A teacher’s bid for land

My favourite record is a three-foolscap-page correspondence of James Dempsey, a noted Queensland educator and the long-serving head teacher at Junction Park, Annerley.

The correspondence is a report to the Department of Public Instruction, dated 29 August 1891. At the time the institution was called the Thompson Estate State School. On the surface, it appears as a boring description about adjoining land allotments that Dempsey wanted the department to purchase to add to the school property and also to create an access pathway for the children from Thompson Estate. Two things make the document much more exciting. First, Dempsey sketched a one foolscap-size map of the school set in the surrounding and emerging new Junction Park Estate. The information that can be gained from the map for the local history is astounding. For example, it shows a watercourse flowing down from just below the Annerley Junction. We also have the location of the community’s first football and cricket ground. Secondly, the correspondence is significant from the subsequent events that followed. The department did not purchase the land; Dempsey purchased it himself.

Neville Buch (researcher)

About Queensland State Archives

For more information about Queensland State Archives visit www.archives.qld.gov.au.

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