New School Openings Prompt Catchment Changes Across Brisbane

Some families have been known to go to great lengths to secure spots at popular schools like Ascot State School. New school openings in Southeast Queensland may soon reshape enrollment boundaries, however, forcing parents to rethink where they choose to buy property or risk wait lists.

Read: Busy Sandgate Road in Ascot Could Soon Have a New Childcare Centre

Ascot State School, with high demand but a capacity of just 807 students, prioritises in-catchment enrollment. Some out-of-area families still attempt to secure spots, but with new schools opening, Ascot’s catchment area may shrink, sending local families elsewhere.

Photo credit: Ascot State School/Facebook

According to a real estate expert, some families from areas like Hendra and Clayfield outside the Ascot State School catchment boundaries still try every avenue to enrol their children there, even though they do not qualify based on zoning. 

Parents often try to buy homes in boundaries of schools with strong reputations like Ascot State School, but new maps could redraw these lines.

Photo credit: Ascot State School/Facebook

Parents have been known to line up outside the school overnight in hopes of securing a cherished spot, sometimes purely for nostalgia reasons if they attended the state school themselves.

This comes after the state government announced plans to open two new primary schools in Redland Bay and Ipswich in 2024. 

Construction on the Redland Bay site, Scenic Shores State School, is already underway for a Term 1 opening. Similarly, Bellbird Park State School in Ipswich will open all year levels from Prep to Year 6 starting Term 1 next year.

Artist’s impression of Scenic Shores State School (Photo credit:

The addition of these two schools will likely trigger adjustments to school catchment zones across Queensland, impacting hundreds of families.

Read: $40 Million Eagle Farm TAFE Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Centre Begins Construction

Education officials regularly review and update catchment zones based on new school openings, transportation, and other factors. Whilst parents understandably seek spots at preferred schools, officials recommend exploring all options within revised neighbourhood boundaries. With early awareness of coming changes, families can navigate transitions smoothly.

Published 26-October-2023

Therapy Dog in Training Introduced to Ascot State School Students

A 17-week-old male Cavoodle is currently undergoing training as a therapy dog at Ascot State School. ‘Winston’ spent time with Prep and Year 1 students and will continue to visit classes each week to get him acquainted with his Ascot family.

Beginning Term 4, students at Ascot State School were introduced to Winston. He is a hypo-allergenic Cavoodle – a breed of dog that is a cross between the Poodle and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He lives full-time with Ms Keong and her family and is currently in training to be a therapy dog.

Sometimes referred to as “comfort dogs”, therapy dogs provide companionship and emotional support to adults or children. They are different, though, from other working dogs such as guide dogs, police dogs or service dogs which are trained to do specific tasks on behalf of their owners. 

According to Guide Dogs Queensland, therapy dogs provide support for people who has either a mental, emotional or behavioural condition as well as those with illnesses or physical disabilities.

As part of his training program, he will be introduced to the environment and the students at Ascot SS. He will come to each class for a two-hour meet and greet with the adults and students one day each week and then build up to three full days throughout the next year. Winston will then work in some classrooms to provide support to students with their learning and help relieve their fears and anxieties.

Ascot: A Look Back in Time at One of Brisbane’s Premier Suburbs

Ascot has long been regarded as one of the best places to live in Brisbane, with its affluent neighbourhood and property values maintaining their strong growth. Take a look at its evolution into the blue-chip suburb that it is today.

With a tightly held collection of desirable and beautiful houses, Ascot is known for its picturesque tree-lined streets, hilly residential areas with lovely views of Brisbane, racecourses, and upmarket lifestyle precinct. 

Early Ascot

Historically, Ascot was occupied by the Aboriginal Turrbal group, described by explorer John Oxley as “the strongest and best-made muscular men I have seen in any country.”

The Turrbals built hunting grounds near the Brisbane River and established private ownership of specific sections of the area.

Wealthy settlers started moving into Ascot in the mid-1800s, following the clearing of lands and building of basic roads. Pastoralist James Sutherland bought a large portion of land in the area, which was later established as Sutherland Avenue, one of the highly sought-after locations in the suburb.

