New South Wales Universities
The first university in Australia was established in 1850: The University of Sydney. After World War II, a number of further universities were established in Sydney and regional centres: New South Wales (1949), New England (1954), Macquarie (1963), Newcastle (1965). Although the universities were chartered under state law, by the end of the 1950s the Commonwealth had effectively created a national system. In 1973 the Commonwealth took over funding of universities. In 1988 a number of tertiary institutions were elevated to the status of university but accompanied by a programme of amalgamations. Some of the amalgamations failed leading to further restructuring of the sector in 1993.
- 1 Family History Research
- 2 The Public Universities
- 2.1 The University of Sydney
- 2.2 The University of New South Wales
- 2.3 UNE: University of New England
- 2.4 Macquarie University
- 2.5 The University of Newcastle Australia
- 2.6 University of Technology, Sydney
- 2.7 University of Wollongong
- 2.8 University of Western Sydney
- 2.9 Charles Sturt University
- 2.10 Southern Cross University
- 3 Notes and References
Family History Research
Until the post World War II period, the University was the preserve of the few and mainly focussed on training the professions. However, if you are searching for an ancestor who was a member of the professions and cannot find a suitable source for that profession, their name may appear in the list of graduates which was produced as part of the University Calendar until the 1950s.
The daily newspapers printed lists of matriculants, scholarship winners, examination results including prize-winners. These may be searched, especially in The Sydney Morning Herald at the digital Australian newspaper archive of the National Library of Australia.
To establish when an ancestor was at University, a search of alumni may prove useful. The University of Sydney has a very useful online search tool hidden beneath a Latin phrase alumni sidniensis: an alumni search for graduates of the University of Sydney from 1857 to 1980.
Universities have also chronicled their daily life in their own publications as well as in souvenir programmes published for ceremonies of conferral of degrees. A number of universities have digitised these and published them online through either their library or archives.
A number of universities, especially those with regional campuses, have been gifted and otherwise acquired large and sometimes unique collections of local history materials which document the history of their region. Some of these have been digitised and published online including, for example, Church records, rare books, and photographic collections.
Since 1929, each university produced a semi-official student newspaper which will sometimes add some colour and life to an ancestor's time as a student. In 2005, a Commonwealth Government policy resulted in cutbacks of university student services which saw the closure of a number of student newspapers and magazines.
The Public Universities
Each of the Universities incorporated in New South Wales are listed below in historical order. With the creation of a national tertiary education market, a number of interstate Universities have established Sydney campuses and are not treated here.
The University of SydneyThe oldest Australian university constituted by 1850 legislation and taking its first students in 1852. The university grew slowly in its first decades but increased with reforms in secondary education which produced more matriculants, both men and women, to the University. The University Calendar lists academic staff for the year and, for the early years, a full list of all graduates from 1857.
- Alumni search for graduates of the University of Sydney from 1857 to 1980.
- The University of Sydney Calendar Archive
- University of Sydney Archives holdings include personal files of staff and office holders.
- SETIS The Sydney Electronic Text and Image Service and, in particular, Australian Studies Resources which include both full text and images of Australian literary and historical texts, journals of inland Australian exploration, and manuscripts and published journals of the First Fleet.
- Honi Soit the student newspaper of the University of Sydney, first published in 1929.
The University of New South WalesFormed as the New South Wales University of Technology (1949) it was renamed The University of New South Wales in 1958 as it evolved from a science and technology university into a generalist one. In 1967, the University established a Faculty of Military Studies at the Royal Military College, Duntroon (ACT) and arranged to present approved courses at the Royal Australian Naval College; in 1974 these were merged into the a University College, UNSW Canberra, within the new Australian Defence Force Academy. In 1989, the City Art Institute was transferred from the control of the New South Wales Institute of Arts to the University of New South Wales to become the College of Fine Arts.
A number of other NSW universities began life as colleges of the University of New South Wales.
UNE: University of New EnglandBegan in 1938 as the New England University College, University of Sydney at Armidale. From 1954, established as the University of New England. In 1989, joined with campuses of certain colleges to form a "network" which was later dissolved so as to return the university to its former status.
