Virtute et Labore…by hard work and excellence. This, our motto, sums up the history of the Warwick State High School as it looks back through more than 100 years of providing excellent education and life experiences, often as a first in its field. Those who have passed through its hands hold it in high esteem and many are those who have risen to great heights in their chosen fields after being inspired by their secondary school grounding.
Its seeds began in 1895 when Technical classes began in The School of Arts boardroom in Guy Street due to a growing demand for tuition in secretarial and some trade skills. In 1906, it separated from the School of Arts to become The Warwick Technical College situated on the corner of Guy and Fitzroy streets, and by 1910 it was opened by Sir Arthur Morgan as The Warwick Technical College and Secondary School under the control of the Department of Public Instruction. The school’s first Speech day was held in 1911.
On 22 January 1912, in company with five other schools outside of Brisbane, it formally became The Warwick State High and Technical College under its first Principal, Mr John Gorge. In the first half year, 83 students were enrolled and by the second half of the year, those enrolments had risen to 101.
It soon became obvious that a larger building was needed and on 28 February 1914, the foundation stone was laid at its present site and the new building, crafted from sandstone quarried from Yangan and granite from Greymare, was opened on 9 October, 1915. Over the years, the campus has extended to cover most of the parkland around it with many major buildings being added like the Great Hall in 1977, the library complex in 1984. The First Year Centre in 1978 to name just a few. But the original building still stands as an imposing landmark in the city.
It continued its history of firsts in progressive education with the establishment of the Intermediate School in 1929 which continued until the demise of the Scholarship examination in 1963. Here students were introduced to secondary school life during their grades 7 and 8 a concept which was copied many years later with the First Year Centres. In 1955, an Agriculture Course was introduced and a special block was opened in 1962 on land owned by the brother of Patrick Leslie.
Warwick High was a feeder school for all the surrounding towns and districts and travel to school was by rail motor and bus while the town students mostly travelled by bicycles until fairly recently. Large bike racks were part of the school. Some students boarded at the CWA Hostel in Palmerin Street for all their secondary school days.
Over the years, many extra-curricular pursuits have been enthusiastically offered from cultural and numerous sporting events, to debating and public speaking, to Army cadets which began in 1933, to concerts and musicals, to catering and fetes, to rodeos and equestrian contests. The list is impressive and has added to the total preparation for life of its students.
Warwick High School has grown older, but its ideals and its reputation for quality education lives on. Virtute et Labore is still its motto as it looks expectantly into the future.