Foundation Day: the making of Charles Sturt University

Foundation Day celebrates the day in 1989 two NSW educational institutions came together to become Charles Sturt University.

CSU did not spring fully formed from nothing. On 19 July 1989, the Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education (based in Albury and Wagga Wagga) amalgamated with the Mitchell College of Advanced Education (based in Bathurst).

Charles Sturt University, with campuses and study centres now spread from Brisbane to Melbourne, and with students across the entire world, stands on the shoulders of these precursor institutions.

The launch was held on the Mitchell College of Advanced Education campus, with the NSW Minister for Education, Dr Terry Metherell, unveiling commemorative plaques and the holding of the inaugural meeting of the Interim Board of Governors.

CSU Interim Board of Governors (CSU2620.3154)
The Charles Sturt University Interim Board of Governors, 1989 [CSURA CSU2620/3154]
During this meeting, the Board appointed Professor Michael Birt as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the new University.  Professor Birt was, at the time, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of NSW which was the ‘sponsoring institution’ of Charles Sturt University.

On that day, Professor Birt said of Wagga, Bathurst and Albury that, “the strengths of their communities combined can create a university much more powerful in knowledge and skill than either of the colleges it has subsumed.”

The following is a timeline to demonstrate some of the basic milestones in the establishment of the educational institutions our university was initially based upon.


The Making of Charles Sturt University

1892  The Wagga Experiment Farm is established
[NSW Government Gazette dedication, 25 October 1892]

1895  The Bathurst Experiment Farm is established
[NSW Government Gazette proclamation, 14 August 1895]

1896  The first students enrol at the Wagga Experiment Farm
[Wagga Wagga Express, 24 September 1896]

Students in costume (CSURA SA1634)
Wagga Experiment Farm students dressing up, c.1920s-1930s [CSURA SA1634]
1897 The first students enrol at the Bathurst Experiment Farm
[The Bathurst Daily Free Press, 13 March 1897]

1941  Full time student education ceases at the Bathurst Experiment Farm

1947  The Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College is established
[The Daily Advertiser, 10 June 1947]

1949  The Wagga Experiment Farm is closed to be reformed as the Wagga Agricultural College and Experimental Station
[The Daily Advertiser, 25 February 1949]

1951  The Bathurst Teachers’ College is established
[The National Advocate, 13 March 1951]

Bathurst Teachers' College (CSURA RW2116)
A student teacher walks out of the gates at the Bathurst Teachers’ College,1957 [CSURA RW2116]
1953  The Agricultural Research Institute is established out of the Wagga Experimental Station

1968  The Mitchell College of Advanced Education is established with an Interim Council

1969  The Bathust Teachers’ College is closed

1969  The Riverina College of Advanced Education is established with an Interim Council

1970  The first students enrol at the Mitchell College of Advanced Education

MCAE View from gates [CSU2548.3]
View of the Mitchell College of Advanced Education from the front gates [CSURA CSU2548/3].
1970  The Wagga Agricultural College becomes a college of advanced education

1971  The Goulburn Teachers’ College is established

1971  The Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College is closed

1971  The first students enrol at the Riverina College of Advanced Education (at the WWTC campus, moving to the northern campus in later years)

1972  Study centres are established at Albury and Griffith by the Riverina College of Advanced Education

Mudge', 618 Olive St
RCAE Staff standing outside ‘Mudge’, (618 Olive Street), one of the converted heritage houses that the Albury campus was based in, c.1980s). [CSURA SA2620]
1975  The Goulburn Teachers’ College becomes a college of advanced education

1976  The Wagga Agricultural College becomes the School of Agriculture within the Riverina College of Advanced Education

Goulburn CAE and Riverina CAE amalgamation [CSURA CSU2620]
Shaking hands at the official announcement of the amalgamation of the Goulburn and Riverina Colleges of Advanced Education, 30 October 1981.   L-R: Dr C Woodrow (Principal, GCAE), Mr F Chattaway (Chairman ACAE), Dr Cliff Blake (Principal Designate, RCAE), Mr Peter Hastie, (Chairman, RCAE Council), Mr R Mulock (Minister for Education), Dr Edwin Brooks (Dean, School of Commerce, RCAE) [CSURA CSU2620]
1984  The Goulburn College of Advanced Education is closed and amalgamated with the Riverina College of Advanced Education, the campus becoming the administrative headquarters of External Studies

1984  The Albury Study Centre becomes a full campus of the Riverina College of Advanced Education

1985  The Riverina College of Advanced Education changes its name to the Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education

1989  The Riverina-Murray Institute of Higher Education and the Mitchell College of Advanced Education amalgamate to become Charles Sturt University, with foundation campuses at Albury, Bathurst and Wagga Wagga.

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2 thoughts on “Foundation Day: the making of Charles Sturt University

    1. Hi Edward,
      Sorry about that! The gentleman on the left is Dr C Woodrow, who was the Principal of Goulburn College of Advanced Education at the time.
      I’ve updated the caption.

      Like

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