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50th Anniversary of Wollongong Teachers College

In October 2012, Wollongong Teachers College students held a reunion to celebrate 50 years since the founding of the College. An Anniversary Exhibition was held in the Library's Panizzi Room to mark the event.

October 2012 saw the 50th Anniversary of the Wollongong Teachers College (WTC), the seventh Teachers College to be established by the New South Wales Department of Education. The College provided courses in infants' and primary school teaching, as well as the specialised field of physical education. In later years this expanded to include courses in secondary school teaching. In 1974 the College became the Wollongong Institute of Education (WIE).

The First Students and Teachers

The first classes conducted by the Wollongong Teachers College were held in 1962 in the College's temporary location in the Wollongong Technical College building in North Wollongong.

The first cohort comprised 158 students, supported by a teaching staff of 14. Mr William C. McGrath had been appointed as College Principal and Dr F. C. Whitebrook as Vice Principal. The following year, the first buildings were completed at the permanent site chosen on land along Northfields Avenue at the foot of Mount Keira, immediately west of the site of the present UOW campus. Within 3 years the student population had trebled to more than 400.

Official Opening

The College held its official opening ceremony at the Northfields Avenue site on the 22nd October 1965. The Commemorative Plaque was unveiled by the Hon. C.B. Cutler, New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Science. The ceremony was followed by afternoon tea and College Open Day events, where guests were invited to inspect the buildings and grounds, and watch Physical Education, Art, Craft and Science displays, as well as a special musical programme.

Browse the Opening Ceremony Booklet »

View footage from the Official Opening »

View footage from the Physical Education display »

The Crest and Motto

The crest embodies the aims and functions of the College (later the Institute) as a place of learning and teacher education. This is represented by two flames of knowledge. The smaller flame symbolises the local influence of the College (between the two lines of the mountains and the sea, ie. the Illawarra), while the larger flame represents its wider influence (extending beyond the physical limitations of its setting at the base of Mount Keira). The crest was designed by Mr J. Cramp, a former Art lecturer of the College.

The Latin motto “Inferre Lumina Mundo” may be translated as “carry light (of learning) into the world”.

Early Student Life

The first College Calendar for students was published in 1963, outlining College courses and regulations, as well as the facilities and societies available to students on campus. These handbooks reveal a fascinating record of student academic and social life at the time. Examples of earliest subjects on the curriculum included Health Education, Natural Science, Dramatic Art and Child Guidance. In addition to the Wollongong Teachers College Sports Union, which helped to coordinate a range of sporting related clubs, other early student clubs included Chess, Debating, Film and 'The College Wanderers' (bush-walking). Early Handbooks also specified the College's regulations that “Dress should be neat and appropriate to the occasion and a habit should be made of maintaining acceptable standards of deportment.”

Browse past Handbooks »

Early Graduation Ceremonies

The first Wollongong Teachers College Graduation Ceremony was held on 12th December 1963, in the Joint High Schools' Assembly Hall in North Wollongong, for the pioneering cohort of 150 graduating students, or as they were officially described in the Graduation Booklet "Those who will teach". The Lord Mayor of Wollongong, Mr Albert Squires, gave the official welcome and Mr D. J. A. Verco, Deputy Director-General of Education and Director of Teacher Training gave the Occasional Address.

Browse past Graduation Booklets »

Amalgamation with UOW

In 1982, following many years of debate, the Wollongong Institute of Education was amalgamated with the adjoining University of Wollongong (UOW). As part of a broader University wide restructure, a new Faculty of Education was formed on 31 January 1984 from the merger of the Institute’s School of Education and the University’s own long established Department of Education (based within the Faculty of Social Sciences).

The 50th Anniversary

In October 2012, Wollongong Teachers College earliest former students held a reunion to celebrate 50 years since the founding of the College. An Anniversary Exhibition was held in the Library's Panizzi Room to mark the event, featuring a range of historical material from the University Archives collections.