Some of the earliest known photographs taken at the North Pine State School were at the Loyal Temperance League Boxing Day picnics in 1896 and 1897. This was a children’s subsidiary of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and was a group that were dedicated to urging youth against the dangers of drugs and alcohol (temperance) by aligning with Christian beliefs in society. Judging by the size of the gatherings over these two photographs, the group was largely active in North Pine and looked to grow over 12 months.



Picnics in various forms and themes for various events or celebrations seemed to be a feature of early school life. In this era they were generally held on the school grounds. Over time these events evolved to include sports programs and competitions. Sometimes they might also be held in conjunction with a night-time dance.


17 July 1914


“ … At a meeting of the committee of the State school, Mr J Connors in the chair, the treasurer reported that the receipts in connection with the annual picnic amounted to 17 pounds, and the expenditure to 19 pounds/1/3, leaving a debit balance of 2 pounds/1/3. A vote of thanks was recorded to all those who helped at the gathering.”

Source: Moreton Bay Regional Council Local History Library, Strathpine


1914_07_17 July Brisbane Courier NORTH PINE JULY 15_01

By 1908 a clear tradition of the ‘break-up’ day was forming, at times combined with a picnic, a concert, present giving by Santa, and later on sports carnivals.

Sometimes these activities were held at the School of Arts as a gala affair and later on at the school accompanied by perhaps a picnic or sports activities.



A ‘Coronation Day’ is the day that a new monarch is invested with regalia and takes their place on the throne.

In 1911 England was considered the ‘mother country’ and in many ways was still ‘home’ of the European settlers now inhabiting Australia.

George V was the grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and succeeded his father (Edward VII) as King-Emperor of the British Empire in 1910 when Edward VII died on the 6th May.

His Coronation was on 22 June 1911.

The School Committee wasted no time in their recognition to honour this regal event.



By the end of May, only a few weeks after Edward had died and George took over, the planning and fundraising had begun for a ‘Coronation Day Picnic’ in the school grounds.


31 May 1911 (Wednesday)


At a meeting of the State School Committee Mr J. Connors occupied the chair, and there were also present Messrs T V Bray (secretary), W Osborne (treasurer), J Young, W J Baldwin, W Lear, and J W Lear. Arrangements were made for celebrating Coronation Day by a picnic, and pleasure was expressed at the action of the Redcliffe Shire Council in voting 7 pounds 10 shillings to assist the celebration.

Source: 1911 ‘GRAFTON DISTRICT.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 31 May, p. 12, viewed 13 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19714339


The ‘Brisbane Courier’ reported the progress of the committee’s planning on June 11, only 11 days out from Coronation Day. Evidently, a community pageant was to be held in the Exhibition Grounds the day following the Coronation day of which there was desire to “procure free passes for the children anxious to attend”.

The Redcliffe Shire Council made a second donation to the picnic fund and it was decided that “Coronation Medals” would be ordered.


12 June 1911 (Monday)


… A meeting of the State School Committee was held on Thursday evening. Arrangements were made for celebrating Coronation Day by a picnic in the school grounds. An endeavour is being made to procure free passes for the children anxious to attend the pageant to be held in the Exhibition Grounds on June 23. The committee carrying out the celebrations include Messrs Connors, Bray, Osborne, W. Leis, Lear, Baldwin, and Young. A cheque for £1/10/ to assist the celebration was received from the Redcliffe Shire Council. Coronation medals are to be ordered.

Source: 1911 ‘MURWILLUMBAH DISTRICT.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 12 June, p. 5, viewed 14 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19709482

1911 george v coronation day medal
Coronation day medal – King George v and Queen Mary 1911


Another meeting of the committee a few days later provided that there was 10 pounds in hand to “provide a treat for the children, parents, and friends on Coronation Day”, and final arrangements were made. As reported in the ‘Brisbane Courier’:


16 June 1911 (Friday)



… A meeting of the State school committee was held last evening. Mr Connor presided, and there were also present; Messrs Bray (secretary), Lear, Young, and Baldwin. The secretary stated that 10 pounds was in hand to provide a treat for the children, parents, and friends on Coronation Day, and final arrangements were made for carrying it out.

Source: 1911 ‘NORTH PINE ITEMS.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 16 June, p. 6, viewed 14 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19687712


The final Coronation Day planning meeting was held a few days prior to the day. It was reported that funds in hand had now grown to a total amount of 19 pounds.

It was also decided to incorporate a ‘sports program’ to be arranged by Mr Connor and Mr Hunter.


22 June 1911 (Thursday)

A meeting of the School Committee was held last evening, to make final arrangements for the Coronation picnic to be held on Thursday. Mr Connors occupied the chair, and there were also present: Messrs Bray (secretary), Osborne (treasurer), Leis, Baldwin, Young, and Lear. The Secretary reported that the total amount in hand was, 19 pounds. A sports programme was left in the hands of Messrs Connors and Hunter.

Source: 1911 ‘BELOW THE RANGE.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 22 June, p. 11, viewed 13 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19705882



10 pounds were subscribed towards the annual treat to be held on the King’s birthday, bringing the total credit balance of the committee to 21 pounds and 10 shillings. It isn’t clear what the teat was to be but it could be imagined to be a grand social occasion for the region at the time.


1911 george v king george square brisbane
Statue of King George V in King George Square outside Brisbane City Hall.

