A centennial celebration for Kirra Hill

A southern Gold Coast community icon celebrates its 100th birthday today.

Mayor Tom Tate joined Divisional Councillor Gail O’Neill and former student Sue Burnett at the Kirra Hill Community and Cultural Centre to mark the centenary of the historic site.

Kirra Hill began as the Coolangatta State School. It was built in response to the 1919 Spanish Flu, when the Qld/NSW border closed and children could no longer attend Tweed Heads Public School.

Opened on 2 October 1920 by the Queensland Governor, Sir Matthew Nathan, the two-classroom school, built to accommodate 100 students, began with 57 students.

Mayor Tate said Kirra Hill had become a popular and much loved centre, known for its scenic location as well as its range of community activities.

“It’s quite apt that in the midst of this pandemic we are celebrating the anniversary of this facility, built as a result of the pandemic a century ago,” he said.

“Since 2011, Kirra Hill has provided the community with a place for people to connect – through events, arts and culture, fitness classes and social gatherings.”

In 2006, the school buildings and site were vacated and a community group known as Save Kirra Hill worked to preserve the site. In 2008, the Queensland Government handed over custodianship to the City of Gold Coast and following public consultation and a $3 million restoration, it opened as a community facility in October 2011.

Former student Sue Burnett is the curator of the historical display and attended the school from 1952 to 1959. Her mother Doreen Hattersley also attended the school from 1921 to 1923.

“I remember the school mostly for its influential teachers and my friends – I am still good with friends with some of my classmates,” she said.

“We never really appreciated the panoramic views – if you lost a ball over the edge of the hill, it was gone forever!”

Kirra Hill was the home of Coolangatta Primary School from 1920 to 1977, Coolangatta Special School from 1978 to 2006 and the Community and Cultural Centre from 2011 to the present.

For history about Kirra Hill visit:

https://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/documents/bf/kirra-hill-history-of-the-site.pdf

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