History

As Western Australia's oldest university, UWA has a rich and fascinating history.

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John Winthrop Hackett
1911
The University of Western Australia Act 1911 is passed by Parliament
1913
63% male
37% female
Total enrolments 184
Teaching begins at the temporary site in Irwin St, Perth
The Student Guild and Extension Studies are established
Three founding faculties: Arts, Science and Engineering
1916
The founding bequest of £425,000 ($32 million in today’s money) is given by The Hon. Sir John Winthrop Hackett
Margaret Fairweather is one of the first women to graduate (Bachelor of Arts with honours in English and Economics)
1919
A 999-year lease is signed for UWA’s Crawley site (now Perth)
1920
59% male
41% female
Total enrolments 332
PROSH
1921
The University acquires the Crawley Park Homestead, which is later renamed Shenton House. Now a heritage-listed building, it is home to the School of Indigenous Studies
1931
The first issue of PROSH, originally called SRUSS-SRUSS, is published
The controversial yet popular student newspaper continues to be produced annually to raise money for charities
1932
Engineering students help to dig the Reflection Pond to ensure it’s finished in time for the opening of Winthrop Hall
1945 sommerville
Sommerville in 1945
1936
The University Camp for Kids, recognised as Perth’s oldest registered children’s charity, is initiated 
1940
61% male
39% female
Total enrolments 984
1945
William Somerville’s ‘cathedral of trees’ is opened as an outdoor venue, later to be called Somerville Auditorium
1953
The Perth International Arts Festival is launched, founded by Professor Fred Alexander, then Dean of the Faculty of Arts
Peacock
1957
Teaching begins in Medicine
Mary Raine’s bequest, the largest ever received by the University to fund medical research, establishes The Raine Foundation
1960
76% male
24% female
Total enrolments 3508
1962
Western Australia’s first computer, the IBM 1620, is delivered to the University
1969
Susan Boyd becomes the first female Guild President and the first female president of a student organisation in Australia
bob hawke
Bob Hawke
1975
The Berndt Museum of Anthropology is formally established; the core collection is obtained by Emeritus Professor Ronald and Dr Catherine Berndt
Peacocks are introduced to the campus by a landscape designer
1980
60% male
40% female
Total enrolments 9791
1983
Robert James Lee (Bob) Hawke, previous Guild President and UWA graduate, is elected Prime Minister of Australia (1983-1991), the first from UWA
Professor Helen Milroy graduates and is recognised as the first Indigenous medical graduate in Australia
1984
The Lions Club, with UWA, establishes The Lions Eye Institute
1987
An original Irwin St building is moved to the Crawley (now Perth) campus. It is still in use today, adjacent to James Oval
Carmen Lawrence
Carmen Lawrence
1990
Professor Fay Gale is appointed as UWA’s first female Vice-Chancellor (1990-1997)
The Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery opens as the first art museum built at an Australian university
Telethon Institute for Child Health Research is founded by UWA’s Winthrop Professor Fiona Stanley
Graduate Carmen Lawrence becomes Premier of Western Australia (1990 – 1993) and the first woman to become a premier of a state of the Commonwealth of Australia
Marshall and Warren
Professor Barry Marshall and Emeritus Professor Robin Warren
2000
49% male
51% female
Total enrolments 13,503
2005
UWA academic Professor Barry Marshall and Emeritus Professor Robin Warren, a pathologist at Royal Perth Hospital, are awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori
2010
50.8% male
49.2% female
Total enrolments 22, 159
2012
The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research – a joint venture featuring UWA – announces the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The new radio telescope will be capable of seeing the early stages of the formation of galaxies, stars and planets
2013
UWA celebrates its centenary
2014
Claire McGlew becomes the first blind person to graduate as a music teacher from UWA after completing her Bachelor of Music Education
2015
A team led by UWA’s Associate Professor Robert McLaughlin and Professor David Sampson develops the world’s smallest handheld microscope – tiny enough to fit into a needle and used to treat cancer
2016
Led by Professor David Blair, UWA scientists help an international project team to detect gravitational waves for the first time in history, confirming a major prediction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity
50.4% male
49.6% female
Total enrolments 24,161