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ERIC Number: EJ1080625
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 45
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0311-2543
Audacious Beginnings: The Establishment of Universities in Australasia 1850-1900
Tully, Kaye; Whitehead, Clive
Education Research and Perspectives, v36 n2 p1-44 2009
There have been various published histories of Australasian universities but none as rich as the two most recent relating to the universities of Sydney (1991) and Melbourne (2003). The latter, in particular, was the catalyst for this exploratory study. How was it that at a time when many major British cities lacked a university institution, towns (one can hardly describe them as cities) in the remote corners of empire were establishing universities? What were the driving motives for the founding of such institutions at a time when most colonies were barely providing even a basic primary schooling for most children? Were there underlying socio-economic and/or cultural pressures at work or was each university a unique case study of individual initiative as was the case of Wentworth in Sydney and MacAndrew at Otago, or group effort as was the case with the Oxford inspired Anglican "Pilgrims" in Christchurch, New Zealand. Whatever the cause, one cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer audacity of those who found both the time and energy to transplant the roots of Britain's intellectual heritage in alien lands far from home. This paper examines the origins of the first university institutions established in nineteenth century Australasia. At first sight it would seem that the founding of each institution was a unique story in its own right--a response by an individual or a small group to a felt need generated by a unique set of circumstances--but it was surely more than that. Many of the founding professors were outstanding British academics. What prompted them to give up the chance of a comfortable existence at home in order to make what often proved to be a long one way sea voyage to the back of beyond? This paper argues that it was not just distance from home, the practical problems of educating the young, or the need for professional expertise in fields like law, medicine, engineering, or accountancy that gave rise to Australasian universities but rather a deeply ingrained desire to reproduce British culture which was itself an expression of the Victorians' confidence in their ability to shape the future.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; New Zealand; United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A