Victoria University Archives: Footscray Institute of Technology

In summary

Established: 1968, when Footscray Technical College was renamed

Ended: 1991, when it merged with the Western Institute to form Victoria University of Technology

Located:  Footscray Nicholson and Footscray Park campuses.



The Footscray Institute of Technology (FIT) was established in 1968, when the Footscray Technical College was renamed following a major review of technical education in Victoria.

The Victorian Institute of Colleges granted tertiary non-university Institutes much more autonomy than previously. For the first time institutes could appoint staff, undertake building works, and make changes to courses, without seeking Education Department approval. However, at Footscray Institute of Technology, only the diploma-granting section fell under the auspices of the Victoria Institute of Colleges, with the trade and secondary school sections still reporting to the Education Department. The diploma and secondary schools were located at the Ballarat Road site, with the trades section at Nicholson Street.

Following Charles Howard Beanland's retirement in 1967, a series of Acting Principals headed FIT until the appointment of Doug Mills as Principal in 1970 (this was later renamed to Director).

FIT began offering degree courses in 1972, commencing with the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical). Initially, degrees were awarded by the Victoria Institute of Colleges. This was the case until 1981, when FIT was accredited to confer degrees in its own right.

Photograph of one of the first graduation ceremonies held by FIT in its own right, mid-1980s,
Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria

In 1972, the secondary school division separated from FIT to become the Footscray Secondary Technical School. However, the Secondary School remained on site until 1980, when the buildings on the new school site were completed.

In 1973, the trades section was renamed to Footscray Technical College, a Division of Footscray Institute of Technology. While still under the banner of FIT, the trades area acted almost autonomously, providing reports back to the FIT Council, but otherwise acting as an independent entity. The Footscray Technical College Division of Footscray Institute of Technology went on to become the Footscray College of TAFE in 1982.

In 1986, Doug Mills died, and the position of Director was assumed by Irwin Herrman, who had been Assistant Director under Mills.

Following calls for a university to be established in the West of Melbourne, and based on the recommendations of the Commonwealth State Joint Working Party on University Education in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne, the Victoria University of Technology Act was passed in Victorian Parliament in 1990. An agreement was drawn up between Footscray Institute of Technology, Western Institute and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to establish VUT, with the new university to begin operations at the start of 1992. While RMIT pulled out of the merger in 1991, the establishment of VUT continued with the Western Institute and Footscray Institute of Technology.

FIT was formally wound up at the end of 1991, as the new Victoria University of Technology was officially operational as of January 1992.

Holdings in the archives

The Archives holds the following records relating to Footscray Institute of Technology:

  • Council minutes, 1968-91
  • Board of Studies minutes, 1968-91
  • Annual reports, 1983-91
  • Handbooks, 1968-91
  • Course pamphlets and leaflets
  • Graduation programs 1968-91
  • Student results 1968-91
  • Audio recordings, papers and publicity material for the Beanland lectures (annual lecture series), held between 1979-97
  • Annual Research reports, 1985-90
  • Staff newsletters
  • Photographs of staff and students, including student identification photographs, c. 1970-90
  • Photographs from Institute Open Days, 1986-91
  • Video recording and commemorative booklet, Doug Mills Memorial Service, 1986
  • Records relating to the merger with Western Institute to form VUT, including government reports, working party documents and minutes, c.1989-91
  • Sports clothing and trophies
  • Prize and Scholarship Awards programs, 1985-91
  • FIT Student Union material, including newspapers (including Seed, Widgie, The Snail, Informer), promotional material, minutes and photographs, c. 1981-91
  • Facilities records relating to the management of campuses and buildings, c. 1970-91
  • Institute medals designed by sculptor Michael Meszaros
  • Academic gowns and robes used in graduation ceremonies, c. 1973-91
  • Common Seal
  • Examination results registers, c.1952-73
  • Course accreditation submissions, 1973-91
  • Certificate, Diploma, Graduate Diploma and Degree Registers, 1968-91
  • Publications produced by FOOTPRINT, the Press of Footscray Institute of Technology, 1989-91