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University of Wollongong Australia

UOW History, Facts & Figures: UOW History

What's on this page?

Finding histories of UOW using:

The UOW web site

The UOW Library and UOW Archives

History of 'University Day'

Online Exhibitions

Online Exhibitions

NEW! View UOW history through the Archives permanent exhibitions

Where can I find the history of UOW?

The University traces its origins back to 1951, when the Wollongong Division of the University of New South Wales was created. In 1963 the Wollongong University College (WUC) was officially established. When the College achieved its independence from UNSW, in 1975 it became the University of Wollongong.

The Wollongong Institute of Education (WIE), previously the Wollongong Teachers' College (WTC), was amalgamated with the University of Wollongong in 1982.

In 1993 the University established the first of its satellite sites - the Graham Park Campus at Berry. This was the predecessor to the Shoalhaven Campus which officially opened in West Nowra in 2000. Other satellite locations established over the years included Batemans Bay, Bega, Moss Vale, Loftus and also Sydney.

In 1993 the University also opened its first campus in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

On the Web:

     Individual Schools, Units & Clubs etc

In the Library/Archives:

  • A Place for Art: The UOW Art Collection held at 709.94/122 (also available online)
  • Regional Icon, Global Achiever: A History of the University of Wollongong 1951-2011 held at 378.9446/11
  • University of Wollongong: An Illustrated history 1951-1991 held at 378.9446/4 (also available online)
  • Development of the University of Wollongong 1973-1981 held at 378.944/Woll/8
  • 25 years: A History of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wollongong, 1975-2000 held at 378.944/Woll/13
  • Rattle them Backboards: 50 years of University Hockey at Wollongong held at 796.355099446/1
  • From Stone Motherless Last: A Half-century of University Cricket at Wollongong held at 796.35862/1 
  • Those Magnificent Men: A Proud History 1962- (University Rugby Club) held at 796.3330994/1

     Other Books containing UOW History 

  • UNSW a Portrait: The University of New South Wales 1949-1999 (includes history of Wollongong University College) held at 378.9441/5
  • Counting Australia in: The people, organisations and institutions of Australian mathematics (includes history of UOW Dep't of Mathematics) held at 510.094/1

The Archives also holds several historical timelines produced by different units over the years - these are available from the Archivist on request

History of University Day

‘University Day’ between 1975-1988

In 1975 ‘University Year’ celebrated the official establishment of ‘UOW’ by holding various events throughout that year. University Council subsequently received a report from the University Year Committee recommending the continued promotion of the University’s bond with the community through activities such as a public lecture series and a ‘University Day'.  It was proposed that an occasional address should be given by a notable speaker, on a topic usually of current concern to tertiary education.

In 1976 it was proclaimed that University Day would be held on the second Friday in August each year (in anniversary of the first meeting of the Chancellor's Council), and on that day the annual lecture would be presented. The first University Day was held on 13 August that year.

In August 1985 University Day celebrations were combined with a special Graduation Ceremony to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the establishment of UOW. The occasional address that year was given by Sir Roden Cutler.

In 1987 the University Day ceremony was augmented by the presentation of the inaugural Ethel Hayton Trophy to academic units or individual staff for notable activity within the community. Other awards, such as 25 Year service awards, teaching and student awards were also featured as part of the ceremony over subsequent years.

No formal ceremony was held in 1988. In June of that year University Council endorsed a proposal to change the date and format of University Day, with the aim of increasing campus community awareness of the event and its significance.

‘University Day’ between 1989-1997

From 1989 University Day was held on the Monday closest to 8 May, to commemorate the formal constitution of the Wollongong University College as a college of the University of New South Wales on 8 May 1961. The new format consisted of an evening program of events rather than a single public lecture. Visiting speakers who gave the University Day address over this period included Sir Michael Somare, Fred Hollows, Barry Jones, Bob Carr and Noel Pearson.

The last official 'University Day' ceremony was held in 1997.

Postscript: June 1998 saw the first ‘Presentation of Staff Awards’ evening ceremony, which in 2000 became the ‘Vice Chancellor’s Staff Awards’, and from 2002 the ‘Vice Chancellor’s Awards’.

View University Day ceremony booklets from over the years on the Corporate Publications Archive

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