16 May 1913 (Friday)

A meeting of the StateSchool Committee was held on Thursday evening Mr Connors occupied the chair and Messrs T N Bray (secretary), W Leis, W J Baldwin, J W Lear and J Young were in attendance. Regret was expressed at the illness of the treasurer (Mr W Osbourne). The secretary reported that 10 pounds had already been subscribed towards the annual treat to be held on King’s birthday and that the credit balance, now stood at 21 pounds 10 shillings.

Source: 1913 ‘BELOW THE RANGE.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 16 May, p. 4, viewed 14 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19887158




The year came with a sombre atmosphere as remnants of war were in the air. Mrs Petrie (Tom Petrie’s wife, assisted by daughters Ida and Jessie) entertained the children by providing a Christmas tree which had gifts that were made entirely by soldiers who had returned from World War I. The gifts consisted of baskets, fancy boxes, leather purses, serviette rings and various wooden toys – enough for 112 children.

The following day the School Committee entertained the children at a picnic with “an attractive sports program” after which the children were “regaled with refreshments”. That night there was a largely attended dance.


20 December 1918 (Friday)

NORTH PINE, December 18. Last Thursday afternoon the children of the North Pine Sate School were entertained by Mrs Tom Petrie at a Christmas tree, laden with gifts made entirely by returned soldiers. The gifts comprised baskets, fancy boxes, leather purses, serviette rings, and various kinds of wooden toys. Each of the 112 children received a present. Misses Ida and Jessie Petrie were heartily cheered by the children for the excellent manner in which they carried out their mother’s desire to give them a happy time. Last Friday the committee of the school entertained the children at a picnic, and a very pleasant time was spent. An attractive sports programme was gone through, and the children were regaled with refreshments. At night a dance was held, and was largely attended, Miss Campbell supplying the music and Mr Connors supervising the dancing.

Source: 1918 ‘OTHER SCHOOLS.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld.: 1864 – 1933), 20 December, p. 8, viewed 14 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20245687


1930 Twenty years further on and the “breaking-up picnic” has become the fashion for the end-of-year festivities. Held in the school grounds a sports program is carried out under the supervision of the head teacher, now Mr W H Chappell.

Events were flat races with consolation races, egg and spoon races, three-legged races, sack races, thread and needle races and the potato races.


17 December 1930 (Wednesday)


The breaking-up picnic of the North Pine State School was held in the school grounds on Friday. During the afternoon a programme of sports was carried out under the supervision of the head teacher (Mr W H Chappell) and Messrs A Dixon (handicapper and starter), G White and W J Foley (judges) The results of the sports were as follows: Flat races Boys under 7 years C Eben 1, E Davis 2, Seven to 8 years: R King 1, B Stewart 2, Eight to 10 years: W Taylor 1, E Fink 2, Ten to 12 years: C Geiss 1, N Dixon 2, Twelve to 14 years: J Stewart 1, C Robinson 2, Consolation race Junior: C Stewart 1, W Young 2, Senior: L Davis 1, B Ebert 2, Girls Under 7: J Buckby 1, G Ebert 2, Seven to 8 years: E Herman 1, I Mitchell 2, Eight to 10 yeas: E Adams 1, M Vores 2, Ten to 12 years: R Mitchell 1, A Ferguson 2, Twelve to 14 years: A Sutherland 1, M Brewer 2, Consolation race: G White 1, I Davis 2, Egg and spoon race: Boys: A Hermann 1, E Young 2, Girls: A Sutherland 1, N Vores 2, Three-legged race: Boys: C Geiss and E Hermann 1, C Robinson and A Hermann 2, Girls: M Brewer and A Sutherland 1, E Adams and E Gilliland 2, Sack race: Boys: C Geiss 1, N Sutherland and E Hermann (tie) 2, Girls: B Fink 1, E Adams 2 ,Thread and needle race: Boys: C Robinson 1, C Geiss 2, Girls: A Sutherland 1, R Mitchell 2, Potato race: Boys: Senior: C Geiss 1, C Robinson 2, Junior: N Dixon 1, A Hermann 2, Girls: B Fink and M White tie.

Source: 1930 ‘NORTH PINE STATE SCHOOL.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 17 December, p. 16, viewed 14 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21615222


1931 There was a minor mention in ‘The Brisbane Courier’ of the breaking-up festivities held at the North Pine State School.


22 December 1931 (Tuesday)


School Sports – Enthusiastic support by parents and helpers was shown at the breaking-up festivities of the North Pine State School. Those responsible for the organisation of the sports programme included Messrs E J McMahon (acting head teacher), G White, A Blake, W J Foley, and Miss E L Hawkins …

Source: 1931 ‘PETRIE.’, The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), 22 December, p. 15, viewed 14 December, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article21732033


Picnics have always been a fun activity for a teacher to arrange for their class and over time there have been many for many different reasons, many teddy bears picnics for preps and watermelon spitting competitions for the older ones.


1989 By the end of the 1980s there was an attempt to change the name of “Break Up” day …



BREAK-UP: 16.12.1989 Break up day is referred to as ‘Picnic Day’.


However this didn’t particularly stick, as the last day of the year activities are still referred to socially as ‘break-up’ day, a tradition that has embedded itself into the habitual school ways of generation after generation.


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