IT was a brand new Catholic school in Capalaba but, for 98 students, it was just a muddy playground.
St Luke’s Catholic Parish School, Capalaba, opened the doors to its first students in January 1989 following nearly six weeks of pouring rain.
The school grounds were so muddy that students had to take off their shoes to avoid soiling their new footwear.
That muddy first day is now immortalised in a new children’s book that explains some of the history of St Luke’s to its students.
The Heart of St Luke’s was illustrated by students of St Luke’s and written by teacher Patricia Crilly, who was school secretary when St Luke’s first opened.
It also marks the school’s upcoming 30th anniversary next year.
Mrs Crilly, who is originally from the United Kingdom, said parishioners of St Luke’s Church prayed to see a new school in the area.
The parents, including Mrs Crilly, wanted to provide quality Catholic education and nurture the faith life of their children.
There was also only one Catholic school in the entire Redland region at the time.
The parishioners’ prayers were answered under the direction of their young parish priest Fr Gerry Kalinowski, and the school project began in 1988.
Six weeks of rainy weather delayed the laying of the school’s main pathway, but the school opened just in time for the new academic year in 1989.
“It’s surprising what a village does for little lives,” Mrs Crilly said.
“I’ve always said it takes a village to bring up a child.”
Darrel Greenfield was one of the school’s first students, and remembers being allowed to play in “little patches of dirt” in the surrounding scrubland.
“(We’d) get some brush twigs and mop all the other dirt clean so all the dust was off the dirt so it wasn’t dusty dirt, it was like clean dirt,” Mr Greenfield said.
He attended St Luke’s along with his parents’ two foster children.
As well as capturing the history of the school, the children’s book is also a way to entice its youngest members into reading.
Support teacher Brigid Burford said every Prep student at St Luke’s received a copy of the book before starting the first year of school.
“Before they actually started, they were sent the little book in the mail as a form of welcoming them to the school and giving them the history of the school in a children’s story format,” she said.
“It gives the children a little understanding of the school but it also promotes the idea of reading with your littlies before school.”