Victoria University Archives: Footscray Technical College (a division of F.I.T)

In summary

Established: 1973, as a division of Footscray Institute of Technology

Ended: 1982, when it split from FIT and was renamed as Footscray College of TAFE

Located: Footscray Nicholson Street Campus, plus Annexes in nearby Footscray streets, including Hyde St, Berry St and Buckley St.


In 1968, when the Footscray Institute of Technology was established, it fell into three areas: diploma / senior school, secondary school, and trades. While the diploma area fell under the auspices of the Victoria Institute of Colleges and enjoyed an amount of autonomy, the secondary school and trade divisions still reported to the Education Department. Additionally, the trades area was located at the Nicholson Street campus, further separating it from the main administration of FIT.

The trades area of FIT offered a variety of trade courses, including apprenticeships, in areas such as building studies, electrical trades, metal fabrication, fitting and machining, and plumbing and gasfitting. The former name of Footscray Technical College was still well regarded, and was used informally by the trades area. In 1973, this name became official with the trades area renamed to "Footscray Technical College - A Division of Footscray Institute of Technology".

Initially, the College was headed by a Vice-Principal, who reported to FIT Principal Doug Mills. This position was soon upgraded to Principal, but still reported to the FIT Council. In 1973, Richard "Dick" Telford, was appointed to this position, and he remained until his retirement in 1985.

Almost immediately after being appointed Principal, Telford began a campaign for the separation of the College from FIT. The College essentially acted independently, had no representation on the FIT Council, and felt that issues relating to technical education were not seen as important by FIT.

The establishment of the Newport Technical College, a Division of FIT, in 1979, provided an opportunity for some of the apprentice courses to be rationalised. Newport took over the metal trades, with the electrical trades remaining at Footscray. Perhaps more importantly, the establishment of Newport Technical College gave Footscray an ally in the debate with FIT about the place of technical education (also now known as TAFE) within the broader organisation of FIT.

Continued campaigns for separation occurred in the early 1980s. In 1982, discussions were held to formally separate the Footscray and Newport Colleges from FIT. Formal separation and change from the Footscray Technical College into the Footscray College of TAFE occurred in June 1982.

Holdings in the archives

The Archives holds the following records relating to Footscray Technical College, A Division of Footscray Insitute of Technology:

  • Joint Footscray-Newport TAFE Colleges Committee (governing committee for Footscray and Newport Colleges, reported to F.I.T Council), 1979-82
  • Principal's Reports to F.I.T. Council
  • College Board of Studies minutes, 1970-82
  • Correspondence between Footscray and Newport Technical Colleges regarding courses, apprenticeships, and so on, c. 1979-82
  • Graduation programs - certificates and prize awards, 1969-81
  • Handbooks, 1972-82
  • Course directories, c. 1976-80
  • Annual Apprentice Concert and Presentation of Prizes programs, 1973-86
  • College Medals, 1973-75
  • Photographs of students and staff
  • Examination papers, 1977-86
  • Student results, 1973-81
  • Graduation programs 1969-81