Challenge, Care and Growth

Education at Ironbark

What is Ironbark?

Ironbark Outdoor Education Centre is owned and operated by St Peters Lutheran College. The campus is located 5 km north east of Crows Nest, a small rural community located on the Darling Downs. Ironbark as a whole encompasses 868 hectares of heavily timbered, undulating granite country.

Ironbark provides compulsory five week programs in Year 9 aimed at challenging students physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually. Ironbark operates four main elements in the program including Outdoor Pursuits, Farm Skills, Environmental Awareness and Community Living.

Ironbark is staffed by specialist teaching, outdoor, maintenance, catering, residential and farm staff. All staff work closely with students in their areas of expertise. Facilities on site include two dormitories, staff accommodation, a well-equipped workshop, a garden, and a mixed working farm.

The Ironbark program focuses on three core aims:




To foster a Christian community that enables the development of skills in relating to others, self, the environment and God. To inspire students to adopt and respect a community minded approach to living and learning and to explore one’s spirituality living in today’s world.

To develop a sense of commitment to self, others, faith and place. This will enable students to show respect and assume responsibility while developing initiative and leadership by engaging in challenging situations to achieve their personal best.

To facilitate students in making connections between their Ironbark experience and life. To provide opportunities for students to create connections in faith, the environment, community and place while experiencing authentic action, consequence and purpose outcomes.

What will my child experience at Ironbark?

Community Living

Students board at Ironbark full time for the five week program. Experieces include cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, evening devotions and social interation with out the distractions of television, internet or radios / ipods.

Farm Skills

Ironbark operates a mixed working farm. Students are required to contribute to the operation of the farm by milking cows, feeding stock and maintaining the property.

Outdoor Pursuits

Challenge is a key concept of the Ironbark program and it is within this area that challenge is strongly addressed. Students particpate in Navigation training, 4 Day Expedition, 24 Hour Solo and Adventure Electives ie. Abseiling, Rock Climbing, Tree Climb, Canoeing and High Ropes.

Environmental Awareness

Due to the natural bush setting students are constantly engaged in learning about their surrounds and the importance of learning to exist is harmony with the local environment.

Ironbark is best explained in the following excerpt from a letter written by Don Protheroe in October 1981 in response to a question asked by a new staff member:

‘Ironbark is a place for kids. I want kids to be involved in doing everything that you believe is a good thing for them to do. I want kids to work closely with you to see your Christian life in action in all kinds of situations. I want kids to feel the power of living in a community, of working hard, of having achieved some job of work on which the community depends, and, by facing these challenges in a positive way, building a sense of self-worth, competence and a feeling of the value of service'.

Ironbark Outdoor Education Centre

Back Creek Road
Crows Nest Q 4355
PO Box 27
Crows Nest Q 4355
Tel: 07 4698 1171
Fax: 07 4698 1784

Section Maintenance
This section in Firefly is maintained by the Ironbark Staff.
Specific contacts for your child can be located on The Community Portal on the Contact Us tab.