Skip links and keyboard navigation

Tertiary education

The first steps towards the provision of tertiary education for Queensland students were taken in 1870, only 11 years after Queensland had become a separate colony. The University Act of 1870 provided for the local examination of candidates for scholarships to universities in Great Britain and Ireland. The University of Queensland Act of 1909 established the University. The appointment of the Senate in 1910 represented the culmination of 40 years of effort to make tertiary education available to Queenslanders in Queensland. The University of Queensland opened in 1911, in the former Government House near the Botanical Gardens in Brisbane. Courses were offered in the faculties of arts, science and engineering, and correspondence courses were offered to students unable to attend lectures.

Exterior of a large building with a horse and carriage standing in front.

Photograph: Old Government House, original site of the University of Queensland (1920).

The University of Queensland transferred after 1949 to the present site at St Lucia, although some faculties also functioned off campus, for example, dentistry and medicine. In 1961 the University College of Townsville enrolled its first students: 92 were to attend full-time and 88 part-time. This college became the James Cook University of North Queensland in 1970.

^ Top of page

Aerial photo of St Lucia showing an empty lot of land, the river and surrounding areas.

Photograph: The St Lucia site before 1949.

Planning for Griffith University began in 1963. Following the Griffith University Act of 1971 this university was opened in 1975. This university offers courses in four schools - Australian Environmental Studies, Humanities, Modern Asian Studies and Science. This is an innovative approach to tertiary studies and makes Griffith University different from the University of Queensland and the James Cook University of North Queensland.

^ Top of page

The rapid development of colleges of advanced education dates from a recommendation to the Commonwealth Government in 1964 for the promotion of non-university tertiary studies. It was planned that the new colleges would lead to professional qualifications, and thus be broader in their scope and purpose than the existing technical colleges. They would also differ from universities by being primarily teaching institutions and emphasising applied studies.

By 1967 five colleges of advanced education had been established in Queensland: the Queensland Institute of Technology (Brisbane), Capricornia (Rockhampton) and Darling Downs (Toowoomba) Institutes of Technology (later known as Institutes of Advanced Education), the Queensland Agricultural College (Lawes) and the Queensland Conservatorium of Music (Brisbane). A Board of Advanced Education was established in 1970 to encourage, plan and co-ordinate the development of colleges of advanced education. A significant development in the history of these colleges came in 1971 when each became an autonomous body under the control of its own college council. A year later the State Teachers Colleges at Kelvin Grove, Kedron Park, Mt Gravatt and Townsville became autonomous colleges of advanced education.

One of these, Kedron Park, together with a new campus at Carseldine, formed the newly established North Brisbane College of Advanced Education. In 1973 the Brisbane Kindergarten Teachers College was designated a college of advanced education which, in 1974, became autonomous.

A review of teacher education was made in 1978 to improve the quality of both pre-service and in-service courses of teacher education.

In 1982 the North Brisbane, Kelvin Grove and Mount Gravatt Colleges of Advanced Education and the Brisbane Kindergarten Teachers College were amalgamated to form the Brisbane College of Advanced Education, and the Townsville College of Advanced Education was incorporated into the James Cook University of North Queensland.

^ Top of page

Last reviewed
10 January 2013
Last updated
10 January 2013