This section consists of 15 magnificent houses, including the heritage-listed house, Windmere. The Victorian-style house with its iron-lace verandahs is one of the finest examples of Queensland’s colonial architecture. 

The Racecourses

In the 1860s, the Eagle Farm Racecourse was established in Ascot in support of horse racing, one of the earliest sports in Brisbane. Up until the 1920s, racing stables were a frequent sight around the suburb.

Eagle Farm Racecourse
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland
Tinkledell wins a race 1930
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

The Doomben Racecourse opened several years later in the 1930s and, like the Eagle Farm Racecourse, became a prominent racecourse in South East Queensland and was well-attended by the region’s most affluent families.

Happy quartet at the races 1932
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

Doomben was originally a property of The Crown until 1915, when it was bought and turned into a sustainable racing track.

Presentation of the Tattersall's Cup in 1933
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

During World War II, the racecourses were primarily converted into Camp Ascot for the Allied troops. Several buildings and homes in the suburbs were also occupied by the U.S. forces, including the Ascot spy house, Nyrambla, where the Central Bureau intercepted and decoded Japanese transmissions. 

Today, the Brisbane Racing Club, formed in 2009, manages the racecourses and preserves the history of thoroughbred horse racing in Queensland.

Urban Growth in Ascot

The establishment of both racecourses spurred the growth of Ascot with the opening of railways and tram services that fostered the development of the residential areas, schools, and shopping strips. 

Aerial view of the residences
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

The Ascot Railway, built in the late 1880s, provided convenience for punters and racing aficionados who used to arrive via horse and buggy, shuttlecock boat, or cross river.

After World War I, the Ascot Railway Station was expanded with a second larger building and a pedestrian subway. It was electrified in the 1980s. Today, most of its antiquated features remain but it has been unstaffed and suspended since 1993. 

Ascot Railway in the 1880s
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

The Ascot State School opened in the 1920s on Pringle Street, following the dramatic reforms made in the Queensland Education system. Six years prior, Ascot locals determined a need to establish a state school but World War I disrupted its construction until 1919. 

When it finally opened, Ascot State School had an initial batch of 124 students, who were not just taught academics but also developed their aesthetic tastes, gardening skills, and sports abilities.

Chateau Nous

One of the significant homes to be built during Ascot’s astounding urban growth was Chateau Nous along Rupert Trc, which served as an early example of Functionalist domestic architecture in Brisbane.

 Chateau Nous, Russel Tce
Photo Credit: Queensland Heritage Listing

The house was built for Brisbane dentist George Stewart and his wife Eileen and was considered as ultra-modern during its time as it featured an electric dumb waiter and a line of electric kitchen appliances. 

Racecourse Road in Ascot
Photo Credit: Brisbane City Library

Today, Racecourse Road has become the prime location for the village shops and restaurants that also serve Hamilton locals. It boasts of over 130 businesses.

The tram that once ran down the centre of the street stopped service in the 1960s. Today, Ascot is serviced by four transport stops and TransLink’s CityCat terminal in Bretts Wharf. 

Ascot State School: A Century of Learning and Growth

Ascot State School, which turned 100 in 2020, is celebrating its centenary belatedly in May 2022 due to the pandemic. The school has earned a well-deserved reputation for offering high-quality education for young minds. Know more about how the school has evolved over the past hundred years.

Oliver Jonker

Early Beginnings : Block A 

Ascot State School stands in the land that was traditionally occupied by the Turrbal and Jagera people in the late 1850s, which was subdivided after the opening of railways to the Eagle Farm Racecourse in 1882. Housing and community developments, however, took place after the turn of the century when the electrified tram to the racecourse opened along Kingsford Smith Drive and Racecourse Road.

By 1909, the Queensland Education system was established and compulsory school attendance was enforced. As the student numbers increased, plans were set in place for a state school in Ascot. 

In May 1914, a section of  Pringle, Anthony and Mayfield streets was purchased for the state school and a public meeting took place to solidify the intention. Coming up with the funds to build the school, however, fell short due to World War I. 

