Antecedent History

Our Proud Antecedent History

The University of South Australia (UniSA) was established in 1991 but our foundations date back to the latter half of the 19th century. The forerunners of today’s UniSA were the South Australian School of Art, founded in 1856, the first of several Teacher Training Colleges formed in 1876, and the School of Mines and Industries which was established in 1889. These schools were renowned for providing quality education and for responding to the needs of the developing colony of South Australia. The following list shows the evolution of the University via the proud history of each school and college in South Australia.


Students at the School of Design School of Art 1856 1856: School of Design School of Art to South Australia School of Art, 1924

The South Australian School of Art is one of the oldest art schools in Australia and the oldest of UniSA's antecedent institutions. In 1856 the School was inaugurated as part of the South Australian Society of Arts, an organisation that included, in embryonic form, most of the major cultural institutions now situated along Adelaide's North Terrace: the State Library of South Australia, South Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia and the Adelaide School of Arts.

The School has a rich and innovative history. In 1892, it was the first in Australia to appoint a woman teacher of painting, Elizabeth Armstrong. She remained in that position until 1928. Under the leadership of Harry Pelling Gill and then Lawrence H Howie, Armstrong became one of many women staff. By the 1920s, and in contrast to the trend elsewhere in Australia, the majority of staff were women, including Jessamine Buxton, Ethel Barringer and Marie Tuck. In the 1930s and 1940s, other women teachers, including Mary P Harris, Dorrit Black and Jackie Hick, were instrumental in introducing students to modernism.

The school went through a number of name changes over the years:

1861: South Australian School of Design
1881: the School split into the School of Design and the School of Painting
1892: the two Schools merged into the School of Design and Painting
1894: School of Design, Painting and Technical Art
1909: Adelaide School of Art
1916: South Australian School of Arts and Crafts
1958: South Australian School of Art

In 1963, the School moved from the Exhibition Building (North Terrace, Adelaide) to new premises in Stanley Street, North Adelaide.

In 1973, the South Australian School of Art merged with Western Teachers College to form Torrens College of Advanced Education.


Adelaide Training School 18891876: Training School to Adelaide Teachers College, 1921

In November 1874 Mr E.J. Woods was invited to submit a plan for a Training School for Teachers by the Central Board of Education. The plan was approved and on 8 June 1876 the Training School opened on Grote Street and Mr L.G. Madley was the School’s first Principal. The School’s building was constructed by architects Brown and Thompson and it had a large lecture hall, a library, reading room, museum of the latest educational appliances and an apparatus room. There student teachers could practice in a schoolroom that held 75 children.

The Training School operated at various locations in Adelaide, finally settling at Kintore Avenue. Over the following decades the school underwent a number of name changes:

1876: Training School
1879: Training College
1900: University Training College
1913: Teacher Training College
1921: Adelaide Teachers College

To meet increasing demand, Wattle Park Teachers College branched off from Adelaide Teachers College in 1957, followed in 1962 by Western Teachers College.

Further teachers colleges were established with Bedford Park Teachers College in 1966 and Salisbury Teachers College in 1968.

In 1973, Adelaide Teachers College became Adelaide College of Advanced Education.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia B-54264


SA School of Mines and Industries 19211889: South Australian School of Mines and Industries

The School of Mines and Industries (SASMI) opened in 1889 in the Exhibition Building on North Terrace until 1903, when it moved to the Brookman Building, now part of UniSA. The first architectural course was established at the South Australian School of Mines by Louis Laybourne Smith in 1906. After the Second World War the School grew rapidly and Gavin Walkley, Laybourne Smith’s predecessor, expanded the School’s programs to include town planning (the first course of its kind in Australia), building technology, interior design and landscape architecture.

In 1960, SASMI was renamed the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT).

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia PRG-280-1-21-174


1903: SASMI Preparatory School to Adelaide Technical High School, 1918

In 1903, the South Australian School of Mines and Industries (SASMI) was founded in the Brookman Building, a preparatory school for students they found were not well prepared for study. In 1914 the School’s name was changed to the Junior Technical School and then again in 1918 to Adelaide Technical School. Originally the School was housed in the Brookman Hall, now part of UniSA’s City East Campus. Then in 1963, Adelaide Technical School moved to another site at Glenunga because it outgrew the Brookman Building and became the responsibility of the SA Department of Education.


