2015 is the year that we will celebrate the independence of UOW. We remember the first time we stood on our own as a university, driven by a culture of tenacity and support from a community that could imagine a better future for the region. We celebrate our coming of age, the freedom of self-determination, the nimbleness and forthright ambition that has made us one of the best international universities in Australia.

we celebrate our

We see possibility all around us and have the knowledge and discipline to bring these possibilities to life.

We trust in our strength and the strength of each other. We’re not afraid of difficult questions or uncertain outcomes. We explore and stand up for what we believe in.

We believe being passionate ensures we deliver excellence in everything we do. We are great minds connected by a desire for knowledge and a drive to use it to enrich the world we live in.

We are a community, an intricate network of meaningful local and global connections. Our successes are multiplied, and our challenges shared and overcome by connecting great minds and hard work.

“Forty years ago the community’s
college became their university,
with all the promise for the
future that involved. ”

Professor Paul Wellings CBE, UOW Vice-Chancellor
Watch Now

Historical Timeline

When the New South Wales University of Technology established a Wollongong division to train engineering and metallurgists for the local steel industry, it started an ethos of innovation and determination. With this spirit and the support of the local community, this engineering College grew and evolved, until in 1975 legislation established the University of Wollongong as an independent institution, a comprehensive university that continues this tradition of talent and hard work.

1951

Wollongong Division Established

The Wollongong Division of the New South Wales University of Technology is established at the Wollongong Technical College in Gladstone Avenue, commencing with 171 Diploma students enrolled across four Schools (Applied Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics).

1953

Purchase of Northfields Lane Site

Wollongong Technical Education District Council purchases 245 acres of land at Northfields Lane (on the site of an old dairy farm) for general education purposes. The Council of the University of Technology agrees that future development of a University College should take place at this site when and if funds become available.

1959

Local Industries Contribute

Local industries BHP, Lysaghts, Australian Iron & Steel (AI&S), the Electrolytic Refining and Smelting Co (ER&S) and Metal Manufactures (MM) donate £138,000 towards the creation of a University College while BHP also makes substantial contributions of land and, later, building materials.

1960

Lord Mayoral Appeal

A Lord Mayoral Appeal for the University College raises a further £50,000 in community donations. The NSW and Federal governments matches the industry and community contributions with a further £178,000.

1961

WUC Formally Established

Wollongong University College of the University of New South Wales is formally established.

1962

WUC Officially Opened

Wollongong University College moves to its permanent Northfields Avenue site and is officially opened by Viscount de L’Isle, Australian Governor General, on 1 March 1962.

1965

Independence Raised

The issue of independence from UNSW is raised. Letter is sent from Liberal Member for Wollongong (M.W. Hough) to State Minister for Education (C.B. Cutler) arguing for a five year program for independence at Wollongong. Minister seeks opinion of University of NSW Vice-Chancellor Sir Phillip Baxter who states that the Australian Universities Commission were thinking in terms of another 20 years before independence for Wollongong.

1966

Independence Gains Momentum

Independence campaign gains momentum when a busload of students march on NSW Parliament House in a public protest over a decision by UNSW not to build an Arts, Commerce and Science (ACS) building at Wollongong University College. In the same year, the Wollongong University College Association of Academic Staff establishes a subcommittee to prepare a case for independence.

1967

Staff Support for Independence

Survey carried out of WUC staff results in support for independence. Staff Association publishes document “The Case For Autonomy by 1972".

1968

Progress Slows

State Minister for Education (C.B. Cutler) officially advises University of NSW of University Board's view that independence is not warranted in the immediate future but that matter should be renewed in two or three years’ time. UNSW moves slowly towards delegations of authority and then autonomy for WUC.

1969

Positive Steps

New UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Rupert Myers informs Wollongong University College Council to start taking positive steps to prepare for independence. Vice-Chancellor advised Universities Board that if the Government so decided and provided additional financial support that date for independence could be beginning of 1973.

