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Swayneville State School 'pop-up' campus

​​​​​​In March 2017, Tropical Cyclone Debbie devastated a significant area of Queensland resulting in a landmark decision to close nearly 70 per cent of all Queensland state schools.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, the Marlborough Sarina Road, south of Mackay, was so severely damaged it would take several years to repair. Without access to the road, students from the Colston Park area would need to travel 90 minutes via Koumala to get to school using an unsealed road.

With the support of the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA), to save students the long commute, we occupied the QCWA hall and used an adjacent vacant site owned by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to establish a pop-up school in four days.

We worked with the Department of Transport and Main Roads to allow access to roads during a holiday weekend and the Department of Housing and Public Works who provided the necessary resources to construct the school. A range of Department of Education contractors and suppliers also rallied to make this possible. The community also provided great support toward the establishment of the pop-up school to ensure the school facilities were functional.

The pop-up school became a fully functioning, temporary campus of Swayneville State School providing continued education for those primary-aged students affected by the damaged road.

It was made possible by successful collaboration across government agencies along with great support from the local community. The ‘pop-up’ school opened again for the 2018 school year, with every student able to continue their learning.

​2019 will see the campus decommissioned and the school reunited.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0) ( )
Last updated
01 November 2018