Victoria University, Australia

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Victoria University
Established 1916 (University status 1990)
Type Public
Chancellor George Pappas
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins
Students 27,695 (2014)[1]
Other students
18,503 (2014)[1]
Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Campus Urban
Affiliations ASAIHL

Victoria University (VU) is a dual-sector tertiary institution (higher education and TAFE) based in Melbourne, Australia.

VU is a public university that offers seven academic colleges: Arts, Business, Education, Engineering and Science, Health and Biomedicine, Law and Justice, and Sport and Exercise. In addition, VU's Victoria Institute of Technology provides vocational education and training.

VU hosts access to six research institutes and seven research centers. Research focus areas are built around three themes: Sport, Health and Active Living, Education, Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development, and Sustainable Industries and Livable Cities.

The University has several campuses in Melbourne's CBD and western region, including two in Footscray, and one in Sydney. It also offers courses at partner institutions throughout Asia, including China, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. More than 47,000 students, including around 15,000 international students, studied VU courses worldwide in 2014.

In 2016, VU will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a university, which will also mark its centenary as an educational institution.


The idea for a technical school based in the western suburbs of Melbourne was first proposed in 1910. The Footscray Technical School opened its doors to 220 students and 9 teachers in 1916 after 5 years of fundraising.

Charles Archibald Hoadley was the school's principal from its founding until his death in 1947. His vision was to aid and distinguish students who had not only a sound technical knowledge but also an appreciation of the arts, sports, outdoor and community activities. He believed in educating students "for life as well as for living"[2] and wanted students to view education as opening the doors of opportunity.

Under Hoadley's leadership, the school expanded rapidly and began offering trade certificate courses, diplomas in architecture, building and contracting, as well as evening classes. War and the Depression saw a dip in numbers. However, by 1943, there were 2500 students enrolled in courses taught at the Footscray Park and Footscray Nicholson campuses.

The following decades saw gender and cultural shifts. Women first enrolled in day diploma course in 1960, and changes to the Federal Government's immigration policy resulted in many more European and Asian names entered on the roll.

In 1958, the school changed its name to the Footscray Technical College. Ten years later, it changed its name again, this time, to Footscray Institute of Technology (FIT). The secondary school component was separated from the rest of the Institute in 1972.

By the mid-1970s, the expanded curriculum included degree courses and was well beyond the technical focus of the original Footscray Technical School.

Further changes occurred in the 1980s with the technical and trades education section separating from FIT to form the Footscray and Newport Colleges of TAFE.

In 1990, FIT merged with the Western Institute, which had been founded three years earlier to provide TAFE and higher education courses to the outlying suburbs in Melbourne's west. In 1990, it was established as a university by the Victorian State Parliament as Victoria University of Technology.[3] A further amalgamation occurred in 1998, this time with the Western Melbourne Institute of TAFE. In 2005, The Victoria University of Technology Act 1990 was amended[4] to rename the university as Victoria University, reflecting the development of the University's teaching research into wider domains.

The institutions that combined to form VU over more than 80 years, include:

  • Footscray Technical School, renamed Footscray Technical College and later Footscray Institute of Technology
  • Newport Technical College, renamed Newport College of TAFE
  • Melbourne School of Hairdressing
  • School of Painting, Decorating and Sign Crafts
  • Melbourne Technical College of Hairdressing
  • Melbourne College of Decoration
  • Footscray College of TAFE
  • Flagstaff College of TAFE
  • Western Institute
  • Gellibrand College of TAFE, renamed Western Metropolitan College of TAFE
  • Western Melbourne Institute of TAFE
  • Victoria University of Technology


In 2014, VU had 46,198 students.[1] Approximately 60% were studying higher education degree programs and 40% enrolled in TAFE training courses. Of these students, 5682 were international students studying onshore at one of VU's Melbourne or Sydney Campuses, and 8761 were international students studying VU programs offshore at one of its partner organisations located mainly in Asia.[1]


Seven of the University's colleges offer internationally recognised qualifications ranging from certificates and diplomas through to higher education degrees, postgraduate certificates and diplomas, master and doctoral research degrees (PhDs). The two additional colleges (Victoria Institute of Technology and VU College) offer vocational education courses.

