Scott’s Farm in Ripley: A Century-Old Legacy Hangs in the Balance Amidst School Development Plans

A proposed new primary school development may save the beloved 130-year-old Scott’s Farm in the Ipswich area that has served as a rural haven for generations of community organisations.

Save Scott's Farm
Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

As the clock ticks down on a government petition to safeguard the farm from development, family spokeswoman Belinda Lowe has rallied locals to lend their support.

The petition, due to close on June 9, is seen as a crucial tool in maintaining pressure on Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) following the dismissal of a previous petition as officially unrecognised.

Scott’s Farm, which serves as a vital wildlife corridor and acts as a buffer between new housing and industrial areas in Swanbank and New Chum, became a focal point in the recent March local government elections. The property, which has housed ten generations of the Scott family, stands as one of the last remaining working farms in the region.

Scott's Farm in Ipswich
Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

While there are currently two schools operating in the Ripley Valley, projections indicate that this number could surge to 16 by 2041.

In a recent positive development, the family received communication from State Development Minister Grace Grace, affirming that EDQ and Education Queensland would explore alternative, suitable sites for the school. However, the family has yet to receive correspondence from Education Minister Di Farmer’s office.

Ms Lowe expressed cautious optimism, stating, “We are hopeful that the review will recommend relocating the school from our farm to another location within the Ripley Valley Priority Development Area, but there are no guarantees.”

Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

She emphasised the abundance of available land in the Ripley Valley, underscoring the feasibility of relocating the school to a more suitable site.

Local state MP Jennifer Howard has reportedly communicated to Ms Lowe that she has engaged in discussions with both Ms Farmer and former Education Minister Grace Grace regarding the matter.

Furthermore, the family recently convened with local federal MP Shayne Neumann, Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, Ipswich City Council planners, and state officials, among others.

Scott's Farm in Ipswich
Photo Credit: Save Scott’s Farm

Ms Lowe highlighted the widespread support for preserving the farm, stating, “Shayne Neumann, Council, and the state politicians are all fully supportive of saving the farm.”

She further emphasised the community’s sentiment, stating, “We have gathered over 8,600 signatures on a petition to save our farm, but unfortunately, the Minister of Education did not consider this when making their decision about the school.”

In response, a Department of Education spokesman confirmed that officials had visited the farm and engaged with the family in recent weeks. He reiterated that the department considers various factors when planning for new schools, including population growth and capacity within the existing school network.

The spokesperson also noted that a 2022 review identified a shortage of schools across the Ripley Valley, prompting the identification of additional sites for three state primary and two state high schools.

While guidelines suggest one new state primary school per 3,000 new dwellings, and growth in the Priority Development Area is projected to necessitate a total of 16 primary and seven secondary school sites, the fate of Scott’s Farm hangs in the balance as the community rallies to protect its legacy.

Published Date 05-June-2024