University of Melbourne

Australian public university located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The University of Melbourne is in Melbourne, Victoria. Opened in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia, and the oldest in Victoria. The main campus is in Parkville, just north of the Melbourne CBD. It has several other campuses across Victoria. It has one of the largest financial endowments of any Australian university, standing at $1.105bn as of 2008.[7]

University of Melbourne
Latin: Universitas Melburniensis[1][2][3]
MottoPostera Crescam Laude (Latin)
Motto in English
"May I grow in the esteem of future generations"
Established1853; 171 years ago (1853)
EndowmentAU$1.335 billion
Academic staff
Location, ,
37°47′47″S 144°57′41″E / 37.7963°S 144.9614°E / -37.7963; 144.9614
(Parkville Campus)
36 hectares (0.4 km2)[5]
AffiliationsUniversitas 21, Washington University in St. Louis McDonnell International Scholars Academy[6] etc.

Ormond College (1879), University of Melbourne

Public recognition


Melbourne is one of the top universities in Australia and the world. In Australia it has a leading position[8][9] in business, education, engineering, arts, law and medicine.[10][11] It is the second largest research organisation in Australia after the CSIRO.[12] In 2008, it spent AU$653.7m on research.

Students and staff


The university has over 35,000 students, and nearly 7,200 staff members. In 2008 it changed the way it organized its courses. This to be like way American and European universities work. The idea was to link to the European Union's Bologna process and get international acceptance for its degrees.[13] many people were unhappy with these changes. Professor Glyn Davis AC is Melbourne's current vice-chancellor.


Cussonia Court, home to the Schools of Classics and Philosophy.

Melbourne University was started by the Victorian Parliament in 1853. Classes began in 1855 with three professors and 16 students. The buildings were officially opened by the Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Victoria, Sir Charles Hotham, on 3 October 1855. The first chancellor, Redmond Barry (later Sir Redmond), held the position until his death in 1880.

At first all the buildings were built in the gothic revival style. In the 1950s a modernist style was started as the new "house style", resulting in the mix of university buildings seen today.

The opening of the university was made possible by the wealth coming from the Victorian gold rush. The university was to be a "civilising influence" at a time of rapid settlement and commercial growth (Selleck, 2003). It was not a religious university and was not allowed to offer in degrees in divinity. The churches could only build colleges on only the northern edge. The local population wanted 'useful' subjects like law, not 'useless' subjects like classics. The people of Melbourne won this argument, and law was introduced in 1857, and medicine and engineering in the 1860s. Women were let into courses in 1881.

In 1902 the university was bankrupt when it was found out that the man in charge of the university's money, Frederick Dickson, had stolen ₤24,000. The university's annual budget was £15,000. Dickson was jailed for seven years. This resulted in a royal commission that came up with new ways of funding, and new courses including agriculture and education.

After World War II, there were more students wanting to go to a university and Melbourne University became much larger and more inclusive.

The 150th anniversary was celebrated in 2003.[14]

  • Selleck, R.J.W. (2003). The Shop: The University of Melbourne, 1850–1939. Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press. 930pp
  • Poynter, John & Rasmussen, Carolyn (1996). A Place Apart – The University of Melbourne: Decades of Challenge. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84584-3.
  • Macintyre, S. & Selleck, R.J.W. (2003). A short history of the University of Melbourne. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-85058-8.


  1. University of Melbourne, University of Melbourne Calendar 1902 (Melbourne: Melville & Mullen, 1902), 403.
  2. University of Dublin, Records of the Tercententary Festival of the University of Dublin held 5th to 8th July, 1892 (Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, & Co., 1894), 174.
  3. University of Sydney,Record of the Jubilee Celebrations of the University of Sydney: September 30th, 1902 (Sydney: William Brooks and Co., 1903), 136.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "2018 Annual Report" (PDF). University of Melbourne. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  5. The University of Melbourne Campus. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2016 – via YouTube.
  6. "Mcdonnell Academy". Archived from the original on 2020-09-30. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  7. University of Melbourne Investment Report 2008
  8. "Microsoft Word - Paper_ Perceptions & Reality_HardCopyVersion.doc" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
  9. "Melbourne Uni ranks in top 20", The Age, 28 October 2005
  10. Hawthorne, L., Minas, I. H., & Singh, B. (2004). A case study in the globalization of medical education: assisting overseas-born students at the University of Melbourne. Medical Teacher, 26(2), 150-159.
  11. Azer, S. A., Simmons, D., & Elliott, S. L. (2001). Rural training and the state of rural health services: effect of rural background on the perception and attitude of first‐year medical students at the University of Melbourne. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 9(4), 178-185.
  12. Did you know the University of Melbourne is the second largest research institute in Australia after the CSIRO? Archived 2010-04-06 at the Wayback Machine University of Melbourne, 11/6/2009
  13. "The long road to Bologna"[permanent dead link], The Australia, 26 March 2008
  14. 150th anniversary Archived 2005-06-14 at the Wayback Machine University of Melbourne website