​100th anniversary

2021 marked a major milestone for Brisbane State High School as we celebrated our school's 100th year centenary.

Celebrations at State High began on Friday 29 January with the Centenary Launch event on the Kurilpa Roof Terrace (I Block). This event marked the start of a year during which we reflected on our school's history and looked towards its bright future. Our distinguished guests, past students, staff and 2021 student leaders heard speeches from The Honourable Grace Grace MP, Minister for Education, Industrial Relations & Racing, and Executive Principal Mr Wade Haynes, while past student Mr Chris Bombolas (Class of 1978) was Master of Ceremonies for the event. Fourth-generation State High student Jade Bartholomeusz (Year 10) presented a speech about her family's history at State High, which began with her great-grandmother, Ms Audrey Smith, who graduated in 1931. Jade's grandfather, Mr Everard Bartholomeusz (Class of 1964), father Mr Mark Bartholomeusz (Class of 1994) and family—including sister Tayla Bartholomeusz (Year 9) - also attended this special occasion.​

Our students were engaged in the history of State High throughout the year through research projects, attendance at a number of school events, Centenary Rounds in our extra-curricular activities and Centenary Masterclasses with notable alumni, including Bluey composer Mr Joff Bush (Class of 2002), economist Dr Andrew Elek (Class of 1964) and Australian Volleyballer Mr Zane Christensen (Class of 2002).

In the school's centenary year, the State High Foundation invited State High alumni who are currently serving or are retired Defence Force personnel to attend the school's annual ANZAC Day Ceremony on Friday 23 April. Light refreshments were enjoyed before the ANZAC Day Ceremony, during which the Defence Force personnel were able to catch-up with one another and meet current staff and our 2021 Prefects.

As part of the celebrations, the school welcomed back more than 100 past students for the Seniors Return to State High event held on Thursday 3 June on the Kurilpa Roof Terrace (I Block). Many of the guests also participated in school tours and remarked on the incredible changes to the campus since their days at the old State High. Mr Chris Bombolas (Class of 1978) entertained the crowd as Master of Ceremonies while performances by the BSHS String Quartet and Choir did not disappoint, especially when the School Song was sung.

On Monday 19 July, State High celebrated the beginnings of the school. At the 2021 Foundation Day Ceremony, held in the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the school celebrated the 100 year milestone and provided an opportunity to formally recognise State High's new 2021 State High Legends. Following the ceremony, student leaders, Executive Principal Wade Haynes, current staff representatives and newly inducted Legends of State High attended a special reception in the Governor's Courtyard at Government House Brisbane, which was hosted by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC CVO, Governor of Queensland.

In October, we celebrated the book launch for 'Celebrating Brisbane State High School's Centenary 1921 – 2021' by Dr Louise Floyd and 'The first 50 Years of the Brisbane State High School' by Ms Beryl Roberts. Both publications celebrate State High's rich history – the stories of the people who spent time at State High: the academic achievers, the sports people, the creatives, the educators, the carers, the innovators and the characters. It draws on how the school has embraced or led societal change over the decades, leading achievements in all areas and shaping big ideas.

To create Timeless, the collective minds at State High began the journey of storytelling 100 years of State High history into a stage production. State High has partnered with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and the show is set to open on the Playhouse Stage at QPAC in June 2022. Throughout the creative process, students and staff have learned about the history of State High and had the privilege of working with some of Brisbane's most innovative choreographers, composers, writers, directors, musicians, animators, theatre practitioners and the incredible staff at QPAC to bring the show to life.

State High's 100 year anniversary journey is not yet over and continues in 2022. ​

Please visit our centenary website for more information.

Brisbane State High School Centenary Logo

90th anniversary

On Saturday 23 July 2011, State High celebrated its 90th Anniversary in the school grounds. The school opened its doors to over 3,000 current and past students, their families, past teachers and friends of State High.

Upper Campus faculties displayed exciting exhibits including a Science magic show and dissections, Japanese dancing, Humanities exhibits, and Technology tours. The Lower Campus hosted an Art Show, Drama and performances by school ensembles. The canteen, Music Sub-Committee and Languages faculty kept everyone fed with a barbecue, delicious cakes and French pastries.

On the oval, the Upper School welcomed Anglican Church Grammar School in the regular GPS First XI Football and First XV Rugby competitions. Around ‘The Cauldron’, as it was once known, school terraces and the verandas of E Block were packed with supporters, reminiscent of the heady days of the 1970s. During the football games, the Executive Principal, Mr Wade Haynes, was host to past football and rugby coaches and many special guests including the P&C Executive, local Brisbane City Councillor, Helen Abrahams, and State High Legend, Robin Gibson.

