The University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) is the main repository of the archival records of the University and related bodies. The University of Melbourne is the oldest in Victoria, the second to be established in Australia. It's academics and former students played an integral role in the history of Victoria, in many fields of endeavour. UMA holds over 500 distinct collections of committees, departments and faculties, student clubs and societies and other related entities, such as Melbourne University Press and the Melbourne Theatre Company. There are also records of over 200 academics and administrators.
Online University histories
There are many good online sources detailing the history of the University of Melbourne. The History of the University Unit sponsors research into University history and provides an extensive bibliography online. Their website also provides links to departmental histories. The University Calendars date from the establishment of the University through to the present. These calendars, published almost every year, include the annual report, changes in statutes and regulations and often class and graduate lists. The UMA's online exhibition, Keys to the Past , is an abridged and indexed history of the University, and links UMA collections to particular topics. Also available online are lists of all former professors, senior University office bearers and a list of all recipients of Honoris Causa Degrees.
Many University of Melbourne office bearers were influential members of society within the fields of jurisprudence, medical science or business, and are therefore of interest to both historians of the University and to more general researchers.
The University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) hold the papers of seven chancellors, five deputy chancellors, eleven vice-chancellors and three deputy vice-chancellors.
Lists of Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors can be found in the University of Melbourne Office of the Chancellor Collection and University of Melbourne Office of the Vice-Chancellor Collection.
The following is a list of some of the key figures in UM Chancellery:
- The Right Hon Hugh Culling Eardley Childers, first Vice-Chancellor (1853-1857)
- Sir Anthony Colling Brownless, Vice-Chancellor (1858-1887), Chancellor (1887-1897)
- The Hon. Dr William Edward Hearn, Chancellor (1886)
- Sir James William Barrett, Vice-Chancellor (1931-1934), first Deputy Chancellor (1934-1935) and Chancellor (1935-1939) Biography of Sir William Barrett
- Sir Raymond Edward Priestly, First salaried Vice-Chancellor, (1935-1938) Biography of Sir Raymond Priestly
- Sir John Dudley Gibbs Medley, Vice-Chancellor (1938-1951)
- Sir George Whitecross Paton, Vice-Chancellor (1951-1968)
- Sir David Plumley Derham, Vice-Chancellor (1968-1982)
- Dame Margaret Blackwood, Deputy Chancellor (1980-1983) Biography of Dame Margaret Blackwood
- Sir Roy Douglas Wright, Deputy Chancellor (1972-1980), Chancellor (1980-1989) Biography of Sir Roy Douglas Wright
- The Hon. Sir. (Albert) Edward Woodward, Chancellor (1990-2000)
Full list of all senior University of Melbourne office bearers.
NB. The original subject guide for UM Chancellors was made possible through a generous donation by the Baillieu family and has been included within this guide.
The success of the University of Melbourne and its place as one of the top universities in Australia can be traced through the contribution of its academics and professional staff. UMA holds collections for over 400 individuals associated with the University, many of academics who were, or have become, experts in their field.
To find collections for specific individuals, search using their name in the Simple Search box. For more information on University individuals, including staff who do not have an individual collection, it is advisable to search under the department or division with which they were associated. The papers of individuals may contain official University records, and vice versa.
The University of Melbourne Office of the Registrar correspondence series is a large and comprehensive series representing a major proportion of the activities of the University's Central Administration over a century. Researchers can search for individuals by name as well as across years.
Please note that UMA does not hold a complete set of staff records, and those that are held are highly confidential. To enquire about staff records please contact the reference service firstname.lastname@example.org.
UMA contains a number of key collecting areas relating to students, illustrating the depth of involvement students have had in campus life.
Clubs and Societies
The University of Melbourne Archives holds papers for over 60 student clubs and societies. These range from large collections from the Student Union/Student Representative Council and Sports Union to the 1950s song book of the Melbourne University Gastronomical Society.
The records of student clubs can sometimes provide more information on individual former students, if they were heavily involved in the organisation. To retrieve a list of the student club collections, select 'Creator's activity or occupation' from the Browse menu in the online catalogue, and select 'Student Club', 'University Club' or 'Student union'.
The publications of faculty clubs such as the Medical and Engineering Students' Societies are held in Special Collections at the Baillieu Library.
The Sports Union collection ranges from 1895 to 1997, reflecting the organisation’s longevity and importance in student life. The University Athletic Association was formed in 1883 when various sporting groups (including boating, cricket, lacrosse, tennis and football) came together to promote their interests within the University. The organisation became the Sports Union in 1904 and the following year a compulsory sports fee was levied on all students. In 1907 the Sports Union began publishing the Melbourne University Magazine, which was eventually taken over by the Students Representative Council. The SRC was founded in 1906 by the Sports Union, in order to organise activities no associated with sport, which continued to fund it until 1923, when the responsibility was transferred to the University Union. That year, the SRC became entitled to elect two members to University Council, following official recognition in 1914. The Melbourne University SRC was also involved in establishing the National Union of Australian University Students (the forerunner to today's National Union of Students) in 1937. For more information about the history of student representation and activities, see the UMA's online exhibition, Keys to the Past.
