After passing through parliament, the State Education Act of 1875 which came into operation in January 1876 was regarded as the most progressive legislation relating to education in Australia. School Boards were replaced with local School Committees and the entire system was centralised in Brisbane with the creation of a Department of Public Instruction.
The Act also eased the financial burden which had been placed on communities wishing to establish local schools. Henceforth they were liable to contribute only 20 per cent of the cost towards a school site, the erection of a building and furnishings. The State bore all other expenditure.
The Act also abolished financial assistance to denominational schools, effective from 1 January 1880. While this section of the legislation reinforced the secular nature of Queensland's education system, there was only one Anglican and 20 Roman Catholic schools receiving State aid at the time. The Act contained a further clause which made school attendance compulsory for all children aged between six and 12, though this was not proclaimed until 1900.