During the past six months of 2022 both The Rutherglen Historical Society and The Historic Reserve Committee have been working hand in hand to develop a garden surrounding our iconic historic school building, once School Number 522, and now known as The Common School Museum.

This garden is very special and serves as a celebration for the school’s 150th Anniversary which will commence in January 2023 with ongoing activities across the year. The two organizations felt that after many years, this beautiful old building deserved a facelift.

The garden will be known as Agnes’ Garden, a fitting tribute to the first lady teacher at this school when it opened in 1873, Agnes Binsted Buckley. We believe Agnes to have been a very accomplished and remarkable woman, here is a short overview about Agnes :

Agnes Binsted Buckley – an early Rutherglen teacher and pioneer.

Rutherglen School Number 522

Agnes was born in 1851 at Woolloomooloo, New South Wales, to George Edward Binsted and Susannah Lucey Binsted. She was one of the very early female teachers at Rutherglen, with the remarkable Johnston sisters being somewhat earlier than Agnes, and equally as interesting and accomplished!

Agnes arrived to teach at Rutherglen School 522 on the 15/4/1872 as an Approved Assistant where Allan Knox Buckley was appointed as the Head Teacher.

School 522 was operating out of the Town Hall building at that time as the school building had not yet been built. By the end of the year, on December the 23rd 1872, Agnes and Allan married at Beechworth.

Agnes had undergone her teacher training at the St.James and St.Paul Training School Number 775, at age 19 years, from the 10/7/1870 to 9/12/1871. Agnes was the first women to teach at school 522 when it opened in 1873. 

Over the years Agnes continued to teach, raise eight children, co-manage the vineyard at Lake Moodemere and cope with large absences when her husband, having resigned from teaching, was away on business ventures, and managing his Jerilderie and Wagga land holdings.  Agnes, like so many women of that time, seemed to be lost in history. She was a smart, accomplished and hardworking woman, and her early teaching record appraisals speak volumes about her abilities. All up Agnes taught on and off for 15 years and accumulated an superannuation allowance for her efforts. She taught at 522 Rutherglen from 15/4/1872 to 31/10/1886. On the 1/11/1886 she was transferred to Creswick School number 2041. She retired on the 10/1/1888.

Agnes and her husband divorced in 1899. Agnes passed away in 1901 at 50 years of age after having been ill for two months prior to her death. She was very loved by her 8 children, and was buried at Kew Cemetery. Today it is very exciting to have contact with the descendants of Agnes and Allan Buckley and together we have all undertaken many aspects of research about their early life and ventures in Rutherglen.

Agnes Binsted Buckley (compliments from the Buckley descendants)