Significant highlights of the Pioneer period.
• Agriculture students in Years 1 to 3, all boys, transferred from Carlingford District Rural School to its Felton Road annex in August 1956. When these students arrived, the annex consisted of Barrengarry House and stables, a magnificent two-story home built in 1885 by the Felton family, early owners of the land. However, by 1956 both were in a state of disrepair. There was also one 5 classroom weatherboard block and a toilet block. These initial students left the school following completion of the Intermediate Certificate and virtually all by the conclusion of 1958.
• The intake of First Year students in 1957 became the first to complete five years of high school education at the Felton Road location and had the unique experience of being the senior year for their last three years at the school.
• In 1959, the Felton Road annex became an autonomous high school and named James Ruse Agricultural High School. The first principal, James C. Hoskin, was appointed and he remained principal for the following 20 years.
• By 1959, Barrengarry House and stables had been renovated with the house being used for administration purposes and the old stables for farm machinery and tool storage. In addition, weatherboard manual arts, library and science blocks had been completed as had a canteen. Gardens around the school were being developed based on a plan devised by the Sydney Botanical Gardens, a school oval had been established and good progress had been made on the farm’s development.
• At the conclusion of the 1961 academic year, after having sat for the Leaving Certificate Examinations, James Ruse Agricultural High School produced its first full high school graduates. Most of these students, in the following or subsequent years, moved to tertiary education institutions.
• A unique aspect of these early years was that students attended the school from across the Sydney Basin. From along the coast, from Broken Bay in the north, to near Botany Bay in the south and from the foot of the Blue Mountains and many suburbs in between, they travelled daily.
• James Ruse Agricultural High School was officially opened on 21st September, 1962