A unique history
On top of a hill in Auchenflower, there is a horse stable surrounded by gardens, where forty children gather to learn …
In 1913, the Auchenflower Presbyterian Church was established in the stables of Rathdonnell House. A front portico was added to the stone-based stab
les, which gave the building an ecclesiastical tone, and the windows were replaced with rippled magenta and green panels. The building became the church hall when a new church was built for the Auchenflower Presbyterian Church in 1957. Since 1983, the stables on the picture have housed the MCH.
Image left: Photograph by John Pearn, 1979, with permission.
The horse stable on top of the hill in Wienholt Street in Auchenflower, Brisbane has a long history, which always has been related to education. It was built in 1865 as the original stable of Randall MacDonnell’s great Rathdonnell Estate. A neighbouring estate called Auchenflower, meaning “field of flowers”, later gave its name to the area.
Randall MacDonnell was born in Dublin and trained there as a teacher. In 1854, he immigrated to Sydney and established a private school. In 1860, he moved to Queensland where, for the remaining 17 years of his short life, his advocacy for improved education for the State’s children was most significant. MacDonnell was appointed General Inspector of Primary Schools in 1860, and Secretary to the Board of General Education in 1870. In 1875, he became the first General Inspector of the newly established Department of Public Instruction, and held that position until he died of tuberculosis the following year.
We trust that Randall MacDonnell would be happy with what he would find in his stable today….
Rathdonnell Estate was sold and subdivided in 1911, and by 1913, the Auchenflower Presbyterian Church was established in the stable. In 1957, the stable became the church hall of a newly built, wooden Auchenflower Presbyterian Church.
In 1983, the church hall became available for lease for educational purposes. Thus was established the Montessori Children’s House – a preschool and kindergarten of great significance, not only in the history of education but also in the unending quest to find an appropriate education which might lead to optimal personal fulfilment in later life, and to world peace and understanding. This school provides a superb and enlightened education for 40 children, all in the three-to-six year old Cycle One of the Montessori program. This wonderful facility is a non-profit, parent-run kindergarten, which prepares children for a lifetime of learning.
We look forward with great hope that the Montessori Children’s House can continue to contribute to the rich history of both the building that has stood on this site since 1865, and the dream – of excellent children’s education – of the man who built it there.
A Playgroup had been set up in the church next door. In July 2005, the Playgroup was brought under the umbrella of the Children’s House and it is called the Montessori Infant’s House (MIH). The Infants’ House is now open to parents and children, five mornings a week.
The development, over the years has been made possible by the strong involvement by parents particularly in fund raising.