The student paper Farrago, which continues today, was first published in 1925 and copies are held in the Library’s Special Collections.
Colleges and Halls of Residence
In 1861 the four major Christian denominations were granted a little over 10 acres each to the North of the University grounds, with the 16 acres in between reserved for a recreation ground.
The Anglican college (Trinity College) was established in 1870, the Presbyterian College (Ormond College) in 1879, the Wesleyan Methodist college (Queen's College) in 1887, and the Roman Catholic college (Newman College) in 1916. Since that time several other colleges and halls of residence have been founded, mostly in response to the identification of particular needs among student groups, for instance University Women's College (now University College) Medley Hall and International House.
Until well in to the Twentieth Century, the colleges played a substantial role in the life of the University. In many respects their heads had more influence than the professors. Together with members of their governing bodies they sat as members of the University Council.
Because the colleges were separate bodies to the University, the UMA does not hold a large amount of material relating to the colleges (for example Alexander Leeper's papers hold material relating to Trinity College). University of Melbourne Office of the Registrar correspondence series also holds some material relating to colleges, their benefactors and administrators.
UMA holds many photographs of these colleges, and can be found by using the name of the college, or the names of individuals associated with them, in the Digitised Items search box on the right-hand side of the UMA homepage.
Most of the colleges hold their own archives and library. For more material relating to a college or a former student, contact the college librarian or archivist.
The University of Melbourne Archives holds student cards for every student who enrolled at the University from its establishment to the mid-1970s. In most cases, the cards record the student's name, date of matriculation, course, subjects studied, and mark received, degrees obtained, and dates conferred. They may also contain additional information such as address, date of birth, prizes and scholarships.
Due to privacy concerns, cards less than 75 years old cannot be accessed without the written permission of the former student or his/her next of kin if deceased. In such cases, the UMA can confirm degrees confirmed and date without permission. Cards over 75 years can be accessed.
The student cards are not academic transcripts. Student administration provides academic transcripts, student records for students after the mid-1970s and student cards of affiliated organisations such as the Conservatorium of Music and the Melbourne Teachers College.
Please note that the University did not collect and preserve other student records or student photographs. Further information about a former student may be found in the records of student clubs or University organisations in which they participated. See the list of student clubs and societies in this subject guide for holdings.
To request a student card please use the Aeon ordering system, either by logging in or signing up a new account and use the Request Student Card option on the left-hand side menu.
The Public Examinations Branch of the University of Melbourne administered public school examinations from the late 19th century until the early 1970s. The UMA holds records relating to examinations including the Matriculation, Leaving and Intermediate exams. The records can give information about subjects taken and results, school attended, address and father's name and occupation, although the information provided by the examination rolls varies over time.
University of Melbourne Archives hold the records of numerous University departments and faculties, including minutes of committees, correspondence and administrative files.
Researchers should note that the names and structures of departments and schools have changed over time. Collections relating to particular departments, schools or faculties may be located by searching the name of the school, department or the name of the academic discipline. Alternatively, a list can be obtained by using the 'Browse Collections' function in the online catalogue under 'Creator's activity or occupation' and selecting 'University Department' or 'University faculties' from the drop down menu. Information about specific academic schools, departments or faculties may also be contained in the records of individual academics and administrators.
University of Melbourne Office of the Registrar correspondence series is a comprehensive series representing a major proportion of the activities of the University's Central Administration over a century. Researchers can search for Departments, Faculties and Schools by name, as well as the individuals involved. and by year.
More detailed information about the Schools of Medicine and Engineering can be found in their specific subject guides.
The following is a list of the some of the Faculty collections held at UMA, with links to their catalogue records:
- Faculty of Agriculture
- Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
- Faculty of Applied Science
- Faculty of Architecture
- Faculty of Arts
- Faculty of Dental Science
- Faculty of Economics and Commerce
- Faculty of Education
- Faculty of Engineering
- Faculty of Law
- Faculty of Medicine
- Faculty of Music
- Faculty of Science
- Faculty of Veterinary Science
- Victorian College of the Arts VCA
- University Of Melbourne. Institute Of Applied Economic And Social Research
UMA also holds official University records that are not directly associated with University faculties and departments, such Council committees as Finance, Buildings, Professorial Board.
Researchers are encouraged to search the University of Melbourne Office of the Registrar correspondence series, a comprehensive series of documents representing a major proportion of the activities of the University's Central Administration from the establishment of the University through to 1969 and is probably the best single source of University history.
Researchers can search for individuals and departments of the University by name, as well as across years.
UMA holds several thousand images of the University of Melbourne, including it’s staff, conferring ceremonies, buildings across various campuses, as well as international and domestic events. The University of Melbourne Photographs Collections is searchable in the Digitised Items search function on the UMA homepage.
Complimenting this collection are those of student photographs Doris McKellar and Rosemary Balmford. Their collections are also available online.
The accumulated photograph collection of the University of Melbourne Media and Publication Services Office encapsulates the period of c.1960-1999. Photographs were taken by a variety of photographers for inclusion in University publications, showing the expanse of activity at the University.
Researchers can also perform an advanced search in the online catalagoue for specific people, places and dates.