1970

Independence Confirmed

Joint announcement by NSW and Federal Governments that independence would be granted to Wollongong University College from January 1975 and that it would become the independent University of Wollongong.

1972

Act Passed

In December the NSW Parliament passes the University of Wollongong Act, to enshrine the University’s pending independence in legislation.

1973

Vice-Chancellor-Designate Appointed

In June Professor Michael Birt is appointed Vice-Chancellor-designate, and charged with the responsibility of preparing WUC for independence. He commences his duties as Foundation Vice-Chancellor in November. An interim Academic Senate is created in December.

1974

New Years Eve Celebrations

New Year's Eve Party held on campus to mark the end of the old Wollongong University College and celebrate the start of the new University of Wollongong.

1975

Australia's 18th University

The University of Wollongong becomes Australia’s 18th university on 1 January. The first meeting of the first University Council symbolically held on that day. The first meeting of the elected Academic Senate is held in April, and the first meeting of the "Chancellor's" Council is held in August. Five faculties are formed: Engineering, Humanities, Mathematics, Science, and Social Sciences.

1976

First Graduation Ceremony, A New Chancellor

First graduation ceremony of the independent University of Wollongong held at the Wollongong Town Hall on Friday 11 June 1976, and Justice Robert Hope installed as the Foundation Chancellor during this ceremony. UOW begins to establish a reputation for innovation and market leadership, as the first NSW university to appoint a schools liaison officer to help high school students learn about opportunities for study.

1981

UOW's Second Vice-Chancellor

Professor Ken McKinnon becomes UOW's second Vice-Chancellor.

1982

UOW Merges with WIE

UOW merges with the Wollongong Institute of Education, introducing a large cohort of Education academics and students to the University.

1983

A New Faculty

Faculty of Commerce created.

1984

School of Creative Arts

School of Creative Arts officially opens.

1987

Growing Number of Faculties

Number of Faculties grows to six: Arts, Commerce, Education, Engineering, Mathematical Sciences and Science.

1988

The Ceremonial University Mace

Presentation of the ceremonial University Mace, designed and crafted by local artist Gino Sanguinetti, and its first official use at a Graduation ceremony.

1989

Faculties of Informatics & Health & Behavioural Sciences

New Faculty of Informatics created from the merger of the departments of Computer Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering and Mathematics, together with an associated Program in Information Technology. School of Health Sciences and Department of Psychology merge to form Faculty of Health & Behavioural Sciences.

1990

Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law established, officially opened in March 1991.

1993

UOW Dubai

UOW establishes a campus in Dubai, which is now the highly successful University of Wollongong in Dubai.

1995

UOW's Third Vice-Chancellor

As Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken McKinnon retires, Professor Gerard Sutton appointed third Vice-Chancellor, and oversees some remarkable achievements as UOW is ranked among the top 10 Australian universities by the Federal Quality Review for research management and outcomes, among the top nine Australian universities by the first Federal Quality Review for community service, and second in the Australian Postgraduate Awards. UOW also achieves 19 successful Australian Research Council (ARC) grants in 1995.

1997

UOW's Second Chancellor

Justice Robert Hope retires as foundation Chancellor after 22 years (the longest serving Chancellor in Australian academic history). Former head of the Prime Minister’s Department, Michael Codd AC, becomes UOW’s second Chancellor. Wollongong University College Sydney begins operation.

1998

ARC Grants & A BAFTA

UOW receives the highest level of Australian Research Council (ARC) grants (relative to size). Faculty of Education, Interactive Multimedia Learning Laboratory, in collaboration with the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), wins a British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) award for their CDRom 'Stage Struck'.

1999

University of the Year Award for Research and Development Partnerships

University of Wollongong awarded Good Universities Guide Australia’s University of the Year 1999-2000 Joint Winner for Outstanding Research and Development Partnerships.