The student newspaper, Neucleus was established April 1947; ceased publication in 2005. Microfilmed by the State Library of New South Wales.
- Alumni search
- UNE and Regional Archives holds archives of the university but also a rich collection of records relating to the New England region.
Macquarie UniversityEstablished as a third university for Sydney in 1964.
The University of Newcastle AustraliaBegan life in 1951 as the Newcastle University College of the then University of Technology New South Wales, now University of New South Wales. Incorporated at the University of Newcastle from 1965. The University absorbed the Newcastle Teachers' College (founded 1949), Newcastle College of Advanced Education, the Hunter Institute of Higher Education) and the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music (founded 1952).
- Cultural Collections incorporating the University Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections. In addition to being the repository for the university archives, it hosts a large collection of materials from Newcastle and the Hunter Valley region of interest to family and local historians.
University of Technology, SydneyThe University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) was constituted as such in 1988 but can trace its origins back to the 19th Century: the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts formed the Workingman's College which was acquired by the colonial government to form the Sydney Technical College in 1878 and, in 1969, the New South Wales Institute of Technology (NSWIT) was created out of part of this body which acquired the status of a university. NSWIT was reconstituted as the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in 1988.
University of WollongongIn 1951 a Division of the then New South Wales University of Technology (now, The University of New South Wales) was established in Wollongong which, in 1961, became the Wollongong College of the University of New South Wales. From 1 January 1975, the College was reconstituted as the University of Wollongong.
University of Western SydneyThe University of Western Sydney (UWS) was a creation of the 1989 reforms when from 1 January 1989 the Hawkesbury Agricultural College (established 1891) was federated with the Nepean College of Advanced Education to form the new University but now traded as UWS Hawkesbury and UWS Nepean. Later that year, a third federal constituent body was added, the Macarthur Institute of Higher Education, to be known as UWS Macarthur. After this federated model failed, the University of Western Sydney operated from 2001 as a single multi-campus university rather than as a federation. The University of Western Sydney has six campuses: Bankstown, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Hawkesbury, Parramatta, and Penrith.
- UWS Archives
- UWS Open Archives open access to Annual Reports, Audio Recording, Films and Videos. Graduation Booklets, HAC Journal (Hawkesbury Agricultural College), Handbooks/Calendars, Maps and Plans, Museum Objects, Photographs, Student Cards (Hawkesbury Agricultural College), and Unit Outlines.
Charles Sturt UniversityCharles Sturt University (CSU) was another creation arising out of the 1989 reforms and again formed by amalgamating previously constituted Colleges of Advanaced Education. CSU began trading from 1 July 1989 on the merger of the Mitchell College of Advanced Education (formed 1971) in Bathurst, the Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education (formed 1985) in Albury-Wodonga and the Riverina College of Advanced Education (formed 1985on the merger of Wagga Agricultural College and Wagga Teachers College) in Wagga Wagga. In 2005, CSU absorbed The University of Sydney's Orange campus and in 2012 it established a Port Macquarie campus.
Southern Cross UniversitySouthern Cross University was formed on 1 January 1994 after the failure of the University of New England "Network". The old University of New England was restored to its previous incorporation trading from a single campus in Armidale and the other parts of the network were spun off to form the Southern Cross University. Thus, the new university could trace its roots back to the Lismore Teachers College (formed 1971) which grew into the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education (1973). Southern Cross University also inherited the former University of New England - Coffs Harbour Centre. Although established as a university to serve the North Coast Region of New South Wales, in 2010 Southern Cross University opened a new campus across the border in the southern Gold Coast Region of Queensland at Coolangatta and began the transfer of its former Tweed Heads campus to Coolangatta.
Notes and References
- Carolyn Rasmussen, "Universities" in Graeme Davison, John Hirst, Stuart Macintyre (eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian History (1st revised edition, 2001, Oxford University Press) Print ISBN-13: 9780195515039 published to Oxford Reference Online, 2003, eISBN: 9780191735165, accessed 4 Jul 2013)