On August 1, 1910, a public meeting was held at the residence of Mr N. McGeehan. At this meeting a resolution was passed to build a state school on portion 49V – a reserve set aside for this purpose. The proposed school was to be known as “INNESFAIL.” This was named after a nearby farm owned by Mr N. McGeehan (now owned by the Pensini family). The actual site on which the school is constructed was previously owned by Mr Laurie Webb, a past teacher at Kairi, and also by Mr P. Larkin.
A Building Committee was elected and consisted of the following gentlemen – T. Anderson (President), L. Favier (Treasurer), A. Clark (Secretary), N. McGeehan, N. Neilson, G. Windaus and L. Poggioli. The secretary completed an official application for the establishment of a state school, which was forwarded to the Department of Public Instruction, along with a letter requesting information regarding plans, specifications and probable cost of the new school. The committee intended felling the scrub and having it burnt before the impending wet season. A list of eligible children was compiled for the Department’s information. The Department subsequently requested that the Head Teacher of Atherton School submit a report.
Richard Hooper, Head Teacher of Atherton School visited the site of the proposed school of Innesfail on the 29 August 1910. After meeting the people concerned, he wrote that he regarded the parents of all the eligible children to be permanent settlers. Hooper wrote that the 50-acre school reserve was centrally situated. It was covered with scrub, 3 acres of which the School Committee proposed to fell. The Owner of the adjoining portion 48V agreed to fell an area a chain or two behind the site so that there would be sufficient room and light. Arthur Clark was prepared to provide board and lodging to a teacher at 12/6 a week. Hooper recommended, “Present and future prospects warrant the erection of a state school.” He also recommended that a male teacher be appointed.
The Secretary for Public Instruction approved the establishment of the proposed school on 14 September 1910. The Under Secretary requested plans and estimates for a building with furniture 24ft by 16tft with 2 verandahs.
On 24 March 1911, the name of the school was changed to Kairi in keeping with the local post office and railway siding.
Kairi State School was opened 24 July 1911 with Leila May Higgins as the Head Teacher and an enrolment of 12 students.
The original building consisted of one class room with a verandah front and back. This classroom is the present day staff room and administration office.
In 1930 the school was moved to the present location by a bullock team. The site was considered a more central situation and it was closer to the railway crossing. After the school was relocated, a second classroom was added to cater for the students from Waringle School which closed in the same year. This second classroom is the current Music Room.
1957 saw the construction of The Kairi Memorial Tennis Courts and the installation of septic systems. In this year the school building further expanded with a third classroom (currently the library) as well as a staffroom, (now the principal’s office), a library, (now a sports room) and a store room. The verandah at the back of the building was incorporated into the classrooms.
American Style Basketball courts were added in 1973 and a new building with a double teaching space was opened in July of 1979.
In 1985, the new toilet block with a cleaner’s store and an undercover area was completed.
Another new block was added shortly after with 4 teaching spaces. It was opened on 12 July 1979. This provided a large undercover area beneath the building which was beneficial for the students during the wet weather and a new tuckshop was constructed in 2007/2008.
Kairi State School has seen many changes over the years – from a single classroom to a campus with several buildings and many improvements.