A brief history
The Lismore Teachers College (pictured at right) commenced its first year on Monday 23 February 1970, after several years of negotiations that began in 1959. It had 151 students and primarily was a single purpose college. On 1st September 1971 Lismore Teachers College became a College of Advanced Education under the Higher Education Act 1969. As student numbers increased and demand for a wider range of courses grew, the college was renamed Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education in 1973 becoming a multi-discipline college within the Ministry of Education. Even at this early stage of development our courses and successful placement of graduates were building us a highly regarded reputation of quality standards.
Following the publication of the Commonwealth Government's White Paper on Higher Education in 1988, and its emphasis on the development of larger institutions, Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education agreed to an association with the University of New England and formally became a network member of the newly constituted University of New England under legislation brought down in 1989.
During 1992, in response to a submission from the Board of Governors of The University of New England, the State and Commonwealth ministers responsible for Higher Education established an Advisory Group to consider the implications of the Board's proposal that the network University of New England be dismantled.
The Advisory Group recommended that a new university be established in the North Coast region of New South Wales as an academically integrated institution incorporating the current UNE network centres at Northern Rivers and Coffs Harbour, with the potential to establish additional sites at other North Coast centres as required. It also proposed that the new university develop under the sponsorship of a major metropolitan university for the first three years, while operating under its own name and Council and awarding its own degrees.
The Ministers jointly appointed an Implementation Advisory Panel to advise on the strategies necessary to give effect to the proposed new structures and announced that the successor institutions to the UNE network would be established in time for the 1994 academic year.
On 29th June 1993, the Commonwealth Minister for Employment, Education and Training and the State Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, announced the outcome of the joint Commonwealth/State review of the future provision of higher education in Northern New South Wales. The announcement included the statement that a new university would be established on the North Coast of New South Wales, which would consist of campuses at Lismore (formerly UNE-Northern Rivers) and Coffs Harbour (formally UNE-Coffs Harbour Centre). It was subsequently announced that the new institution would be called Southern Cross University. Appropriate legislation was passed by both houses of the New South Wales Parliament in October 1993, and received the Royal Assent on 9th November, 1993. Southern Cross University was established 1st January 1994.
In a short span of time Southern Cross University now encompasses three campuses, with University centres in Australia and overseas, providing students with full flexibility in tailoring our courses to their career aspirations. In response to industry needs and student demand, we have pioneered or developed high quality courses in niche areas such as forestry, coastal management, naturopathy, music, workplace training and tourism.
An important part of Southern Cross University's development strategy is our commitment to the NSW North Coast. Direct consultation or partnership with industry and employer groups, with practical workplace components in our courses are a part of this commitment.
Southern Cross University does not intend and never has attempted to emulate other universities. We aim to become the most progressive and innovative regionally based university in Australia - and we are well on the way to achieving that aim.