Victoria University Archives: Victoria University of Technology / Victoria University

History

Victoria University of Technology (VUT) was formally established in 1990, following the passing of the Victoria University of Technology Act. While the Act was passed in 1990, VUT did not commence operations until 1992, with the two preceding years used for planning and negotiations.

There had been calls for a university to be established in the West of Melbourne for several years, and a Commonwealth State Joint Working Party on University Education in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne was established to consider the issue. It recommended that a university be established and to that end, an agreement was drawn up between Footscray Institute of Technology, Western Institute and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). RMIT pulled out of the merger in March 1991, and the merger proceeded with FIT and Western Institute only.

1990 saw the appointment of the Foundation Chancellor, Creighton Burns, and the Interim Vice Chancellor, Graham Allen, and the first meeting of the VUT Council. In 1991, Jarlath Ronayne was appointed as Foundation Vice Chancellor.

Foundation Vice Chancellor, Jarlath Ronayne (l),
and Foundation Chancellor, Creighton Burns (r)

VUT was always intended to be a dual-sector university, offering both TAFE and higher education qualifications. On its establishment, it delivered courses across four campuses: Footscray (Ballarat Road campus), St Albans, Melton and Werribee. In 1993, this was increased with the acquisition of 300 Flinders Street in the Melbourne CBD. Also in 1992-3, negotiations were undertaken to acquire the former Caloola Training Centre at Jackson's Hill, Sunbury. In early 1994, VUT acquired the site, with refurbishments and upgrades conducted in 1994 and students first arriving at the start of 1995.

1994 also marked the establishment of an affiliation with the Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music. Music students were located primarily at the Sunbury campus, which was also used for performances and concerts. This affiliation continued until 2008.

In 1995, Peter Laver became Chancellor of VUT. 

In late 1997, following a ministerial review of the provision of TAFE services throughout the Melbourne metropolitan area, it was decided that the Western Melbourne Institute of TAFE (WMIT) was to merge with Victoria University of Technology. A Merger Implementation Committee was established, containing representatives from both institutions, and the merger occurred on 1 July 1998.

The merger with WMIT meant that VUT was now the largest tertiary education provider in the West of Melbourne. It also meant that there was a sudden increase of both students and campuses, with VUT now also having responsibility for the Footscray Nicholson, City King, South Melbourne, Newport, Sunshine and Yarraville campuses.

VUT further expanded its activities in the Melbourne CBD with the acquisition of 301 Flinders Lane in 1998, and in 2000, 283 and 295 Queen Street. The Queen Street campus was set up to house the newly established degrees in Law and the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre. 

In 2001, Justice Frank Vincent became Chancellor, and in 2003, Elizabeth Harman was appointed as Vice Chancellor. The 2000s also saw a reduction in the number of campuses, with Berry Street (Yarraville) closing in 2004, South Melbourne in 2005 and Sunbury in 2009.

In 2005, the University name was officially changed to Victoria University, reflecting discussions around the continuing relevance of the use of "Technology" as part of its name.

In 2006, Victoria University celebrated the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the Footscray Technical School by publishing a book called 90 Years 90 Legends, identifying 90 people who had played important roles in the development of VU and all of its predecessor institutions.

Items from the 90 Years 90 Legends celebration,
including dinner invitation, commemorative pin and thankyou to participants

After being Chancellor for over eight years, Frank Vincent retired in 2009. George Pappas was installed as the new Chancellor in 2010. In 2011, Peter Dawkins was appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of Victoria University.

2016 is Victoria University's Centenary year, celebrating 100 years since the Footscray Technical School opened to students in March 1916.

Holdings in the archives

The Archives holds the following records relating to Victoria University of Technology / Victoria University:

  • Council minutes, 1990-
  • Academic Board / Education and Research Board committees minutes, 1991-
  • Standing Committees of Council minutes, including Audit and Risk, Resources, Chancellor's and Strategy Committees
  • Standing Committees of the Academic Board / Education and Research Board minutes, including University Research, Postgraduate Research, Courses and Pathways, and Teaching and Learning Committees, 1992-
  • Management Advisory Committees, 1996-
  • Annual Reports, 1990-
  • Strategic Plans, 1994-
  • Graduation programs, 1991-
  • Commemorative plaques relating to building openings, mergers, etc, 1990-
  • Doctoral theses, 1992-
  • Masters theses, 1992-
  • Handbooks, 1991-
  • Course Guides, 1998-
  • Newsletters and magazines, including Nexus, Connections, Horizons, 1991-
  • Promotional material including brochures, pamphlets, posters, 1992-
  • Certificates, citations and programs for ceremonies conferring Honorary Degrees (honoris causa), 1993-
  • Audio recordings, publicity material and copies of lectures from the annual Beanland Lecture series (annual lecture series on current events), 1979-1997 (with some gaps)
  • Records relating to the development, construction and maintenance of campuses, grounds and buildings, 1990-
  • Records relating to the establishment of VUT, including newsletters from the Interim Vice Chancellor, meeting minutes and so on, 1990-1991
  • Records relating to the amalgamation of Western Metropolitan Institute of TAFE and VUT, 1997-8
  • Research and current affairs material published or supported by Victoria University, including Overland, Victorian Bulletin of Sport and Culture and research reports and publications from VU research centres and institutes (date range varies for each publication)
  • Photographs and video recordings documenting official events, such as graduations, open days and building openings, 1991-
  • Material relating to the development of individual VU Faculties, Schools and Centres, 1990-
  • Material relating to the VU Student Union, including minutes, photographs, diaries and publications (such as Seed, Informer and No Name), 1993-
  • Material relating to conferences organised by Victoria University, including proceedings and other publications, 1993-
  • Examples of sporting uniforms and clothing worn at the University Games and similar, 1992
  • Academic gowns worn at graduation ceremonies, 1991-
  • Common Seal
  • Audio recordings of an Oral History project conducted with various people involved in the establishment of Victoria University of Technology, including Foundation Professors, Council members, Vice Chancellor and Directors of departments, 1992