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Plans advance for New England University

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Tuesday 26 June 1945, The Canberra Times

Progress of University College At Armidale

A post-war building programme of £300,000 spread, over five years, the raising of the college to the status of a degree granting University and establishment of two faculties not provided at any Australian University, form the broad outline of the plans of the New England University College.

Two new universities are being planned in Australia. One is the National University at Canberra and the other is the University of New England at Armidale.

Both movements have made some progress through the preliminary stage of a University College, the Canberra University College having been established in 1930 under affiliation with the University of Melbourne, and the New England University College baying been founded in 1938 under the control of the University of Sydney.

No public statement has yet been made of the actual plans for the Canberra University, which apparently depend on a submission to the Government, but the plans for the University of New England have been developed and are published in the report of the New England University College to March 31, 1945, which has been published lately.

The progress made by the New England College and its plans for the future are of considerable interest to the university movement in Canberra.


The New England University College is governed by the Senate of Sydney University with an advisory council comprising 19 residents of Northern New South Wales and representative of all sections of the community.

The Council has submitted to the Sydney University Senate a pro forma “Act to found the University of New England and recognise and approve the absorption of New England University College thereas.”

Steps in this development are:

(1) That over the next seven years, such steps should be taken in the matter of courses, staff, and buildings, as will at the end of that period or earlier justify the Senate recommending the raising of New England University College to the status of a degree-granting University.

(2) That until this status is attained the Senate is asked to press the Government for the provision of a guaranteed annual subsidy for maintenance and a guaranteed building allowance.

(3) The Advisory Council also requests Senate as a matter of urgency to proceed to the establishment of Chairs in the existing Faculties of New England University College, and asks that those. Chairs be filled as soon as may be possible. Full implementation by January 1, 1946, was sought.

Two new faculties proposed are Education and Rural Economy.

The five year post-war building scheme covered £300,000, but the Council has asked that £100,000 be made available now from the first grant for regional development and a further £60,000 a year for the next five years to be spent on buildings.

The buildings aim to cater for an enrolment of 400 students.


The eighth annual report of the college recalls that the whole of the development of the college has taken place during a period of great difficulty in operation, the first year having been that of Berchtesgaden and the second that of the outbreak of war in Europe.

In 1938, there were eight students on the roll. In 1945 there are 210. Originally, it had been intended as a University College for men, but during the current year 93 students are women and 92 men are in attendance at lectures while another 25 were, expected to be released in time to commence courses this year.

New England University College administration is carried on in three sections academic work, residential colleges and college societies and the farming and research section.

Two complete faculties, those of Arts and Economics, and Science, and students complete their first year courses in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Forestry and Pharmacy.

The residential colleges and college societies necessitate the running of 11 residences, including two lodges within the University grounds, and “Booloominbah,” the building which serves both as one of the residential colleges, for lecture rooms in Arts and to house the Dixson library. Booloominbah stands in 183 acres of ground and was given to the University of Sydney in 1937 by Mr. R. T. Forster. Booloominbah is the central club house and the focus of social life. The colleges are run by nine matron-housekeepers with lecturers and tutors in residences and acting as sub-wardens of residences.

There is also a big farming section, and research work is carried on by the Government.

The present value of the University buildings is £100,630, including Booloominbah £70,000 and the main science block £24,000. Eight additional residences are leased and maintained in Armidale.

Faculty totals are Arts and Economics 75, Science 95, Veterinary Science 2, Agricultural Science 1, Diploma in Education 31 and Post Graduate and Research Students 6. Two Pharmacy students, are included in the Science total.

Graduates admitted to degrees in 1945 were Master of Arts (Honours) 1, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 1, (Pass) 15, Bachelor of Science (Honours) 4 and (Pass) 10.

Twenty-five full time lecturers and tutors are engaged in the Faculties of Arts, and Economics and Science and 13 lecturers are engaged in the Diploma of Education course, in addition to part-time demonstrators and tutors.

Significant facts regarding the academic work of the college are given in tables quoted from the report of the Universities Commission which show that on the evidence of Leaving Certificate marks Science students admitted to New England University College were significantly inferior to Science students enrolled at Sydney University, but despite their inferiority on Leaving Certificate standard on entering New England, their success in the first year University examinations was higher than those for Sydney University Science students generally and for reserved students generally. The total pass rate for New England Science students was 100 per cent, as against 84 per cent, for Sydney Science students.

Written by macalba

May 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm

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