Celebrating 25 Years of University Education in the Northern Territory

In 2014 Charles Darwin University celebrated 25 years of university education in the Northern Territory, a history that commenced with the opening of the Territory’s first and only university, the Northern Territory University, in 1989. Prior to the establishment of the Northern Territory University, adult education and post-secondary education in the Territory had a history dating back to the late 1940s and serving the needs of a community in what was still considered a frontier of Australia.

The Northern Territory University was Australia’s first dual sector university, delivering both Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education for 14 years before the decision was made to create a new university through the merger of the Northern Territory University, Centralian College in Alice Springs and the Northern Territory Rural College in Katherine, and a partnership with the Menzies School of Health Research. This new university, named Charles Darwin University, was created in 2003 to rationalise a fragmented array of tertiary education and research institutions in the NT, to extend the University’s reach to all parts of the Territory and participate as a partner in the Territory’s development across the social, cultural and economic spheres. There was also a reinvigorated focus on building a university that would bring high quality international academic skills to the NT to underpin Territory development.

Charles Darwin University has become one of the fastest growing, modern dual sector tertiary education institutions in Australia. We are very proud of what we have achieved in a relatively short space of time, and in an environment that presents many challenges, as well as great opportunities that make our organisation and our place in the Northern Territory unique.

During 2014 we celebrated our history and our achievements with a wide range of events and projects and completed a significant oral history project and film that provide a fascinating insight into how this University came into being - the vision, the aspiration, and at times the struggle it took to make the dreams of those early Northern Territory pioneers in tertiary education a reality.

Darwin Community College 1975  CDU Today

Our History in Film

View the fascinating history of our University encapsulated in the short film Our University - A Brief History of CDU, which brings together material from the 17 wonderful oral histories recorded as part of our Anniversary celebrations.

Watch film: Our University - A Brief History of CDU