Tuesday, August 23, 2016

T150 – Townsville Past & Present: Higher Education Comes to Town – JCU in Townsville

The latest round of T150 displays in the JCU Library showcase the history of James Cook University, including: information about the establishment of the University College; plans, drawings and official documents pertaining to the establishment and official opening of James Cook University; photographs and video footage of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to JCU in 1970; photographs, publications and marketing artwork relevant to the University Library building; selected student publications, including Magnus Taurus, and The Bullsheet and a selection of student handbooks from various years.
A selection of newspapers and publications produced by the JCU Student Union (previously the Townsville University College Union), including issues of ‘Magnus Taurus’, which ran from 1962 to 1997, and The Bullsheet, which was first published in 1970, and is still being published today.
University College of Townsville
In February 1961, the University College of Townsville, opened in Pimlico, as an annex of the University of Queensland, with 90 day students and another 50 students enrolled in evening classes. It initially offered 14 first-year subjects across a range of disciplines, with a teaching staff of ten lecturers and three demonstrators. There were only three other staff: the College Warden, a librarian and an administrative officer.

That same year, the North Queensland University Association, through an appeal to the people of North Queensland, established two Halls of Residence for male and female students in Townsville. Duncragan, located in Cleveland Terrace, on Melton Hill, could accommodate 22 women; Stuart House, in Wulguru, could accommodate 66 men. A third Hall of Residence, Olsen House, in Stagpole Street, West End, was established in 1963 and accommodated 38 men. There was a Principal in charge of each Hall who was responsible for its administration and tutorial organisation, and financially, each Hall of Residence was managed independently from the University College. Full board at the Halls of Residence cost £6 per week.
The Common Room at “Duncragan”, which was described in the University College Handbook of 1965, as “simply but adequately furnished” for recreational purposes.
The Douglas Campus
 In 1962 the Townsville City Council gifted a parcel of land covering approximately 400 acres on the southern side of the Ross River to the University of Queensland. The land later became the Douglas Campus of James Cook University. The campus at Douglas was designed in 1964 and work began on the site in 1965. The first building at the site, the Humanities I building, was occupied in 1967. This is now the Ken Back Chancellery building. This was followed by the University Hall student residence in 1968, and by 1969, there were 4 buildings in the ring – Humanities I, the Library, Engineering and Biological Sciences. Outside the ring, the early parts of University Hall, John Flynn, Saint Mark’s and Saint Paul’s were completed or underway.

Current displays include a range of plans for the university site, including the original 1964 site plan developed by architect James Birrell and Professor Gordon Stephenson. There are also a number of aerial photographs showing various stages of the university’s development. Expansion continued over the next decade and the University vacated the original campus at Pimlico in 1980.
(Left to Right): Dr Ken Back (University College Warden), Alan Wilson, Keith Brazier, Bill Hooper and Rex Moss viewing the plans for the new Douglas campus on site in 1964.
A showcase of a range of plans for the university site, including the original 1964 site plan.
Queen Elizabeth II visits James Cook University
 In April 1970 the campus at Douglas became a fully-fledged university in its own right, when Queen Elizabeth II granted Royal Assent to the James Cook University of North Queensland Bill, in person, at a special ceremony conducted in the grounds of the university. Her Majesty the Queen’s visit was part of a Royal Tour of Australia, and with her on this occasion was her husband Prince Philip and daughter Princess Anne.
The Queen and Prince Philip, chatting informally to students at James Cook University, 20 April 1970.
As well as photographs and documents pertaining to the Queen’s visit in 1970, a unique part of the display is colour film footage of the Queen’s visit, which shows the procession of students and staff attending the ceremony, the arrival of the Queen, and the signing of official documents.
A selection of early University Handbooks on display.

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