The approval for Ascot State School was granted in June 1919 and the following year, in May 1920, the school opened with 124 students. This building, which is still existing as Block A, was an attractive brick building with three classrooms with large windows for natural lighting, a verandah, and a teachers’ room.

Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

A Beautiful Learning Environment

From the very start, Ascot State School was envisioned as a beautiful learning environment for the kids with its strict tree-planting program for colourful flowering trees like Jaracandas and Poincianas. It had an extensive school ground designed for play-based education, outdoor activities, and sports.

Thomas Henderson, the first headteacher, who stayed with the community for 20 years, believed that a beautiful school will inspire better learning. He also appreciated the value of libraries and arranged to have a library and reading room for Ascot State School. He hired an art specialist for the school’s ambitious arts and crafts program.

Ascot State School
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

Mr Henderson also thought of having mural paintings on classroom walls for educational purposes in the 1930s. Some of these included murals depicting the different agricultural, transport, and tourism industries of Queensland. There were no other murals of this kind in the region.

Meanwhile, the students were trained to learn gardening, which developed their aesthetic taste and improved their discipline. The kids also had access to an impressive array of playground equipment, a tennis court, and a swimming pool.

Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

Ascot State School followed the colonial curriculum, where kids are taught to read, write and learn arithmetic. Grammar, history, geography, needlework, and mechanics were subsequently introduced in the upper levels.

Community Engagement

By 1921, enrolment at Ascot State School doubled to 310 students thus additional funding from the government provided for the construction of the north wing, which is currently Block C. Here, additional play space and a gymnasium were incorporated along with more classrooms and a teachers’ room. The building was finished by 1923.

In 1927, Ascot State School had 568 students thus another plan to expand the site was underway. The addition of the southern block, now known as Block B, turned the school buildings into a U-shaped complex. This block with more classrooms for 200 kids officially opened in 1928.

In the 1920s, the Ascot Show Society had its annual event at the Ascot State School grounds. Fancy balls, fundraisers, walkathons, and various community events were also held in the suburb with the state school as the popular venue. 

Community Activity at Ascot State School
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia
Community Activity at Ascot State School
Photo Credit: National Library of Australia

Impacts of the WWII

Funding stalled during the Great Depression in 1929, delaying the expansion of Ascot State School despite the increasing school population until 1932, with the extension of Block C with two more classrooms and lavatory facilities. Block B also had new lavatory facilities and a dress shed for the swimming pool. Between 1933 to 1939, further extensions were made to Ascot State School with three-storey buildings and ground enhancements, as well as a new tennis court to replace the old one. 

During World War II, the Queensland Government made school attendance optional. Slit trenches were dug on the ground in case of Japanese air raids. The students and staff also focused on growing produce and flowers to supply hospitals and the Red Cross canteens. They also organised fundraising events for Australian soldiers.

Slit trenches dug at Ascot State School during World War II
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

After the war, Brisbane’s population swelled, demanding more state education support. In response, new buildings were added to Ascot State School from the 1950s to the 1960s. In 1955, extensive drainage work was undertaken at the school grounds, leading to the upgrade of the Meibush Oval. 

From the 1970s to the 1980s, several alterations were undertaken for Blocks A, B and C to address the growing student numbers. The pool was also enlarged, while landscaping was enhanced.  

Ascot State School Today

Ascot State School has maintained its ranking as one of the best schools in Brisbane. From 120 students in 1920, the school has maintained a maximum enrolment capacity of 807 students per year.

The school also takes pride in the performance of its students in literacy and numeracy. In the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), the school has a high percentage of students in the upper two bands in NAPLAN reading, with 87% in Year 3 in 2018.  

Photo Credit: Ascot State School 

The Ascot school community was supposed to celebrate its centennial in May 2020 but due to the pandemic restrictions, the celebratory affair has been moved to May 2022

Photo Credit: Ascot State School

Ascot State School has produced notable students like Nick Earls, author, Stephanie Rice, Olympic swimmer, Daniel Graham, film director, Henry George Fryberg, judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Adam Winning, radiologist, and musicians Grace Shaw and Avra Velis.