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Significant economic and policy changes have led us to the TAFE Queensland we are today. Our history is rich and our achievements are many. We aren't shy of saying that we've made great happen for over seven million students for over 130 years, and we're proud of it!

We've come a long way since our humble beginnings. In 1882 on September 4, we started with only a dozen students in the garret of the North Brisbane School of Arts for a class in mechanical drawing.  In the same year, we expanded our course offering to include geology, bookkeeping, French, German and the history of the British Empire. Prior to this, post-school education was expensive and generally reserved for the wealthy. Technical colleges gave a greater number of individuals access to the skills they needed to participate in the workforce.

As the needs of our economy grew, so did we, and by the 1900s we had expanded our footprint within the greater Brisbane region; founding the South Brisbane Technical College when the South Brisbane Municipality took over the Mechanics Institute and commenced operations in Townsville, Maryborough, Normanton, Hughenden and Rockhampton.

During the 1900s, a number of significant changes impacted on technical education in Queensland, including the creation of the Board of Technical Education, who held responsibility for technical education (and the then Technical Colleges).  Additionally, in response to a number of economic factors, we saw a number of smaller campuses in regional areas close, while larger ones such as Mackay, Warwick and Charters Towers flourished.

The Depression caused a downturn in the trades and the number of apprenticeships required. However, as the 1930s progressed, the economy began to improve and we worked with industry to offer new courses such as waitressing.

In 1940 our Rockhampton, Ipswich and Central Technical Colleges began training men and women as munitions workers and technicians for the Army and the Air Force under the Commonwealth Technical (War Time) Training Scheme.  Five years later the Brisbane Technical Correspondence School opened offering 38 courses in art, commerce, literature, mathematics, rural studies, trades and domestic science. Courses were targeted at serving and discharged members of the armed forces.

Interestingly, it wasn't until 1974, with the release of the Kangan report, that all Technical Colleges became known as Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Colleges.