A hotel called the Lady of the Lake Hotel opened on Barrabool Road at what is now Buckley in 1854, and the area began to be known as Laketown. The hotel reportedly flourished, being located on the road to Colac, and became a social centre for the area. The hotel was a coach stop on the road to Colac, and the Duke of Edinburgh stopped there in 1870 while his party’s horses were being rested. A post office opened at Laketown on 15 March 1872, and a store as added around the same period.
A school was opened in 1878 close to the hotel, initially known as Mount Moriac State School (No. 2063), but renamed Laketown in 1883. A Laketown Football Club and Laketown Cricket Club existed in the 1870s, and had a sports ground west of the hotel. Laketown declined thereafter; the school closed in 1893, and was later used as a church and private residence. Laketown Post Office closed temporarily from 1 July to 1 October 1895, and then closed permanently on 1 October 1897. The Lady of the Lake Hotel’s license lapsed in 1912, when it came a private home, and it burned down in 1962. The former school is the only surviving remnant of the former Laketown settlement, and is listed on the Surf Coast Shire heritage inventory as having state significance.
The first school in what is now Buckley, which had predated that at the Laketown settlement, had opened in 1867 as Lake Modewarre School No. 926, a Catholic school. This school was located at the corner of Buckley School Road and Buckley School South. Wynd reports that it closed in 1874, but that some sources suggest it continued to 1883 and that its students were sent to the Laketown school. A second school, initially also named Lake Modewarre, opened in 1874 as School No. 1481; it later changed its name to Buckley’s Road State School in 1890, and again to Buckley State School in 1936. Buckley Primary School was closed and merged into Moriac Primary School, on the Moriac school site, in 1993.
The locality once had a railway station on the Port Fairy railway line. It was successively named Laketown, Modewarre, and then Buckley railway stations as the area naming changed over the years, but has now closed. It also had its own post office, separate to that at the Laketown settlement. This post office was opened as Lake Town Railway Station Post Office on 1 May 1884, renamed Modewarre Railway Station PO on 10 March 1885, Buckley’s Road PO on 15 August 1890, Buckley Railway Station PO in 1910, and Buckley PO on 18 October 1848. It closed on 30 June 1970.
Buckley today remains a small rural locality. The Buckley Tennis and Social Club is among the last community institutions remaining in the town. The Erinvale Thoroughbreds stud, based on the historic Carawartha property, is based at Buckley.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). “Modewarre (SSC)”. 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- “Buckley (entry 100521)”. VICNAMES. Government of Victoria. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- Wynd, Ian (1992). Barrabool: Land of the Magpie. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0646089072.
- Wynd 1992, p. 94-95.
- “Lake Town PO”. Post Office Reference. Premier Postal. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- “Surf Coast Shire Heritage Study Stage 2B”. Surf Coast Shire. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Wynd 1992, p. 97.
- “Item Details”. Public Record Office Victoria. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- “Moriac 2031 Draft Structure Plan” (PDF). Surf Coast Shire. p. 37. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- Wynd 1992, p. 94.
- “Buckley”. Post Office Reference. Premier Postal. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- “Sports Clubs”. Surf Coast Shire. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- “Erinvale Thoroughbreds”. Archived from the original on 30 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Town Accommodation: