Timeline of Events
The following timeline covers important events in the history of ANU.
Late 1944 to early 1945
Discussions between intellectuals and administrators, including H.C. 'Nugget' Coombs, Alfred Conlon, and Roy Douglas 'Pansy' Wright set the scene for the establishment of a National University.
H.C. Coombs meets with prominent academics in England, some of them Australian expats, including the medical scientist Sir Howard Florey, the historian W.K. Hancock and the physicist Mark Oliphant on the proposed Australian National University.
The Bill establishing ANU (Australian National University Act 1946) is passed by Federal Parliament on the 1st August.
The first meeting of the Interim Council of the University takes place in the Senate Committee Room in Parliament House.
Significant meetings occur between the Interim Council and the Academic Advisory Committee, consisting of Florey, Hancock, Oliphant and the anthropologist Raymond Firth on the shape the national university was to take. The meetings took place in the Institute of Anatomy Building, which now houses the National Film and Sound Archive.
Sir Douglas Copland appointed the first Vice-Chancellor of the University.
The University's first librarian, A.L.G. McDonald, was appointed to begin gathering together the University Library's collections.
Sir Mark Oliphant appointed Director of the RSPhysS.
First ANU Site Plan prepared by Professor Brian Lewis of Melbourne University.
Professor Geoffrey Sawer appointed Dean of the RSSS.
Foundation stone for the RSPhysS laid by Prime Minister Ben Chifley.
Foundation stone for the JCSMR laid by Prime Minister Ben Chifley.
Foundation stone for University House laid by J.J. Dedman, Minister for Post War Reconstruction.
First meeting of the ANU Council, which succeeded the Interim Council appointed in 1946.
ANU confers its first degree an Honorary Doctor of Laws on Sir Robert Garran, one of the authors of the Australian Constitution and a long time advocate of university education in Canberra.
Laboratories for the Research School of Physical Sciences, the University's first permanent buildings, are opened.
Temporary Laboratories for JCSMR constructed.
University's first Chancellor, Lord Bruce, is appointed.
University House, the first major building to be completed on campus, is officially opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
First PhD degree awarded by ANU to Antoni Przybylski in Astronomy.
Magnetic Hut constructed in a paddock to the north-west of Sullivans Creek (site of ground-breaking research in Geophysics).
Canberra University College celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary.
ANU Site Plans prepared by Professor Denis Winston and Grenfell Ruddock.
ANU amalgamates with Canberra University College. CUC becomes the School of General Studies at ANU and undergraduates become part of ANU life for the first time.
Full control of campus site vested to ANU.
Sir Leonard Huxley appointed Vice-Chancellor of ANU.
Sir John Crawford appointed Director of the RSPacS.
Haydon-Allen Building opened by the Governor-General.
Bruce Hall, the first residential hall for undergraduate students on campus, is opened.
'The Tank' (Haydon-Allen Lecture Theatre) opened as the first purpose-built lecture theatre at ANU.
Sir John Cockcroft becomes Chancellor of ANU.
Professor P.H. Partridge appointed Director of the RSSS.
University Library Building, the R G Menzies Building opened.
School of General Studies Library Building opened.
Sir John Eccles of the JCSMR awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
Lake Burley Griffin is flooded, skirting the southern edge of the ANU campus.
Hanna Neumann is appointed the University's first female professor, as Professor of Mathematics in the School of General Studies.
Professor John Jaeger appointed Director of the RSPhysS.
University telephone exchange established (in University House gatehouse - now the Molly Huxley Building).
Lord Florey becomes Chancellor of ANU.
Student Union Building constructed (becomes Pauline Griffin Building in 2001).
New observatory opened at Siding Spring opened and name of University's observatories changed to Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories (MSSSO).
Copland Building constructed.
ANU Staff Centre opens in Old Canberra House.
Sir Ernest Titterton appointed Director of the RSPhysS.
Professor Arthur Hogg appointed as Acting Director of MSSSO.
Professor S.C.B Gascoigne appointed as Acting Director of MSSSO.
Professor Olin Eggen appointed Director of MSSSO.
Professor Frederick Courtice appointed Acting Dean of the JCSMR.
RSBS founding with Professor David Catcheside as Director.
Professor Frank Fenner appointed Director of the JCSMR.
The Research School of Chemistry established with Professor A.J. Birch as Foundation Dean.
Professor Oskar Spate appointed Director of the RSPacS.
H.C. Coombs becomes Chancellor of ANU.
Sir John Crawford appointed Vice-Chancellor of ANU.
Professor W.D. Borrie appointed Director of the RSSS.
HRH Princess Anne visits ANU.
Bruce Hall and ANU Union approved to sell alcohol becoming first university in Australia to permit regular drinking by students on campus.
School of General Studies Library Building renamed J.B. Chifley Building.
J.B. Chifley Building in RSPhysS renamed M.L. Oliphant Building.
Foundation stone for RSBS Building laid by Minister for Education and Science, N.H. Bowen.
Governor General Sir Paul Hasluck and Lady Hasluck visit ANU to attend a garden party at Asian Studies.
Construction of Tandem Accelerator tower at RSPhysS completed.
Work begun on ANU Concessions Building.
RSBS Building opened by Governor General Sir Paul Hasluck.
Work begun on bar at University House.
Arts III Building constructed (becomes Crisp Building in 1985).
Sir Rutherford Robertson appointed Director of the RSBS.
ANU Coop Bookshop opened.
University Union Building opened by Minister for Education K.E. Beazley.
Nobel laureate Professor Linus Pauling visits JCSMR.
Professor Frederick Courtice appointed Acting Director of the JCSMR.
Tandem Accelerator at RSPhysS opened by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
The Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (CRES) is established with Professor Frank Fenner as Foundation Director.
R.M. Williams appointed Vice-Chancellor of ANU.
Professor Anthony Low appointed Director of the RSPacS.
Professor Geoffrey Sawer appointed Acting Director of the RSSS.
RSES established with A.L. Hayes as Foundation Director.
Radio ANU (to become Radio 2XX) established in Drill Hall.
The North Australia Research Unit (NARU) is established in Darwin to facilitate research on north Australia.
Repeated student occupation of Chancellery over academic issues.
Toad Hall constructed and named by students.
Anglo Australian Telescope at Siding Spring completed.
Professor Frederick Courtice appointed Director of the JCSMR.
The Humanities Research Centre (HRC) is established.
Professor Robert Street appointed Director of the RSPhysS.
Professor A.J. Youngson appointed Director of the RSSS.
NARU destroyed by Cyclone Tracy.
Joy London donates 348 hectare property at Kioloa to ANU in perpetuity.
Construction begins on ANU Arts Centre.
Ms. Elizabeth O’Brien elected first female president of ANU Students Association.
D.A. Low appointed Vice-Chancellor of the ANU.
Professor Wang Gungwu appointed Director of the RSPacS.
Sport and Recreation Centre opened by K.E Beazley, Minister for Education.
Professor Frank Gibson appointed Director of the JCSMR.
A.D.Hope Building opened.
Professor Donald Mathewson appointed Acting Director of MSSSO.
HRH Prince Charles unveils Jubilee Plaque at University House.
Professor Donald Mathewson appointed Director of MSSSO.
Professor Bernard John appointed Director of the RSBS.
ANUTECH, a company to support and develop ANU research and raise outside research money, established.
Professor Gerard Ward appointed Director of the RSPacS.
Professor Max Neutze appointed Director of the RSSS.
Professor Geoff Taylor appointed Director of the CRES.
Professor Robert Porter appointed Director of the JCSMR.
ANU archaeologist, Dr Rhys Jones testifies to Senate Committee about the importance of indigenous finds in caves near the Franklin River, Tasmania.
Sir Edmund Hillary visits ANU to promote Nepal Australia Forestry Project.
Senate Committee into Franklin River Scheme accepts evidence of ANU prehistorians and recommends that area should not be inundated.
P.H. Karmel appointed Vice-Chancellor of ANU.
Professor Stuart Harris appointed Director of the CRES.
Professor Ralph Slatyer appointed Director of the RSBS.
A new 2.3 metre telescope is opened at the Siding Spring Observatory, which was closely linked with the Department of Astronomy in the Research School of Physical Sciences, by Prime Minister R.J. Hawke.
Sir Richard Blackburn becomes Chancellor of ANU.
K. Lambeck appointed Director of the RSES.
URICA online library catalogue opened.
J.G. Crawford Building opened by Prime Minister R.J. Hawke.
Professor Henry Nix appointed Director of the CRES.
Professor Alexander Rodgers appointed Acting Director of the MSSSO.
The University establishes the ANU Supercomputer Facility.
Sir Gordon Jackson becomes Chancellor of ANU.
Professor Alexander Rodgers appointed Director of the MSSSO.
Professor David Curtis appointed Director of the JCSMR.
The ANU Graduate School is established, intended to coordinate graduate teaching and resources across the University and to provide greater cohesion between the Institute of Advanced Studies and the Faculties.
School of Mathematics established with Foundation Dean Professor Chris Heyde.
Governor General Sir Ninnian Stephen presents copies of Magna Carte and Shakespearean plays to University Library.
Liversidge Court opened by Vice-Chancellor Professor Lauri Nichol.
Professor Brian Gunning appointed Director of the RSBS.
Professor Barry Osmand appointed Director of the RSBS.
The Research School of Physical Sciences (RSPhysS) renamed the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering (RSPhysSE).
Professor Geoffrey Brennan appointed Director of the RSSS.
Dr Donald Faulkner appointed Acting Director of the MSSSO.
The Canberra Institute of the Arts, comprising the Canberra School of Music and the Canberra School of Art, amalgamates with ANU.
Professor Erich Weigold appointed Director of the RSPhysS.
Professor Neil Trudinger appointed Dean of the School of Mathematics.
Manning Clark Lecture Theatre Centre opened.
Professor Kevin Lafferty appointed Director of the JCSMR.
Professor Merle Ricklefs appointed Director of the RSPacS
B.L.N. Kennett appointed Acting Director of the RSES.
Dr Jeremy Mould appointed Director of the MSSSO.
The Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering is established with Professor Brian Anderson as Foundation Professor.
P.E. Baume becomes Chancellor of ANU.
R.D. Terrell appointed Vice-Chancellor of ANU.
Research School of Pacific Studies (RSPacS) renamed the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS).
D.H. Green appointed Director of the RSES.
Professor James Fox appointed Director of the RSPAS.
RSAA established in the IAS.
Professor John Hearn appointed Director of the RSBS.
Professor Steven Redman appointed Director of the JCSMR.
Professor Judith Whitworth appointed Director of the JCSMR.
Professor Bob Watson appointed Director of the CRES.
W.E.H Stanner Building constructed near Old Canberra House.
Professor John Morris appointed Interim Director of the RSAA.
Professor Ian Chubb appointed Vice-Chancellor of ANU.
T.M. Harrison appointed Director of the RSES.
Professor Peter Hall appointed Dean of the School of Mathematics.
Professor Alan Carey appointed Dean of the School of Mathematics.
Professor John Gibson appointed Director of the RSBS.
Professor Penny Sackett appointed Director of the RSAA.
Professor Jim Williams appointed Director of the RSPhysS.
School of Mathematics incorporated into the IAS and renamed the Mathematical Sciences Institute.
- Visit to ANU by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
- ANU celebrates 60th Anniversary.
- Professor B.L.N. Kennett appointed Director of RSES.
Dr. Allan Hawke appointed Chancellor of ANU.
Multi Million Dollar upgrade of the John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR Stage 1) opened.
Professor Robin Jeffrey appointed Director of RSPAS.
Professor Rod Rhodes appointed Director of RSSS.
Fenner School of Environment and Society established through the affiliation of CRES and the School of Resources, Environment and Society (SRES) with Professor Will Stefen as Foundation Director.
Research School of Humanities established.
Massive storm lashes Canberra, causing damage to over 60 University buildings.
Commonwealth Solar Observatory Building at Mount Stromlo reopens after refurbishment following the 2003 bushfires.