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Photographs supplied by John Huth

The wishing well commemorates the former St Lawrence School which was destroyed by a fire in October 2007.

Every schoolkid's dream came true for Toby and Jessica Cash, of St Lawrence, yesterday when they were told there would be no school because the building had burnt down. But after a few moments of excitement Jessica, 6, gave it a little more thought, her mum Jill Cash said. "She asked if her desk was still there, because all her favourite things were there," she said. However, Jessica's desk, along with the entire St Lawrence State Primary School was completely gutted in Tuesday night's fire.

The school of 10 students from Prep to Year 7, about 160km south of Mackay, lost everything. Mrs Cash, who is a member of the school's x Parents and Citizens Association, said the fire destroyed new computers, the entire library collection, text books, school stationary, the student's work and all the sports equipment.

"The building was absolutely destroyed," Mrs Cash said. One of the only things that were salvaged from the wreckage was the school bell.

Authorities were alerted to the fire at about 11.50pm on Tuesday after passers-by noticed flames coming out of the high-set building on Macartney Street. Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) Sarina and Mackay branches helped St Lawrence Rural Fire Service battle the blaze throughout the night.

Yesterday the Mackay police Criminal Investigation Branch was assisting Act Snr Const Mawdsley with the investigations. He would not comment on whether police suspected the fire had been deliberately lit. Acting Snr Const Mawdsley said the destruction of the school was a terrible shock for the tiny community of St Lawrence which has a population of about 150.

"Everyone is upset at loosing the school it's a huge blow to the community," he said.

But St Lawrence residents don't give up without a fight. Yesterday, as smoke was still rising from the charred remains, the residents were already raising money for a new school.

Mrs Cash said yesterday afternoon, "Someone has put a can down in one of the shops and there is about $200 in there already."

An Education Queensland representative met with parents and the school's principal. They were informed everything on the school inventory would be replaced, but Mrs Cash said there were many other things donated by the Parents and Citizens Association which would not have been listed. For the moment, parents will scrounge around for school supplies of pens and paper at home. The ten students will start classes this morning in a demountable building which was delivered to the school yesterday.

The Parents and Citizens Association has set up a bank account for the public to donate to the bush school.
The Courier Mail (QLD), 1 November 2007. 




Address:6 Macartney Street, St Lawrence State School, St Lawrence, 4707
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -22.345026
Long: 149.529579
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:Disaster
Approx. Event Start Date:October-2007
Approx. Event End Date:October-2007
Monument Manufacturer:Jack Dempsey


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:2008
Front Inscription

This wishing well was handcrafted by Jack Dempsey

In honour of our School that was lost in a fire October 2007

Thanks to the unyielding generosity of all those who have contributed to building our new School and who are continuing to  do so.

"Striving together to learn"

Laura Smythe  Principal


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au