- The University of New England Act, 1989, created a network University consisting of: (i) a campus at Armidale, incorporating the former University of New England and the former Armidale College of Advanced Education; and (ii) a campus at Lismore, incorporating the former Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education.
- The following year the Orange Agricultural College joined the network University. The network also included the UNE-Coffs Harbour Centre, which provided courses from within academic departments of the Armidale and Lismore campuses.
The University of New England has been re-formed once again, with legislation (The University of New England Act, 1993 and the Southern Cross University Act, 1993) passed by both Houses of the New South Wales Parliament in November, 1993. This legislation had the effect of dismantling the network University. The University of New England from 1994 has only one campus, at Armidale. A new University (Southern Cross University) was created with campuses in Lismore and Coffs Harbour; the Orange campus was amalgamated with the University of Sydney.
The University of New England was originally formed in 1938 as the New England University College, a College of the University of Sydney. It became fully independent in 1954.
The University of New England has, since 1989, included the former Armidale College of Advanced Education, which was amalgamated with the Armidale campus at the time of the creation of the network University. This process of amalgamation was complete by the time of the new legislation in 1993, and the dismantling of the network University had no effect on its status.
The College of Advanced Education began life in 1928 as the Armidale Teachers College and became the Armidale College of Advanced Education in 1974, prior to amalgamation with the Armidale campus of the University of New England in 1989.
The University of New England is located on several sites in Armidale. The northern campus of the University is five kilometres to the northwest of the city centre, in an attractive rural and bushland setting. Part of this campus includes the original property presented by the late Mr T R Forster to the University of Sydney for the establishment of a University College. This property comprised the old homestead, 'Booloominbah', together with several other buildings and 74 hectares of land. Since the original gift, a number of other generous benefactors have presented properties to the University, whose Armidale site now comprises some 260 hectares.
The Newling campus of the University includes the Newling Centre, home to the New England Conservatorium of Music, and other buildings associated with the former Armidale College of Advanced Education.
The University also possesses a number of rural properties in close proximity to the campus, providing facilities for teaching and research. In addition, there are the 'Tullimba' rural research property at Kingstown and the Douglas McMaster Rural Research Station at Warialda.
The University of New England was formed in 1938 as the New England University College, a College of the University of Sydney. The University became fully independent in 1954 and pioneered teaching to external students by correspondence, making UNE Australia's most experienced provider of distance and now online education.
UNE is Australia's oldest regional university offering more than 200 courses at undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and higher degree research levels. In 2012 UNE recorded more than 20,000 current students and 1,200 staff.
Since it was established, the University has undertaken fundamental and applied research in many disciplines. Its scholars and scientists have established international reputations through their contributions in areas such as rural science, agricultural economics, geology, educational administration, linguistics, archaeology, etc. Collaborative research with other institutions, such as the CSIRO, has led to many important projects including participation in four Cooperative Research Centres. It is through its research activities that the University is able to assist in the economic, social and cultural advancement of Australia and in the advanced training of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
The University seeks to serve regional, national and international communities through the progressive pursuit of excellence in scholarship, research and teaching. In committing itself to this mission, the University of New England uncompromisingly endeavours to build on its strengths and gladly accepts its responsibility to serve the educational, cultural, intellectual and social needs of regional/rural Australia in general, and the New England region in particular.
A Spirit of True Learning, a commemorative history of UNE written by Dr Matthew Jordan, tells the story of the University of New England ...
- from its birth in 1938 as New England University College (NEUC) as an affiliate college of Sydney University
- through to its development of a distinctive academic tradition and autonomy in 1954
- and finally its vision for the future as UNE celebrates more than 50 years of excellence.