Adelaide Kindergarten Training College 19131907: Kindergarten Training College to Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College, 1967

On February 6, 1906 the first free South Australian kindergarten was opened in a small rented cottage at 214 Franklin Street in the city with Lillian de Lissa as the director. De Lissa ran a child-centred educational program grounded in Froebelian ideas. Initially, families were sceptical about the kindergarten program, wondering why someone would offer to look after their children for a whole morning for free. However, De Lissa’s ability to build a rapport with families in the area and her willingness to take up opportunities to address public meetings meant that it was not long before many children were attending.

The first free kindergarten was such a success that, within a year, de Lissa was training a small group of future kindergarten teachers. The Adelaide Kindergarten Training College was born, with Lillian de Lissa as principal.

In 1913 the college was relocated to Strathearn on East Terrace and then, two years later, to 95 Palmer Place where it remained until 1974.

From 1967, the college was known as Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College.

In 1974, Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College became Kingston College of Advanced Education.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia B-62073


Wattle Park Teachers College 19571957: Wattle Park Teachers College

To meet increasing demand, Wattle Park Teachers College branched off from Adelaide Teachers College In 1957. This institution was located on Kensington Road, Wattle Park.

In 1973, Wattle Park Teachers College became Murray Park College of Advanced Education. At that time, the college relocated to St Bernard's Road, Magill.


South Australian Institute of Technology 19601960: South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT)

In 1960, the South Australian School of Mines and Industries (SASMI) was renamed the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT).

Initially comprised of a single city campus (where City East is now located), additional campuses were opened in 1962 at Whyalla and in 1971 at The Levels (where Mawson Lakes is now located).

In 1991, SAIT merged with the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE) to form the University of South Australia.


SAIT North Terrace Campus 19631960: SAIT North Terrace Campus City East

For over 100 years the North Terrace Campus had occupied the site at North Terrace. Previously known as the South Australian School of Mines and Industries (SASMI) before being renamed the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) in 1960. The North Terrace Campus was renamed the City Campus in 1992, then again in 1995 to City East as we know today.

Courses included Aboriginal Affairs, Accountancy, Business, Interior Design, Legal Practice, Library and Information Management, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy, Architecture, Building Studies, Planning, Pharmacy, Medical Laboratory Science, Nurse Education, Podiatry, Social Work and Property Resource Management.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia PRG-1704-11-2


SAIT Whyalla Campus building 19621962: SAIT Whyalla Campus

Established in 1962, the Whyalla Campus is the major centre of tertiary education in South Australia outside the metropolitan area. The campus has developed programs and expertise that reflect rural and regional Australia. The campus provides expertise in the fields of nursing, social work, early childhood and primary teaching, engineering and community wellbeing as well as offering a pathway to tertiary learning through its Foundation Studies program.


Western Teachers College 1962 emblem1962: Western Teachers College

To meet increasing demand, Western Teachers College branched off from Adelaide Teachers College in 1962. This institution was originally located in Adelaide’s Currie Street and Thebarton’s South Road, which until 1962 were annexes of the Adelaide Teachers College.

In 1973, Western Teachers College merged with the South Australian School of Art to become Torrens College of Advanced Education.


Bedford Park Teachers College 19711966: Bedford Park Teachers College

In 1966, Bedford Park Teachers College was originally located partly within Flinders University's School of Social Sciences, and partly within a Sturt Road annex. At the end of 1967, the college moved to its own buildings in Bedford Park, adjacent to the university.

In 1973, Bedford Park Teachers College became Sturt College of Advanced Education.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia PRG-1561-8-6-3 Photographer: Pritchard, Hal


Salisbury Teachers College 1968 emblem1968: Salisbury Teachers College

In 1968, Salisbury Teachers College was initially temporarily located within buildings of the Adelaide Teachers College, at Kintore Avenue, Adelaide. From mid-1969, the college was located in its new buildings at Smith Road, Salisbury East.

In 1973, Salisbury Teachers College became Salisbury College of Advanced Education.


