Pioneer Northern Territory higher education institutes preceding these include Darwin Community College opened in 1974, the Centralian College of Alice Springs opened in 1979 and the Darwin Institute of Technology opened in 1985.
No other single Australian university serves such a large area of the continent, in such a remote location and with such a small population to sustain it.
“The Territory struggled long and hard to establish a university. The pioneers of higher education in the NT knew that a university would encourage our young people to stay in the Territory to complete their education. It was also apparent that a university would be central to developing the NT into the thriving, diverse and unique place it is today.”
Former Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Professor Charles Webb.
Darwin Community College officially opens
His Royal Highness Prince Philip’s ceremonial opening of Darwin Community College on 10th March 1974.
Video footage provided by Jolene Laverty ABC Radio Darwin breakfast news presenter with kind permission of Mr. Rakesh Verma.
Mr. Verma’s father Mrigendra Verma filmed this on a home video 8mm camera.
According to Rakesh, the family went along to the 1974 Darwin Community College opening out of curiosity and his father was a keen cameraman.
Celebrating a milestone
In 2014, the University celebrated 25 years of Higher Education in the Northern Territory. Hear from the people who campaigned for tertiary education in the NT.
A verbal history of Higher Education in the NT
Timeline of our story
CDU Historical group
Recording CDU's history
The CDU Historical Group aims to preserve and document CDU’s history as a higher education institution and trace it back to its earliest beginnings in 1974 as Darwin Community College.
Several of the group’s members are current or former CDU academic staff who are passionate about ensuring that the university’s rich history is celebrated and publicised.
A history written in metal: commemorative plaques at Charles Darwin University's Casuarina Campus, 1972-2013.
As part of CDU’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, historian Dr Steven Farram undertook a project to record the historic plaques that mark the openings of buildings on all of CDU’s campuses.
The plaques at Casuarina campus and their history have been documented in a book by Dr Farram – ‘A History Written In Metal: Commemorative Plaques at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina Campus, 1972-2013’, published by the Historical Society of the Northern Territory (HSNT) in May 2014.
See the HSNT website for details about how to purchase the book or contact Janie Mason, T: (08) 8946 6385, E: email@example.com.
The book can be purchased from the CDU Casuarina campus bookshop and borrowed from CDU campus libraries.
Farram, S. (2014). A history written in metal: commemorative plaques at Charles Darwin University's Casuarina Campus, 1972-2013. Historical Society of the Northern Territory.
An eventful journey: the evolution of Charles Darwin University.
Emeritus Professor Charles Webb came to Darwin in 1987 to take up a position at the newly formed University College of the Northern Territory (UCNT). He was one of 12 inaugural science staff. As the University grew, he moved from teaching into management becoming Pro Vice-Chancellor and then deputy and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
In 2014, his book on the history of CDU was published as part of CDU’s 25th Anniversary celebrations.
The book can be loaned from the CDU Alice Springs campus library.
Webb, C. J. (Charles W., Webb, C. J., & Webb, C. J. (Charles W. (2014). An eventful journey: the evolution of Charles Darwin University. CDU Press.
From hospital to university: a Northern Territory nursing story.
Janie Mason is the curator CDU’s Nursing Museum and a University Fellow. Prior to her academic career, she worked in acute care nursing in urban and remote communities and taught secondary school science and Darwin Hospital nurse trainees.
Her book on her wide-ranging career in nursing, teaching and academia was also published in 2014 and is available at most CDU campus libraries and the CDU Casuarina campus bookshop.
Mason, E. A. (Janie). (2014). From hospital to university: a Northern Territory nursing story. UniprintNT, Charles Darwin University.
The making of the Northern Territory University.
Emeritus Professor Jim Thomson, AM, was warden of the University College of the Northern Territory and first deputy vice-chancellor of the Northern Territory University. His book ‘The Making of the Northern Territory University’ provides a frank and illuminating account of the founding of a university in the Northern Territory. The book is out of print, but a copy can be obtained from the CDU campus libraries.
Thomson, J. M. (1999). The making of the Northern Territory University. NTU Press.
A university for the Territory: the Northern Territory University and preceding institutions 1949-1999
Forty years of development in post-school education in the Territory culminated in the official opening of the Northern Territory University in April 1989. The University was preceded by the Darwin Adult Education Centre and its counterpart in Alice Springs, by the Darwin Community College, the Darwin Institute of Technology and, from 1987, the University College of the Northern Territory.
This book tells the story of these institutions, of the part they played in the development of education in the Territory and in the struggle for the University and of the first decade of the University.