  • The College of Arts offers a range of pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate courses and conducts research in arts, communication, community development, creative arts and industries, psychology, social science and social work.
  • The College of Business is one of the largest business schools in Australia. Training is provided across various business-related areas including business, management, accounting, finance, supply chain and logistics, marketing and human resources. It conducts research at its associated centres: the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics, and Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies.
  • The College of Engineering and Science offers architectural, building, civil, mechanical, electrical and sports engineering courses, as well as courses in information technology, building surveying and science.
  • The College of Education emphasises workplace learning in teacher and youth work education through its partnerships with schools, community organisations and industry, especially in Melbourne’s west. It is one of the few Australian universities to offer a Bachelor of Education (P-12) so graduates can teach at any level. The Victoria Institute, which focuses on inclusive education, is part of the College of Education.
  • The College of Health and Biomedicine provides hands-on learning, teaching and research in nursing and midwifery, dermal therapies, osteopathy, beauty therapy, nutrition and paramedics. Learning in simulation labs and training clinics and salons is part of most courses.
  • The College of Law and Justice operates through The Victoria Law School at the University's City Queen Campus in Melbourne’s legal district at the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees as well as continuing legal education for legal professionals, including migration law courses. Second and third-year students participate in real cases at the Melbourne, Sunshine and Werribee Magistrates' Courts.
  • The College of Sport and Exercise Science offers courses in aspects of sport, physical education, recreation management, coaching and exercise science. The courses are based mainly at Footscray Park Campus, site of the University's new sport and learning precinct, including the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL).
  • Victoria Polytechnic is the University's TAFE entity, offering National Training Package qualifications in construction, engineering and machining, hairdressing, hospitality and make-up. These courses include skills development for pre-apprentices, apprentices, trainees and current workers, as well as tailored workforce development for enterprises both nationally and internationally.
  • VU College provides a range of student support programs for local and international students across all University colleges, including assistance with English language, literacy and numeracy. It also delivers nationally accredited and customised courses, and career development services.


Victoria University emphasises research that is of relevance to the community, industry and government – both nationally and internationally, but particularly in the western region of Melbourne. The University's Research Plan 2012–2016[5] supports multidisciplinary research in several target areas: applied informatics; creative arts and writing; diversity and wellbeing; education, diversity and lifelong learning; food and nutritional sciences; medical and health sciences; supply chain, logistics and transport; sport, exercise and active living; strategic economics; and sustainable environmental technologies.

Victoria University has six research institutes and seven research centers.

Research Institutes

  • Victoria Institute
  • Institute for Sustainability and Innovation (ISI)
  • Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics (ISCL)
  • Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
  • Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies (VISES)
  • Mitchell Institute

Research Centers

  • Centre for Environmental Safety and Risk Engineering (CESARE)
  • Centre for Applied Informatics (CAI)
  • Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
  • Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS)
  • Work-Based Education Research Centre (WERC)
  • Western Centre for Health Research and Education
  • Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing

Research Ratings

In the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) ratings published in 2015,[6] VU achieved the top ERA ranking of 5 (well above world standard) in:

  • human movement and sport science
  • electrical and electronic engineering
  • nursing

An ERA rating of 4 (above world standard) in:

  • applied mathematics
  • mathematical sciences
  • engineering
  • mechanical engineering

And an ERA rating of 3 (world standard) in:

  • artificial intelligence and image processing
  • distributed computing
  • information systems
  • education
  • specialist studies in education
  • tourism
  • language, communication and culture
  • cultural studies

