Historical timeline

Curtin University has seen many changes over the years, dating back as far as the year 1900. Read more about the highlights of the evolution of Curtin University.

1900

Perth Technical School opens

Perth Technical School opens in St Georges Terrace, Perth.

1902

School of Mines opens

The Western Australian School of Mines opens in Kalgoorlie.

1926

Muresk opens

Muresk Agricultural College is established on the Muresk Farm in Northam, with 16 students commencing classes on 14 September.

1941

John Curtin elected

John Curtin becomes Prime Minister of Australia on 7 October.

1945

John Curtin dies

Wartime Prime Minister of Australia John Curtin dies in office on 5 July, aged 60.

1953

School of Physiotherapy opens

The School of Physiotherapy is established in Shenton Park.

1960

WAIT approved

The State Government approves the establishment of WAIT with a view to building the campus immediately north of Perth. There is opposition, however, to building the campus here, in what is considered an important cultural area.

1962

Bentley announced as WAIT site

In June, Western Australian Premier David Brand announces the Collier Pine Plantation as the site for WAIT.

1966

WAIT officially opens

WAIT’s core infrastructure is finished and the institute officially opens.

1968

Student Guild forms

The Guild starts as the WAIT Student Guild in November.

1974

Students offered financial assistance

One of the most significant changes to education in Australia is actioned when the federal government abolishes up-front tuition fees and offers financial assistance to students. Tertiary education is no longer heavily weighted toward the affluent.

1976

Curtin FM begins

Curtin FM, then called 6NR (New Radio), commences broadcasting on October 16.

1978

Three tonnes of drugs

Curtin collects more than three tonnes of outdated medicines and pills from Western Australian households throughout its Medi-Dump program.

1982

PhD studies begin

WAIT students can work toward a PhD for the first time, however the award must come from one of the other two WA institutions (UWA or Murdoch), as WAIT isn’t legally permitted to award a PhD.

1983

Aboriginal Studies Unit established

The Aboriginal Studies Unit (later renamed the Centre for Aboriginal Studies) is established.

1985

Technology Park opens

Technology Park, adjacent to the Bentley campus, officially opens on 24 July.

1986

Curtin is born

WAIT is reborn as Curtin University of Technology with the passing of an Act of Parliament in December. Its name is taken from former Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin.

1987

Curtin accepts first students

Curtin accepts its first students as a university.

1991

Student numbers reach 18,000

18,068 students attend Curtin.

1992

Curtin joins Open Universities

Curtin is asked to represent Western Australian universities in the Open Learning program (now Open Universities), to begin in 1993. The program would be a mainstay of Curtin’s activities, providing flexible education to students unable to attend a campus.

1994

New Aboriginal Studies building opens

The new Centre for Aboriginal Studies building is opened. The beautifully-designed building reflects the relationships between Aboriginal people and the land.

Voluntary Student Unionism begins

State-imposed Voluntary Student Unionism is implemented despite protests from the Guild, and remains in force until 2002.

1997

John Curtin Centre complete

Construction of the John Curtin Centre is completed at the Bentley campus, to house the John Curtin Gallery, John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library and Bankwest Theatre.

Curtin acquires Perth heritage building

The heritage building at 78 Murray St, Perth is refurbished and Curtin’s Graduate School of Business takes up residence.

1999

Curtin begins teaching in Malaysia

Curtin’s operations in Sarawak, Malaysia begin in February, three years prior to the establishment of the Curtin campus there in 2002.

2000

Research through partnership

Curtin develops defining partnerships with industry. Research centres are established in conjunction with CSIRO, Woodside Petroleum and Murdoch University.

2001

21st century campus demographic

31,393 students attend Curtin. Female students now account for 54% of total enrolments – vastly different from the WAIT days when female students accounted for about one quarter of enrolments.

2002

Curtin’s Malaysian campus opens

The Sarawak campus is opened as Curtin’s first offshore campus and the first foreign campus in East Malaysia in June.

2003

Esperance and Margaret River campuses open

Curtin’s commitment to regional education is honoured with new constructions in Esperance and the creation of a new campus in Margaret River.

2005

Sydney campus opens

Curtin’s Sydney campus officially opens on 20 June.

Curtin-Murdoch merger abandoned

Curtin and Murdoch University discuss the possibility of a merger but decide against it.

2008

Singapore campus opens

Curtin Singapore opened its doors on December 1, 2008. Curtin had been active in Singapore for more than two decades through a number of partner institutions. The new campus consolidates these operations in a single location close to the bustling heart of the city.

2009

Resources and Chemistry Precinct opens

Curtin’s Resources and Chemistry Precinct opens. The precinct represents a $116 million investment primarily funded by Curtin, with contributions from BHP Billiton and the Australian Federal Government.

Curtin Stadium opens

With a main hall large enough to accommodate three full-size netball courts, Curtin Stadium also houses a fully equipped gymnasium and enough seating to accommodate 2,500 people.

2010

Curtin changes name

On 26 July, Curtin University of Technology began trading as simply Curtin University. It was considered a logical step as Curtin strives to establish a reputation as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region.

2011

Curtin Engineering Pavillion opens

On 31 March, Prime Minister Julia Gillard opened Stage 1 of the Engineering Pavillion at the Bentley campus. The Pavillion has been designed to meet the best environmental standards.

2012

Muresk transfers

The responsibility for Muresk’s operation transfers from Curtin University to the State Government.

2013

Curtin Law School opens

On 25 February, Former Justice of the High Court of Australia, The Hon. Michael Kirby launched Curtin University’s Law School at the Bentley campus.

Enrolments open for first MOOC

In May, enrolments opened for Curtin’s first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). The introduction of MOOCs was one way we were reconfiguring our approach to education.