By 1883 the European population of the area of Ayr was about 500, most of whom could be described as 'Bush Bachelors' who had moved north with the grazing industry. A large number were of Scottish descent. A group of citizens asked Mr Fred Myles, the Police Magistrate, to investigate the procedure involved in having a school built. Myles had a young family so he wrote to the Department of Education.

The reply from the Department allowed the choice of two options. The first required the local people to lease or purchase a suitable building for a school. The Department would then equip this and provide a teacher. The second option required the local people to pay one-fifth of the construction of a school which the Department would then furnish and equip before appointing a teacher. The local people would elect a 'Building Committee' which would liaise with the Education Department and raise the money. The building was positioned in the corner of the block - now the front lawn of the Principal's residence.

Ayr Mixed School, admitted its first pupils - nineteen in total - on its opening day, November 15, 1886.

In 1897 the original building was duplicated by an exact replica of the first. A larger shed was constructed as a boy's gymnasium in 1898. This played several roles in its useful life of nearly seventy years. The 1902 drought saw the use of well water and by 1906 the Department agreed to pay repair costs on a windmill pump.

1913 the school was relocated further down Graham Street. It was enlarged by two further rooms and the whole structure placed on seven feet blocks.

A further two rooms were added in 1919 and again in 1923 to cater for young families of returning soldiers and an influx of European migrants.

As early as January, 1913, requests were made to the Department of Public Instruction for the provision of High School courses but the 1914-18 war and a shortage of teachers deferred any action. Again in 1920 a committee 'to promote a separate High School for Ayr' was elected.

By 1952 the school population again reached 800 but the opening of the East Ayr Primary in 1953 took over three hundred of these immediately.

In the sixties both wings of four small rooms were refurbished by converting each to three rooms with louvered walls admitting more natural light and ventilation, thus making the teaching areas more pleasurable in our tropical summers. Individual furniture made for greater flexibility of seating within each area.

During the seventies a teaching block of four 'open area' classrooms was constructed and the original rooms demolished.

About twelve thousand pupils have passed through the Ayr State School during the century. Each has gone forward into the world of his era while the school changed slowly to mirror the society it served.

Last reviewed 10 October 2019
Last updated 10 October 2019