Notable Staff

  • Dr Tony Birch, poet, novelist, author
  • Chris Buckingham, former CEO Destination Melbourne
  • Robert de Young, television producer
  • Dr Craig Emerson, former Australian politician
  • Gary Foley, Indigenous activist and historian
  • Gary Fryer, osteopath/researcher
  • Professor Leslie Glick, Senior Counsel for the State of Victoria, appointed 2001
  • Ian Gray, magistrate
  • Ian James, managing director Mushroom Music Publishing
  • Wayne Kayler-Thomson, Director VicSuper, Victoria Tourism Industry Council, National Tourism Alliance
  • Retired High Court Judge, the Hon Michael Kirby
  • Dr Carla Kleverlaan, author & former volleyball player
  • Alan Kohler, financial journalist and editor
  • Professor Peter Lauritsen, magistrate
  • Professor Rod Maddock, Vice-Chancellor's fellow, President Economic Council of Victoria
  • Wes McMaster, finance litigation expert
  • The Hon Justice Chris Maxwell QC
  • The Hon Judge Philip Misso, County Court of Victoria
  • Professor Robert Richter QC
  • The Hon Nicola Roxon, Australia's first female Attorney-General
  • Dr Ian Sadler, author
  • Dianne Smith, Chief Executive Victoria Tourism Industry Council
  • Robert Stary, criminal law specialist
  • Lily Stojanovska, author
  • John Weldon, novelist


Victoria University has developed partnership agreements with several organisations, with the aim of strengthening the University's community and industry relationships. These include:

  • Melbourne Writers Festival: VU manages the Reviewer for a Day program, blogging their Festival experience
  • Malthouse Theatre: as official Education partner, VU staff and students can access the productions and facilities of the Malthouse, including placement opportunities
  • Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC): a long-standing relationship with FCAC offers students engagement opportunities across the Centre's program. The Centre's first incarnation was housed in a tin shed on the campus of the Footscray Institute of Technology
  • Melbourne Vixens: workplace learning opportunities across the disciplines of exercise science, massage, management, psychology, nutrition, marketing, accounting and more are offered with the Vixens netball team and at the VU Netball Academy
  • Western Bulldogs: Students can take up placements with AFL team the Bulldogs in areas including biomechanics, exercise physiology, remedial massage and exercise rehabilitation, business, administration, event management, marketing, tourism and hospitality. VU and the Bulldogs also have a shared commitment to the development of Melbourne's western region through collaborative community building programs
  • Western Jets: VU's partnership with this football club began in 2000 and today offers community engagement opportunities in west Melbourne and workplace opportunities for students
  • Footscray University Town: Victoria University and Maribyrnong City Council have partnered on a ten-year revitalisation plan for the area. It includes the VU MetroWest community hub in Footscray which comprises a café, bookshop, hot desks, meeting rooms, psychology clinic, exhibition space and more.


Victoria University has campuses located across Melbourne's western region and the city centre. One campus is located in central Sydney.

VU courses are also delivered by several partner institutes in Asia. Two of the largest partners are Sunway University College in Malaysia and Liaoning University in China.

Footscray Park

File:P Building, Footscray Park, Victoria University.jpg
Victoria University Footscray Park Campus – Building P

Footscray Park Campus on Ballarat Road, Footscray is the University's main campus and administrative centre. It offers higher education courses primarily in engineering, education and sport-related disciplines. It occupies a seven-hectare site overlooking Flemington Racecourse and the Maribyrnong River. A$68.5 million sport and learning precinct, including sport and exercise science research labs, was completed in early 2011. The campus also has a 25-metre swimming pool and a childcare centre.

St. Albans

St Albans Campus on McKecknie Street St Albans is the University's health and education hub, with a focus on psychology, nursing, arts, paramedic and biomedical science. It is set on 32 hectares of native grasslands and sugar gums. The new St Albans Health and Fitness Centre was opened in 2013.[7]

Footscray Nicholson

Footscray Nicholson Campus is in central Footscray, on the corner of Nicholson and Buckley Streets. It delivers TAFE, VCE and short courses. Its new learning commons was opened in 2013 offering a broad range of educational and student services.

