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Ipswich West State School first opened its doors as Little Ipswich State School on 1 August, 1861 with William O'Donnell as Headmaster.

It continued as a co educational institution until 1883, when separate boys and girls schools were established under the urging of the Ipswich National School Committee. New school buildings were erected on the higher part of the grounds to form the Ipswich West Boys School.  This school still stands as the much modified Ipswich West State Special School.

Ipswich West Girls and Infants School continued to use the original timber buildings. In 1893, a new brick girls’ school was constructed. Additional wings were added in 1911 and 1919.

In 1934 the schools once again became unified and Charles Munro took over as Headmaster. At this time approximately 232 students attended the school.

In 1991 Ipswich West State School was listed on the Queensland Heritage Register as it is important in demonstrating the pattern of Queensland's history as the layers of school buildings constructed since 1861 reflect the growth of Queensland's education system.

The library contains interesting photos of the original 1861 school and other events of the early history.

Famous former pupils of the school include Sir James W Blair – Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland and Chancellor of the University of Queensland; Sir Joshua Francis; and Dr J. C. Bradfield, the engineer in charge of the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction. History records also tell of a pupil teacher L. D. Edwards who was suspended for smoking in the classroom. The young man was reinstated and went on to become Queensland's Director General of Education.