• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: PR00146

Agnew, Mary Ann Eliza

(1857 – 1940)
  • Born 6 November, 1857, Openshaw England
  • Died 14 June, 1940, South Brisbane Queensland Australia
  • Occupation Education reformer, Kindergarten teacher


Educated in Liverpool, England, Mary Agnew moved to Queensland in late 1890 to join the Queensland Department of Public Instruction, taking the position of Kindergarten Instructor. Agnew was given the task of raising the standard of education for young children. Applying the methods of Friedrich Frobel, Agnew introduced a syllabus based on the importance of education through activity and play, stressing that young children could not spend long periods of time each day engaged in intellectual learning. Influencing departmental policy on infant and kindergarten work, it was only in the last years of her career that her revolutionary work in pre-school education began to be implemented.

Published resources

  • Resource Section
  • Book Section
    • Mary Agnew, McMullen, C., 1994
  • Report
    • 34th Report of the Secretary for the Public Instruction for the Year 1909, Parliamentary Papers (Queensland), 1910
  • Journal
    • Links, 1982
  • Journal Article
    • Preschool Pioneer, Grieshaber, S., 1994
    • Mary Agnew, Kindergarten instructor for Queensland schools, Grieshaber, Susan, 1994
  • Resource

Archival resources

  • Queensland State Archives
    • Correspondence
    • Registrar - teachers