Jump to Content

< back


North Terrace circa 1839 (image courtesy of State Library of South Australia, SLSA: 13636)1856

The South Australian School of Art was founded in 1856, just 20 years after the proclamation of the colony of South Australia. It is the oldest and one of the most distinguished components of the University of South Australia and numbers many celebrated Australian artists among its graduates.


The first of several Teachers Training Colleges, which were forerunners of the University of South Australia, was established in 1876. The colleges were highly regarded for their preparation of first-class teachers. The current School of Education maintains their traditions and standards and works closely with all education authorities to ensure a grounded curriculum that achieves both excellence and relevance.


The South Australian School of Mines and Industries established in response to the community's need for a centre of excellence for technical education in the rapidly expanding mining and manufacturing industries.


The South Australian School of Mines and Industries and the Adelaide Technical High School (established 1918) combined to form the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT). The SAIT was made up of three campuses, all of which remain a part of the University of South Australia.


The SAIT was designated a college of advanced education resulting in a broadening in the range of courses offered, particularly at the professional level.


The South Australian College of Advanced Education was formed through the amalgamation of four colleges. The College had five campuses in Adelaide at City, Magill, Salisbury, Sturt and Underdale. Through its predecessors the College offered courses available by external study from 1962. In 1989, it was designated one of the eight national Distance Education Centres, a role now adopted by the University of South Australia.


The University of South Australia began operation in 1991, after the University of South Australia Act was assented in late 1990, with a mission to preserve, extend and disseminate knowledge through teaching, research, scholarship and consultancy, and to provide educational programs that will enhance the diverse cultural life of the wider community.

Millionaire American artist and former art teacher (1961 to 1972) at the South Australian School of Art, Gordon Samstag, bequeathed $5 million to the University to fund Australia's most prestigious visual arts scholarships.


A faculty structure for the University of South Australia was adopted to consolidate its position as a newly established university.


The Australian Technology Network (ATN) was formed which involves a federation of the University of South Australia; Queensland University of Technology (QUT); Curtin University of Technology (in Perth); the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT); and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).


Two research institutes were formed: the Ian Wark Research Institute (IWRI) and the Institute for Telecommunications Research (ITR). The IWRI is one of UniSA's key research concentrations and performs a special blend of fundamental and applied research, specialising in particle and mineral interfaces. ITR is one of Australia's foremost research organisations specialising in technology for digital wireless communications.


The Flexible Learning Centre was established, playing a major policy and service role in facilitating the University's strategic directions for improving teaching and learning.


The University identified seven Graduate Qualities that describe the knowledge, skills and personal abilities that are required in our constantly changing global economy and is committed to helping students develop these qualities.

The University adopted a Statement of Commitment to Australian Reconciliation as an expression of UniSA's public commitment to the achievement of Australian reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.


A Statement of Strategic Intent was formalised to clearly define the University's character and objectives to the wider UniSA community, and to detail the expected qualities of UniSA graduates.

A Divisional structure was adopted, replacing the previous faculty structure to form the Division of Business and Enterprise; the Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences; the Division of Health Sciences; and the Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment.


UniSAnet was officially launched - an online facility that supports staff and students with teaching, learning and administrative resources.

Campus Central was formed - a UniSA initiative which provides a one-stop facility for advice, information and a wide range of services to students.


University of South Australia became a founding member of the Global University Alliance (GUA) along with eight (later nine) other international universities and the Hong Kong-based online education company, NextEd. The GUA provides a diverse and flexible range of online education, largely at the postgraduate level, with an initial focus on delivery to Asia.

The Ian Wark Research Centre won status as Special Research Centre for Particle and Mineral Interfaces. It is the leading Centre in the science of particle and mineral interfaces in Australia and a leader in the field internationally.


UniSA Northern Adelaide Partnerships (UNAP) program was established to promote education, skills development and improved relationships between schools, businesses, and the community. UNAP will focus UniSA's broad expertise in research and education to support community development and build dynamic new partnerships in Adelaide's northern suburbs.


As part of Blueprint 2005 Underdale campus closed. Underdale campus was part of UniSA and its founding institutions for 28 years. The academic programs previously offered at Underdale campus have been relocated to UniSA's other five campuses.


Blueprint 2005, a $140 million project embarked in 2000 to improve UniSA's teaching and learning environment in South Australia, was completed. The project was a core part of the University's evolution as a modern and diverse institution.