Our History

Founded in 1853 by an Act of the Victorian Parliament, the University of Melbourne is a thriving internationally acknowledged research University.

The original campus was set in a large area north of Grattan Street. Melbourne in the 1850s was a small colonial city but its civic leaders had a vision of its future. The Foundation Stones of the University and the State Library of Victoria were laid on the same day. The University is more than a place of learning and research. It is also an integral part of the cultural life of the city of Melbourne.

Website References

  • The History of the University Unit: The History of the University Unit was established in 1995 to promote and facilitate histories of the University, and is funded by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor. The Unit administers an annual round of study grants, organises a series of public Occasional Seminars, and publishes research in two series, Occasional Papers and Working Papers. Its website is an online resource of research on all aspects of the University's rich past, its staff and students, buildings and grounds.
  • University of Melbourne Archives: The University of Melbourne Archives collects, manages and provides access to the historical records of the University, Victorian business, trade unions and other labour organisations, community and cultural organisations, as well as the personal papers of many individuals prominent within them.
  • University of Melbourne Archives Image Catalogue (UMAIC): UMAIC is the online image catalogue of the University of Melbourne Archives. Launched in November 2001, we aim, subject to copyright, to eventually make all of the photographs and images in our collections available online. The largest collection currently available on UMAIC is the University of Melbourne photograph collection with approximately 1400 images that capture the evolving landscape and buildings of the University, ceremonies and celebrations, as well as many past staff. UMAIC also displays 1,000 selected images from the John Ellis Photograph Collection of Peace and Protest Movements in Melbourne (1971-1996). Ellis took these photographs during his participation in the same events and many of the images are accompanied by his own descriptions of the events and people. Chronicling the Anti-Vietnam War Moratorium, anti-nuclear rallies, Communist Party and trade union events, protest marches and the political figures who attended, John Ellis has documented an important part of our social and political history.

Reading References

The books listed are available at the University of Melbourne Bookshop

  • Phillip Goad and George Tibbits, Architecture on Campus: A Guide to the University of Melbourne and its Colleges, Melbourne University Press, 2003.

  • Stuart Macintyre and R J W Selleck, A Short History of the University of Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 2003.

  • Chris McAuliffe and Peter Yule (eds), Treasures: Highlights of the Cultural Collections of the University of Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 2003.

  • John Poynter and Carolyn Rasmussen, A Place Apart: The University of Melbourne, Decades of Challenge, Melbourne University Press, 1996.

  • R J W Selleck, The Shop: The University of Melbourne, 1850 – 1939, Melbourne University Press, 2003.

  • Charles Sowerwine and Alice Garner, The Wandering Scholar's Guide to Melbourne, Marketing and Communications, The University of Melbourne, 2007