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Map showing Cairns Hinterland Steiner School

Phone: +61 (0)7 4093 8809


Cairns Hinterland Steiner School grew out of a perceived need for a genuine educational alternative in its local community. In 1997, Nila Chambers, an experienced Steiner teacher from Melbourne, began planning for the school. The school subsequently opened its doors in 2002 with 25 children accommodated in a small house in Stratford. A 40-acre bush property in Kuranda was purchased six years later, as a permanent school site. The property is a beautiful, tranquil place traversed by walking tracks and seasonal creeks, with a 10-minute walk to the lovely Barron River. After the move to its permanent site in 2008, the school was renamed Candlenut Steiner School. The Candlenut tree is a native bush tucker tree found in the area and, in its simplest form, means ‘seed of light’. In mythology, the Candlenut tree symbolises enlightenment, peace and protection.

Up until 2010, the school offered Kindergarten and Preschool through to Class Seven. In November 2010, the school received accreditation to also offer Classes Eight to Ten. In 2011, Class Eight was available and each subsequent year, it progressed to Class Nine then Ten, with its first Class Ten cohort graduating in 2013. From 2014, it offered Playgroup sessions, a four-year-old programme, two combined Kinder–Prep classes and single stream classes from Class One to Ten. The high school incorporates a science laboratory, manual arts workshop, an art studio and a general learning area.

2015 saw many exciting changes and additions. The school rebranded to Cairns Hinterland Steiner School as part of its reaching out to Australian and International partners. A Mandarin language programme was introduced from Early Childhood to Class Ten, with Classes Nine and Ten anticipating a student exchange with a Steiner school in China. With the assistance of Independent Schools Queensland, a Chinese Language Student joined the school for 2015. She works closely with its Mandarin teacher to ensure pronunciations are correct and also introduces many cultural nuances to the students. A dedicated learning support teacher commenced in 2015, to work closely with classroom teachers to ensure all children are achieving to the best of their ability.

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