SAIT Levels Camous Mawson Lakes 19751971: SAIT The Levels Campus Mawson Lakes

Opened in 1971, The Levels Campus housed the Schools of Chemical Technology, Mathematics and Computer Studies, Applied Physics, and Surveying as well as the Gartrell School of Mining, Metallurgy and Applied Geology and the four Engineering Schools - Civil, Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering. Features included excellent facilities for the student’s recreational and cultural activities in the Union Building, Sports Centre and Drama workshop as well as the numerous sports fields surrounding the buildings. This campus would be renamed Mawson Lakes in 2001.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia PRG-1704-11-3


Adelaide College of Advanced Education 19761973: Adelaide College of Advanced Education City Campus

The Adelaide College of Advanced Education, was located in Adelaide on Kintore Avenue and was formerly known as Adelaide Teachers College, which was founded as the Training School in 1876.

In 1979, Adelaide College of Advanced Education merged with Torrens College of Advanced Education to form the Adelaide College of the Arts and Education.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia B-72374-5


Adelaide College of Advanced Education City Campus 1973 emblem1973: Murray Park College of Advanced Education Magill Campus

Murray Park College of Advanced Education, located in Magill, was formerly known as Wattle Park Teachers College, which was established in 1957 to meet demand at Adelaide Teachers College.

In 1979, Murray Park College of Advanced Education merged with Kingston College of Advanced Education to form Hartley College of Advanced Education.


Torrens College of Advanced Education Underdale Campus 1973 emblem1973: Torrens College of Advanced Education Underdale Campus

Torrens College of Advanced Education, initially located in Adelaide, Hindmarsh, Keswick, North Adelaide, Thebarton and Torrensville, was created by the merger of the South Australian School of Art (established in 1856) and Western Teachers College (established in 1962 to meet demand at Adelaide Teachers College).

In 1976, additional locations were added at Flinders Park and Underdale.

In 1979, Torrens College of Advanced Education merged with Adelaide College of Advanced Education to form Adelaide College of the Arts and Education.


Sturt College of Advanced Education Sturt Campus 1973 emblem1973: Sturt College of Advanced Education Sturt Campus

Sturt College of Advanced Education, located in Bedford Park, was formerly known as Bedford Park Teachers College. This institution was founded in 1966 before becoming Sturt College of Advanced Education in 1973.

In 1982, Sturt College of Advanced Education merged with Adelaide College of the Arts and Education, Hartley College of Advanced Education and Salisbury College of Advanced Education to form the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE).


Salisbury College of Advanced Education Salisbury Campus 1973 emblem1973: Salisbury College of Advanced Education Salisbury Campus

Salisbury College of Advanced Education was located in Salisbury East and was formerly known as Salisbury Teachers College. This institution was founded in 1968 before becoming Salisbury College of Advanced Education in 1973.

In 1982, Salisbury College of Advanced Education merged with Adelaide College of the Arts and Education, Hartley College of Advanced Education and Sturt College of Advanced Education to form the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE).


Kingston College of Advanced Education North Adelaide 19761974: Kingston College of Advanced Education North Adelaide

Kingston College of Advanced Education, located in North Adelaide, was formerly known as Adelaide Kindergarten Teachers College, which was founded as the Kindergarten Training College in 1907.

In 1979, Kingston College of Advanced Education merged with Murray Park College of Advanced Education to form Hartley College of Advanced Education.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia PRG-1662-6-233-10 Photographer: Grimmett, Vic


Adelaide College of the Arts and Education City and Underdale 1979 emblem1979: Adelaide College of the Arts and Education City and Underdale

Adelaide College of the Arts and Education, located in Adelaide’s Kintore Avenue and Underdale, was created by the merger of Adelaide College of Advanced Education and Torrens College of Advanced Education.

In 1982, Adelaide College of the Arts and Education merged with Hartley College of Advanced Education, Salisbury College of Advanced Education and Sturt College of Advanced Education to form the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE).


Hartley College of Advanced Education Magill Campus 1979 emblem1979: Hartley College of Advanced Education Magill Campus

Hartley College of Advanced Education, was located in North Adelaide (until 1980) and Magill, and was created by the merger of Kingston College of Advanced Education and Murray Park College of Advanced Education.