2000

University of the Year Award for Preparing Graduates for the E-World

University awarded Good Universities Guide Australia’s University of the Year Award for 2000-2001 Joint Winner for Preparing Graduates for the e-World, making it the first university to receive the award in two successive years. Shoalhaven Campus at West Nowra officially opens (replacing Berry campus premises), and marking the launch of the South Coast Education Network. South Coast Education Network Education Access Centres open at Batemans Bay and Bega. In an Australian first, the launch of CampusNet provides wireless internet access on campus.

2002

$16 million for the UOW Innovation Campus

NSW Premier Bob Carr presents UOW with a $16 million cheque to start building the Innovation Campus research and development precinct at North Wollongong. The Moss Vale (Southern Highlands) campus opens.

2003

UOW Southern Sydney

UOW's Southern Sydney campus officially opens.

2004

Funding for Graduate School of Medicine

Federal Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson announces $10 million in capital funding to establish a Graduate School of Medicine.

2006

UOW Named Commonwealth University of the Year

UOW is named inaugural Commonwealth University of the Year at an awards ceremony in London. The awards, run by The Times Higher Education Supplement in liaison with the Association of Commonwealth Universities, focuses on how universities achieve community engagement. UOW’s submission centred around its commitment to the community with the development of the Graduate School of Medicine and the Innovation Campus. UOW is included in The Times World Top 200 Universities for the first time.

2007

UOW Top 2% of Universities in the World

UOW retains its place in the World Top 200 Universities ranking, and for the first time is included in Jiao Tong Top 200 – putting UOW in the top two percent of world universities based on research rankings. NSW Governor Dame Marie Bashir welcomes the inaugural cohort of 80 students at UOW’s Graduate School of Medicine.

2008

Fostering Innovation in Research

NSW Premier Morris Iemma opens the iC Central building, the first to be completed at the Innovation Campus. Mr Iemma also announces $15 million in government funding towards the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute to be built at UOW. The Federal Government announces $35 million in funding to create a national infrastructure institute at UOW, the SMART (Simulation, Modelling and Analysis for Research and Teaching) Infrastructure Facility. The Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) is also opened in 2008, bringing together flagship research institutes – the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials and the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute.

2009

UOW's Third Chancellor

Chancellor Michael Codd AC retires after three four-year terms, and Chancellor Jillian Broadbent is appointed as UOW's third Chancellor. UOW ranks first overall for student satisfaction among Australian universities in a new independent survey, the Sweeney Student Satisfaction Ranking.

2010

IHMRI Opens, GSM Celebrates First Graduation

NSW Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt opens the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. UOW celebrates the first graduation ceremony for students from the Graduate School of Medicine. NSW Governor, Dame Marie Bashir attends the graduation ceremony.

2011

5000 Graduates for UOW Dubai

UOW Dubai reaches a significant milestone with its 5000th graduate.

2012

UOW's Fourth Vice-Chancellor

Professor Paul Wellings becomes UOW’s fourth Vice-Chancellor, replacing UOW’s longest-serving Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerard Sutton. UOW launches iAccelerate – a business incubator centre with the potential to launch hundreds of new businesses.

2013

UOW's Economic Impact & a Win for Team UOW

UOW releases an independently-verified study that shows it contributes $2 billion annually in economic activity, with most occurring in Wollongong and the surrounding Illawarra Region. Later in the year Team UOW Australia wins Solar Decathlon China – an international sustainable buildings competition that challenged university teams to design and build solar-powered buildings.

2014

Accommodation Expansion & Hong Kong Alliance

UOW announces a project to build two new on-campus residences commencing in July 2015, taking the number of beds the University can provide to students to more than 2,500. UOW forms a strategic alliance with the Council of City University of Hong Kong (CityU).

2015

Celebrating 40 Years of Independence

UOW celebrates its 40th anniversary and
prepares to open the $44 million Early Start Facility that will make UOW a national leader in early childhood education research, training and outreach.

Celebrate with us!

Throughout the year we’ll reflect on our achievements as one of Australia’s best international universities, taking stock of just how far we’ve come, and looking towards a bright future.