In the evening, the school, the P&C and Past Students’ Association hosted the 90th Anniversary Dinner on the F Block terrace, overlooking the floodlit oval with a backdrop of the city lights.

Past student, Amanda Newbery, was Master of Ceremonies for the evening. The speeches from past students, former Head of Treasury, Sir Leo Hielscher, and former Australian wicket keeper and current Channel 9 sports commentator, Ian Healy, were well received. Special guests also included a member of the Inaugural State High Legends, Olympic Gold Medallist, Norma Crocker-Fleming. The lighting and excellent food added to an exhilarating evening that culminated in 250 guests singing a rousing rendition of The School Song. ​

Celebrating 90 Years 

80th anniversary

2001 marked our 80th anniversar​y.

School Captains, Rozanne Botha and Jared Eisemann, conducted a whole school assembly at South Bank Piazza to commemorate this event. Mr David Sutton, the ninth Principal of Brisbane State High School, addressed the assembly.

Keynote speaker, Mr Drew Hutton, an historian and a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), spoke about the history of the local area.

He dedicated his address to Mr Paul Morgan, who was the School Captain of State High in 1964 when Mr Hutton was Captain at Brisbane Grammar School.

The student narrators, Natasha Nicholls, Martin Tozer and Matthew Okine, provided the assembly with a BSHS perspective in a world context—detailing world events in each era.

Music from each decade was performed by the BSHS Symphonic Band, Big Band, Rock Band and Choir.

Past student representatives from each era spoke about their memories of life at State High. The 1950s to 1990s were recollected by teachers who were past students. Seventeen staff members in attendance were past students.

75th anniversary

1996 marked the 100th anniversary of Brisbane State High School. A program of anniversary events to celebrate the major and significant aspects of State High life over seventy-five years, namely the sporting, artistic, historic, social, spiritual, academic and cultural aspects, was devised. The graphic theme for 1996, viz. the 75th Anniversary School Crest and 75th Anniversary Logo was the anniversary gift to the school from past student, The Honourable Michael Bryce AM AE KStJ, on behalf of the senior art class of 1955.

The 75th anniversary program included a range of exciting events including 75 Years of BSHS Sport, State of High Arts, Commemorative Plaque, Red and Blue Ball, Thanksgiving Service, Staff at State High, Return to State High, State High on Stage, Open Day and Golf Day.

The 75 Years of BSHS Sport event was an evening that reflected on the rich heritage that is State High sport. The best all time Cricket First XI and Rugby First XV, the 'Dream Team', was announced. Many reunions occurred on the night, notably the first Cricket premiership winning First XV from 1947, with captain Bob Sloggett and the last winning Head of the River crew of 1948 with stroke Chris Caris.

The auditorium in the recently converted BSHS Performing Arts Centre provided the ideal setting for the State of High Arts exhibition which was officially opened by prominent, award winning architect and past student, Robin Gibson.

On 1 July 1996, founding students, Dorothy Wadley nee Kent and Wallace McAlpine, unveiled a commemorative plaque on the site of the Normal School. Dorothy and Wallace were assisted by the 1996 School Captains, Norma Tran and Adam Coin. The plaque was placed on behalf of the school's Past Students' Association (PSA) to identify the original site of the school from 1921 – 1924; a significant addition to the historic fabric of our school and city. PSA president, Richard Anderson, officiated.

The Red and Blue Ball on 4 July in the Plaza Ballroom of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre was the ultimate birthday party. Channel 10 personality and past student, Sandra Sully, hosted this gala occasion, which featured a cameo performance by the vibrant State High Stage Band and the projection of significant images from the first 75 years. Geoff Fett, the P&C Association vice-president, chaired the organising committee responsible for the highlight of the 75th anniversary social calendar.

School Chaplain, Ian Loom, was instrumental in arranging the Thanksgiving Service conducted in St Andrew's Anglican Church, South Brisbane.

Staff at State High provided the opportunity for former staff members to re-establish their links with State High.

Return to State High exceeded all expectations, commencing with a full school assembly for past and present students. The 75th Anniversary plaque was unveiled by Mr Frank Young on behalf of the Education Department, the School Museum was opened by past student and former State High principal, Mr Ray FitzGerald, and the 75th Anniversary Time Capsule, donated by past student Bill Stoddart, was dedicated by the 1996 school captains, Norma Tran and Adam Coin. The School Museum was the Past Students' Association 75th anniversary gift to the school, and is a permanent display of documents and memorabilia outlining the history of Brisbane State High School.

