HISTORY OF THE TOWER PRE-SCHOOL INC
From 1912 to 1961, Georgica Public School operated at the intersection of Oakey Creek Road and Billen Road. It was known as The Tower School and took its name from nearby Tower Mountain. In 1962 it passed into private ownership.
At Tower School early 1900s
At Tower School 1915
In 1984, a group of Jiggi and Georgica parents who wanted their children to enjoy the benefits of Pre-School education in their own community obtained a lease on The Tower School building. The school’s name was adopted by the new committee and so The Tower Pre-School was born.
The site of Georgica Public School (Tower School)
Tower Preschool on Oakey Creek Road
In 1989 the Pre-School moved to new premises at Shirley Richards’ property on Jiggi Road, just past the Gwynne Road intersection. The Pre-School operated from these premises until 1999.
Tower Preschool at Shirley Richard’s
Playing at Shirley Richard’s
In 1999 the Pre-School approached the School of Arts Committee with a view to moving to the Hall and at the School of Arts AGM a motion was passed in favour of this.
After obtaining Development Approval The Tower Pre-School opened for business in 2000 at its third location. This involved an ongoing effort by the Pre-School, School of Arts and the local community to meet the Development Consent conditions and to ensure the long-term viability of the Pre-School. A playground was established, fencing installed, new “kiddie” toilets were built inside the Hall and a car park constructed to comply with Council conditions.
Aerial photo of Jiggi School of Arts, May 2004
Its move to the Hall was regarded as temporary, the longer view was to build a permanent home on Jiggi School of Arts land. To achieve this, the Pre-School and the JSOA jointly purchased extra land to enable the construction of a purpose built Pre-School. On June 30th 2002, the ceremonial signing of contracts between the School of Arts, Tower Pre-School and neighbours Lesley and Peter Wilson to purchase additional land, represented a major milestone in the quest for a permanent home for the Tower Pre-School.
The additional land bought remains the property of the JSOA, a community organisation whose members are the owners of the hall and all of its assets. All Jiggi and Georgica residents and landowners can become members of the Jiggi School of Arts.
In April 2004 the School of Arts proposed that it raise money for a new building to the south of the hall and to grant a long term lease to the Tower Pre-School to provide it a permanent home. The TPS committee came together with the JSOA committee to work out the agreement.
The proposal was to construct a purpose built pre-school to the requirements of the Department of Community Services. The building would contain a general play area, toilet and shower facilities, preparation room, kitchen, respite room, office and a covered landing. The external area would include an enclosed lawn area and a store-room on the southern side of the building.
Sketch of proposed Tower Preschool
Tower Preschool floorplan
TPS plan – north elevation
Members of the local community, TPS committee and JSOA committee fundraised, wrote submissions and letters and did whatever they could to make the building possible. Great efforts and contributions were made by the community and the committees of both organisations to achieve the building of the Pre-School.
With the Development Application lodged with Council, 2004’s Celebration Day saw the ceremonial “Turning of the First Sod”.
It was anticipated that the community would celebrate the official opening of the new Pre-School building in 2005. It took a little longer than that, and a lot of hard work, but in
February 2006, the Tower Pre-School finally moved for the fourth and last time, into its own home.
In June 2006, the Jiggi-Georgica community proudly celebrated the official opening of the Tower Pre-School.
The Tower Preschool in 2006
The Pre-School operates as an autonomous organisation and is seen as a long term leaseholder and not as a tenant or junior partner. The JSOA does not profit from the Pre-School nor should the Pre-School be a financial cost to the JSOA other than normal costs and expenses associated with the lease.
Since its establishment The Tower Pre-school has provided care and education to hundreds of local kids, operating out of several semi-permanent premises, and always getting by due to the kindness, hard work and the fundraising ability of the local community.
The Tower Pre-School building is a Jiggi Valley community asset built for the purpose of housing the Tower Pre-School for as long as there is a need for a Pre-School in Jiggi-Georgica and until such time that the community no longer requires this service.
(Courtesy of Louise Neal)