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Technical education 1964-1982

The remarkable post-war growth of secondary industry created a growing demand for trained personnel at both the technician (tradesman) and technologist (professional) levels. To meet this demand, technical education was reorganised in the 1960s, many of the existing colleges being raised to tertiary level and others being created to provide additional technical education. Acceptance by the Commonwealth Government of the 1964 Martin Report, which recommended that increased funds be made available to the States to help establish autonomous tertiary-level institutes of advanced education, provided the financial support for this reorganisation. The Education Act of 1964 provided the necessary legislative basis for the reorganisation. It created a Technical Education Advisory Council, with members from industry, commerce, education and Government departments, which was responsible for advising the Minister for Education on the future development of technical education.

Consequently, in the late 1960s and 1970s, technical education divided into two streams. Tertiary-level institutes of technology were established at Brisbane in 1965, and Toowoomba and Rockhampton in 1967. These were granted autonomy in 1971. Furthermore, to help fulfil the demand for technical or certificate-level studies, a perimeter of specialist technical colleges was established around Brisbane in the early 1970s, each specialising in one or more of the sub-tertiary functions of the Central Technical College, which was phased out. These colleges were situated at Yeronga, Eagle Farm, South Brisbane, Ithaca, Kangaroo Point, Coorparoo and Seven Hills. At the same time many of the country colleges, e.g. Mt Isa, Cairns and Bundaberg, were moved into new accommodation, separate from the high schools.

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The recommendations of the Martin Report and the Education Act of 1964 also led to a reorganisation of post-secondary agricultural education. The Department of Education recognised that the elevation of the Queensland Agricultural College at Lawes to tertiary status would leave the State without institutions for agricultural education at sub-tertiary or technician level. The Rural Training Schools Act of 1965 filled this gap by providing for post-secondary schools serving particular industries. The first of these rural training schools was opened at Longreach in 1967 to serve the wool industry. Schools were later opened at Emerald in 1971 to serve the beef industry, Claredale in the Burdekin region in 1976 to serve the tropical and sub-tropical coast, and Dalby in 1979 to serve the grain industry.

A further period of rationalisation of post-secondary education began in 1974, with the release of the draft report of the Australian Commission on Technical and Further Education. This report recognised that because of rapid school change and the creation of new industries, society's needs and expectations for technical education had changed in the previous decade. It recommended that community resources for adult and technical education be rationalised and expanded to meet these new needs and expectations. In consequence, further funds were made available to technical and further education in 1975-76, and in January 1977 the integration of the two areas was completed and TAFE formally came into existence.

In the past three years new TAFE colleges have been opened and existing facilities improved. Courses offered have been greatly expanded, particularly in the area of pre-vocational courses and courses designed to foster greater community involvement in technical education. In fact, the basis of the TAFE conception has been the identification of local colleges with the needs of the local community.

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Last reviewed
10 January 2013
Last updated
10 January 2013