State High on Stage, the major performing arts function in the anniversary calendar, was staged in the Concert Hall of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. The concert culminated with the Symphony Orchestra conducted by past student and former QSO conductor, Patrick Thomas M.B.E., premiering a commissioned work, 'Celebration', composed by past student, Steven Baker.

The Open Day centred around the BSHS main oval and the Farm courts with a mini regatta on the Milton Reach. Activities included rowing, cricket, soccer, basketball, tennis, athletics, hockey, gymnastics and rugby.

A full field teed off in blustery conditions for the 75th anniversary Golf Day. Camaraderie was the keynote, the field ranging from Year 8 students to past students from the 1930s.

It was identified that the focus for 1996 should be celebratory not monetary, and that all functions should be inclusive. Publicity, marketing of memorabilia and sponsorship were considered to be important elements in the planning for a successful anniversary year, and the concept of ensuring that permanent reminders of 1996 be created were developed. The various plaques, the time capsule, publications, including the school magazine, the School Museum and, perhaps your memories, are the physical realisation of this concept.

The philosophy identified in 1994 was adhered to, and this would not have been possible without the input from approximately, perhaps symbolically, 75 willing souls and 75 generous sponsors. Our thoughts now turn towards the future—our centenary in 2021 and our 125th anniversary and the opening of the time capsule in 2046.

Jubilee Celebrations 1925 – 1975

50 Years on the Musgrave Park site

Article from 1975 Annual Magazine 

1975 will be a year to remember, as it marked a milestone in the history of the school. Over the past 50 years, the School has expanded and developed in a variety of ways to become one of the leading secondary schools in Queensland.

To mark the occasion, a number of students who attended the School in 1925 were guests of honour at Jubilee Celebrations throughout the year.

The first of these celebrations was an Orchestral Concert organized by Mr Geoff Grantham, the School Music Specialists and the Music Sub-Committee. The Concert Programme included the School Orchestra, wind ensemble and wind quintet, Miss Lesley Young on piano, and Mitchell Andersson and Elizabeth Doherty, a violin duet. The highlight of the evening was the performance of the Jubilee Orchestra conducted by Mr Patrick Thomas. The personnel of this special orchestra consisted of the advanced members of the School Orchestra plus Past Students and. Parents of Present Students, including the Deputy Concert Master of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Mr Theo Lazaroff, and Mrs. Lazaroff. The evening was a tremendous success and all who attended thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

Following the concert, the School's Ladies' Auxiliary presented a "Cavalcade of Fashion" to a capacity audience. Many high fashion garments, some of which were reminiscent of the years from the 1920s, were presented by six well-known mannequins. Each segment of the parade was preceded by a selection of songs from the 1920s, through the 1930s and 40s and the following decades up to the present. These were sung by some of the students, to the music arranged by Mr Brebner. Talented Pam Dickey presented one of her own compositions which was greeted enthusiastically.

On 2 September, an 'Open Day' was held at the School. Parents and friends were invited to attend, guests of honour being several members of the Class of '25. Displays were presented by the various departments of the School: Audio-Visual, ATC, Geography, History, Art, Technical Drawing and Manual Arts, Home Economic, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Music and English. A gymnastics display was arranged in the Hall. The Guests of Honour were welcomed to the School by Mr FitzGerald and School Captain, Nick Barker, at a special luncheon arranged by the Ladies Auxiliary.

Jubilee Dinners were held this year by past students. The former attracted nearly three hundred past students. The guest speaker was Mr Helen Lucas, of Rockhampton. Two hundred and fifty 'old boys' attended their dinner and were addressed by Mr Col. McCallum, a past president of the State Secondary Schools Principal's Association and an 'old boy' of the early 1930 era. This year's Passing Out Parade also had a Jubilee theme, with an 'old boy' of the school, retired Colonel M. Bishop, reviewing the parade. It was held this year on a Sunday afternoon and was well attended by parents and past students.

The final Jubilee Year function was Speech Night at the Festival Hall where Mr FitzGerald officially welcomed the students of 1975 and thanked them for their participation in the year's celebration. In his annual report, he mentioned the many frustrations faced by the early students of the school before they finally moved to the School's present site in Musgrave Park.

Jubilee 1975

Last reviewed 09 February 2022
Last updated 09 February 2022