Workmen, Booloominbah 1938. There was great pressure to get the College open quickly. Alterations were still underway as the first staff and students arrived.
This year marks the eightieth anniversary of the foundation of the New England University College in 1938, the first university institution in Australia outside the capital cities. As part of the anniversary, over October 2018 I ran a short series of columns on the families of the College.
Institutional histories focus on the institution. That's understandable. However, the NEUC could not have survived without the sacrifices made by the wives. For most, they were far removed from family support and had to manage with uncertainty and sometimes primitive conditions. The children of the NEUC families, the siblings, grew up in an amalgam world that was intensely local while also being global. Sydney was remote, more remote in fact than Oxford or Cambridge or Manchester.
This post gathers the family columns together so that you can follow the story through. Many things are left out, suppressed in order to fit within tight newspaper word limits, but they will give you a taste of a small but unique part of Australia's history. I have also included some links to earlier pieces that tell a little of the history of the NEUC, as well as a short UNE video made to celebrate the College's anniversary.
The family series is:
- New England University College: building an academic institution
- Armidale's university family grows
- Dedicated beginnings to New England's college
- University college 'siblings' experience a rich life
- The Pacific Belshaws 5 - Belshaw appointed to Armidale
- The Pacific Belshaws 6 - Brothers immersed in Depression economics
- The Pacific Belshaws 7: Fast-paced start for uni college
- Intense first days for new College
- New England University College fights to stay open.
- University college ‘starved'
- Building university into a regional power house
- 1954: University of New England finally achieves autonomy