City Flinders and City Flinders Lane

Situated in two buildings at 300 Flinders Street and 301 Flinders Lane in central Melbourne. The Flinders Lane building focuses on osteopathy and English language training and is also the University's administrative centre for international student recruitment and support. The 19-storey Flinders Street building overlooks Melbourne's historic Flinders Street Station, the Yarra River and the Southbank precinct. The University's postgraduate business courses and many of its courses in graphic design, visual art and multimedia are taught at this campus. The Flinders Street building also contains convention facilities.

City King

City King Campus is located in a high-rise building close to Southern Cross Station. It provides health and beauty courses and includes a hair and beauty salon that is open to the public.

City Queen

File:Melbourne Victoria University City Campus in Queens St..jpg
Victoria University City Campus in Queen Street

City Queen Campus occupies two heritage buildings at 283 and 295 Queen Street in the heart of Melbourne's legal precinct. The Campus houses the University's College of Law and Justice, a Law Library, The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre and two moot courts. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate law courses, including continuing legal education courses for legal professionals.


Werribee Campus is located in the Werribee agricultural research/tertiary education precinct and spreads over 16 hectares. It offers trades training as well as facilities for water, food and fire safety research.


Sunshine Campus is located on Ballarat Road, Sunshine and offers TAFE courses, focusing mainly on business and the construction industries.[8] The $44 million high-technology Construction Hub was opened in 2013 for building and construction training. The Campus also has a convention centre with a 200-seat auditorium.


Victoria University delivers a number of business courses to international students only at its Sydney Campus in central Sydney, which operates in partnership with the Education Centre of Australia (ECA).

Whitten Oval

In late 2010, VU opened an $8 million Sport and Recreation Learning Centre in partnership with the Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval in West Footscray.[9] The Centre contains massage therapy clinics open to the public, as well as a 140-seat lecture theatre, a library, classrooms and offices.

Student Accommodation

VU owns and operates student accommodation for VU students, staff and guests of the University.[10]

The Student Village is a University-owned residential complex on Williamson Road, Maribyrnong near Highpoint Shopping Centre. The Village provides accommodation for 510 students. Priority is given to students from VU, but when vacancies exist, accommodation is available to students from other universities.

Victoria Place is a three-storey apartment complex at 117–119 Ballarat Road, Footscray, a five-minute walk from Footscray Park Campus. It has fully furnished and self-contained apartments, as well as three-bedroom units with en suite and disability access.

International House, a traditional residential college located at the University of Melbourne, also offers places to Victoria University students.


Sexual assault, attacks and harassment statistics

A report released by the Crime Statistics Agency of Victoria in 2015 highlighted that one-third of on-campus sex attacks in Victoria had occurred on a Victoria University Campus.[11] Compared to eight other Victorian universities, six containing a larger body of students than Victoria University, Victoria University had the highest number of sexual offenses recorded from 2004 to 2015.[11] Between 2004 and 2015, 31 sexual offenses and 10 reports of sexual harassment, stalking and threatening behavior were recorded by Crime Statistics Agency of Victoria.[11]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Victoria University 2014 Annual Report" (PDF). VU.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 90 Years 90 Legends. Victoria University. ISBN 1862726655.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Victoria University of Technology Act 1990". Parliament of Victoria.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Victoria University of Technology Act 2010 preamble".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "VU Research Plan 2012–2016" (pdf). VU. Retrieved 7 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "VU's new sports centre brings a world of fitness to the west" (Press release). VU. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Tour Victoria University's new Trades College building at Sunshine" (Press release). VU. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Victoria University unveils its new teaching facilities in a bright new kennel" (Press release). VU. 17 August 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. VU Student support: Housing & finance
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2

Further reading

  • Rasmussen, Carolyn (1989), Poor Man's University: 75 years of Technical Education in Footscray, Melbourne: The Press of the Footscray Institute of Technology ISBN 1-86297-000-9
  • 90 Years, 90 Legends (2006), Melbourne: Published by Victoria University ISBN 1-86272-665-5

External links

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