Victoria University Archives: Footscray College of TAFE

In summary

Established: 1982, when Footscray Technical College separated from Footscray Institute of Technology

Ended: 1991, when it merged with Newport College of TAFE to become Gellibrand College of TAFE (renamed to Western Metropolitan College of TAFE)

Located: Footscray Nicholson Street Campus with Annexes around Footscray, Sunshine, Essendon, Melton and Werribee


The Footscray College of TAFE (FCOT) was formally established in June 1982 when the Footscray Technical College separated from the Footscray Institute of Technology. Dick Telford, who had campaigned for the separation from FIT, became Director of the new TAFE, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.

The TAFE taught a wide variety of courses and subjects, including certificates in business studies, child care, applied science and basic vocational (non-apprentice) areas. It also provided apprenticeships in boat building, cabinet making, carpentry and joinery, electrical fitting, fitting and machining, metal fabrication, plumbing and gasfitting, and sheetmetal. It also ran a number of preparatory courses and community-based short courses.

During his time as Director, Telford secured the closure of Nicholson Street between Buckley and Pilgrim Streets, which allowed large-scale construction  and redevelopment to occur at the Nicholson Street campus. In addition to the main site at Nicholson Street, there were also several College Annexes around Footscray and Yarraville, including on Berry, Buckley and Hyde Streets. The Braybrook Training Centre, located on Burke Road, Braybrook, provided training for industry in areas such as fork lifts, excavators and mobile cranes.

After Telford's retirement in 1985, Graham Beanland became Director, a position he held until 1990, when he was seconded to the State Training Board. Helen Smeaton was appointed as Acting Director in Beanland's absence, and oversaw the transition and amalgamation of Footscray and Newport Colleges of TAFE in 1990/91.

In 1986, FCOT acquired campuses in both Essendon and Sunshine, with FCOT assuming responsibility for parts of the former Essendon and Sunshine Technical School campuses (on Buckley Street Essendon, and Morris Street Sunshine, respectively). This enabled its programs to be delivered to a wider audience and allowed the extension of subject areas.

In 1988, the Industrial Skills Division was further bolstered by the purchase and development of land in Hoppers Lane, Werribee (part of what is now the Werribee Campus), creating another site for industry training. By 1990, all industrial skills training had moved to Werribee and the Braybrook site was no longer used.

In 1989, following a Ministerial Review of TAFE provision in the Western Metropolitan Region, the Minister Responsible for Post-Secondary Education decided to merge the Newport and Footscray Colleges of TAFE. At the same time, the Minister also proposed that the Essendon campus of FCOT be transferred to the Broadmeadows College of TAFE, to better rationalise and define places for TAFE in the West of Melbourne. While Footscray was not against the concept of a merger, they firmly believed that the Essendon campus should stay part of FCOT. While their objections were noted, the Essendon campus was transferred to the Broadmeadows TAFE in 1990.

In 1991, the State Training Board appointed a new Acting Director for FCOT after Helen Smeaton retired. Mike Smith was appointed to oversee the last months of FCOT and the start of the new Western Metropolitan College of TAFE. He remained as Acting Director after the merger had occurred in May 1991.

Footscray College of TAFE formally ceased to exist as of 1 May 1991, when it merged with Newport College of TAFE to form Gellibrand College of TAFE. Gellibrand College of TAFE was renamed Western Metropolitan College of TAFE in August 1991.

Holdings in the archives

The Archives holds the following records relating to Footscray College of TAFE:

  • Council minutes, 1982-91
  • Board of Studies minutes, 1982-98
  • Minutes of standing committees of Council, including Administrative (Executive) Committee, Policy & Planning Committee, Equal Opportunity Committee, Resources Committee and Staffing Committee, 1982-91
  • Policy and Planning Committee minutes, 1985-89
  • Handbooks 1983-90
  • Annual reports 1985-90
  • Graduation programs, 1982-90
  • Records relating to campuses, buildings and grounds, including openings and naming of buildings
  • Records relating to the Co-operative Development Model Agreement between Footscray and Newport Colleges of TAFE, including committee minutes and agreements, 1985-88
  • Records relating to the amalgamation with Newport College of TAFE, c. 1989-91
  • Promotional material including pamphlets, leaflets and video recordings, c. 1983-90
  • Annual apprentice concert and presentation of prizes programs
  • Strategic plans, 1988-90
  • Various audio and video recordings made by the Audio Visual Production Department, including building openings, departmental promotional material, speeches by Ministers, etc., c. 1985-90
  • Mounted photographic subject cards, 1986-91
  • Student and staff photographs, 1982-98
  • Staff newsletters (Footnotes) 1985-89
  • Examination papers, 1977-86 (with gaps)
  • Student result statements, 1982-90