of them. By your generosity QFHS has been able to gather together these lists to preserve and store them in a consolidated form for future generations. Thank you.

The index contains the following fields:

  • Surname: Pupil’s name. The spelling may differ from known ones. We advise checking all variants. A ‘dash’ or ‘?’ indicates the surname was not given or cannot be deciphered.
  • Given names: As taken from the source, usually full given name, sometimes first name followed by initial, sometimes initials only. A dash (-) or question mark (?) means not given or cannot be deciphered.
  • School: Stored as a code, but displayed online in full.
  • Date/Year: Date of enrolment is sometimes supplied. The year of enrolment, depending on the source, is usually given; sometimes when a register is missing, only a time period (e.g. 1900-1927) is given.
  • Source: Stored as a code, but displayed online in full.
  • Reference: Reference gives an identifying number to allow location of the entry in the source. The page number (or admission number if given) in the source for a book, an admission number, or left blank (the year is often enough to locate the item) if the source is an admission register.

Occasionally a name will appear in the index twice at the same school, with the same date of admission and either the same or different admission number. This can occur when the register is rewritten during the time a pupil is at a school. Both entries should be examined, though the second entry may be difficult to locate, since additional information was often added when the register was rewritten.