In 1982, Hartley College of Advanced Education merged with Adelaide College of the Arts and Education, Salisbury College of Advanced Education and Sturt College of Advanced Education to form the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE), in the process becoming the Magill Campus that we know today.


South Australian College of Advanced Education 1982 emblem1982: South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE)

The South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE) was created in 1982 by the merger of:

Adelaide College of the Arts and Education (Adelaide and Underdale)
Hartley College of Advanced Education (Magill)
Salisbury College of Advanced Education (Salisbury East)
Sturt College of Advanced Education (Bedford Park)

In 1991, the Magill, Salisbury and Underdale campuses of SACAE merged with the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) to form the University of South Australia. The Adelaide SACAE campus became part of the University of Adelaide and the Sturt SACAE campus became part of Flinders University.


SACAE City Campus 19821982: SACAE City Campus

The South Australia College of Advanced Education (SACAE) City Campus offered Undergraduate degrees in dance, interpreting and translating, labour studies, music, secondary teacher education - drama, languages and music, educational theatre and women's studies. Graduate and postgraduate degrees offered included educational administration, in-service teacher education interpreting and secondary teacher education translating.

In 1991, the City campus would become a part of Adelaide University.


SACAE Underdale Campus1982: SACAE Underdale Campus

The Underdale Campus of the South Australian College of Advanced Education is located five kilometres to the west of the city of Adelaide. Formerly administered as two distinct Faculties (Art, Design and Applied Science and Education and Humanities), in 1988 a single Campus Administration became responsible for two Centres (Aboriginal Studies and Teacher Education Centre and the Centre for Human Resources Studies) and eight Schools: Applied Science, Art, Art and Design Education, Design, Nursing Studies, Physical Education, Studies in Education and Advanced Studies in Education.


SACAE MAgill campus1982: SACAE Magill Campus

The Magill Campus of the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE) is located eight kilometres east of the city centre. Students studying at Magill will find it a pleasant, parklike environment with excellent educational and recreational facilities.

The academic structure of the campus is organised into seven schools offering a wide range of courses. These Schools are:

School of Business
School of Communication
School of Cultural Studies
School of Human and Environmental Studies
School of Learning and Teaching Studies
School of Studies in Education
De Lissa Institute

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia B 70869 64 © Messenger Press


SACAE SAlisbury campus1982: SACAE Salisbury Campus

The Salisbury Campus of the South Australian College of Advanced Education was situated in spacious grounds 20 kilometres north of Adelaide. Established in 1968 as a Teachers College, it was proclaimed a College of Advanced Education by Act of Parliament in January, 1973. As an autonomous institution the College expanded and diversified in response to the changing educational needs of the community. In January, 1982 the College was amalgamated with Adelaide College of the Arts and Education, Hartley College of Advanced Education and Sturt College of Advanced Education to become the Salisbury Campus of the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE).

The facilities which were provided on the Campus were among the most modern in the state. They included a colour television studio, a radio studio, film workshops, science laboratories, art and music studios, a professionally equipped theatre, a teaching resource centre, a communication laboratory, an observation classroom, a large gymnasium and an Olympic-size swimming pool. Facilities and equipment continue to be augmented and upgraded to improve the teaching and research capabilities of the College. Additions to the facilities include an outdoor ecology laboratory, a sociology laboratory complex, a library extension and a wheelchair lift for the disabled. The existing computer facility had been upgraded and the swimming pool adapted to solar heating the first outdoor pool to be heated by solar energy in South Australia.


SACAE Sturt Campus1982: SACAE Sturt Campus

The South Australia College of Advanced Education (SACAE) Sturt Campus offered Undergraduate degrees in developmental disabilities, junior primary and primary teacher education, liberal studies, middle school teacher education, nursing (pre-registration) and nursing (post-registration). Graduate and postgraduate degrees included health education, in-service teacher education, nursing, professional development and special education.

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia B 70869 69 © Messenger Press


University of South Australia1991: University of South Australia

The University of South Australia was founded in January 1991 through the merger of The South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) North Terrace, The Levels and Whyalla campuses and the South Australian College of Advanced Education (SACAE) Magill, Salisbury and Underdale campuses.


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