150 Years of Tertiary Education in Bendigo

In 2023 La Trobe University is celebrating 150 Years of Tertiary Education in Bendigo.

Commencing with the Bendigo School of Mines in 1873, La Trobe University is proud to continue the legacy of offering high quality, accessible education to the Bendigo Community.

The 150 Years of Tertiary Education in Bendigo celebration focuses on our past achievements and successes and celebrates our antecedent organisations. As we reflect on our history, we also aim to explore and celebrate the transformational impacts on workforce capability, culture, infrastructure and ecomomic development through education and research, industry, social institutions, and regional development now and into the future.

As Victoria’s only statewide university, La Trobe University is deeply committed to its regional campuses and has played a pivotal role in the transformational impact of education on the communities in which it is located. The history of La Trobe University in Bendigo is intertwined with TAFE and antecedent institutions, and has been an integral part of La Trobe since 1991.

Read on to find out about the history of our tertiary education in Bendigo and our Bendigo campus.

What's happening

Memories & Milestones Celebratory Book Available Now

This beautiful 220-page hardcover book is a collection of colourful recollections from 26 contributors, spanning staff, alumni and members of the community. The wide ranging stories document social revolution, highlight  Bendigo Technical College’s first computer, ‘Fred’, who in 1967 cost the same as 10 new homes; tales of legendary O-week high-jinks: and includes stories about current research and students – there really is something for everyone to dip into this beautiful book and enjoy.

Purchase here

Academic Procession and Book Launch

On 21 April, Senior Executives form La Trobe University and Bendigo Kangan Institute will join government members and notable alum from current and antecedent organisations to march through the streets of Bendigo in academic regalia. The parade will commence at the Bendigo Capital Theatre in View Street, towards the Alexandria Fountain before finishing at the Bendigo TAFE McRae Street campus – the original site for the Bendigo School of Mines.

Lecture Series

Throughout the year La Trobe University will host a series of thought provoking lectures that will explore the transformational impact of education. Lectures will be hosted at various venues throughout the City of Bendigo. Lectures are open to public and RSVP dates will be announced closer to the event.

La Trobe Art Institute

Throughout 2023 the La Trobe Art Institute will host a series of four exhibitions that focus on the transformational impact of education and research. These immersive exhibits will draw on local knowledge, to explore various topics related to past, present and future. Make sure you visit La Trobe Art Institute throughout the year for more information on the exhibits being displayed.

Exhibition Series

In April the La Trobe University library team will develop an exhibition in the library space on our Bendigo Campus. The exhibition will display artefacts from the La Trobe University library that celebrate the history of La Trobe’s Bendigo campus and the antecedent organisations that come before it.

There will be many exhibitions throughout the year. Keep an eye on our news and events page for more upcoming exhibition dates.

A brief history of tertiary education in Bendigo

Bendigo alumni herald from 15 different schools, institutes, colleges, TAFE and university labels, reflecting the ever-changing nature of tertiary funding, systems, philosophies and purposes over 150 years.

The School of Mines opens in rooms of the Bendigo Sandhurst Institute in McCrae Street. Original classes that were available included arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and drawing. The founding purpose of the school was to “afford instruction in those branches of Education useful to those engaged in mining”.

The school is renamed the Bendigo School of Mines and Industries, to recognise the formal adoption of the name Bendigo from the former Sandhurst.

The Bendigo Teachers’ College is launched at the Long Gully Primary School. The Bendigo Teachers College remained open until 1931 when it faced budget difficulties, brought on by the Great Depression, exacerbated by the decline in the mining boom.

The Bendigo Teachers’ College re-opens in temporary accommodation adjacent to the Camp Hill Primary School in Rosalind Park.

The Northern District School of Nursing is established at Lister House, Rowan Street, pioneering nurse training in Australia. Prior to the establishment of the school, hospitals provided their own training to live-in nurse trainees.

In 1959 the Bendigo School of mines if officially renamed to the Bendigo Technical College.

Also in 1959, the Bendigo Teachers’ College re-locates to a new, purpose-built site in Osborne Street, Flora Hill.

La Trobe University Bundoora is founded as the third University in Victoria, named after Charles Joseph La Trobe, the first Superintendent of the Port Phillip District, and the first Lieutenant first Lieutenant-Governor of the new colony of Victoria from 1851 to 1854.

Sir Archibald Glenn OBE is installed as the first Chancellor of the University and Professor David Myers is installed as the first Vice-Chancellor.

The Bendigo Technical College becomes the Bendigo Institute of Technology, following the Federal Government’s Martin Report, which initiated a binary system of tertiary education to preserve the elite nature of universities while meeting vocational needs via institutions offering technical and business education.

A new campus in Edwards Road, Flora Hill opens, beginning with the Engineering building and the well known Circular Lecture Theatre which still stands today. The Bendigo Teachers College relocates from its temporary Camp Hill Primary School accommodation, which served as it’s home for 14 years.

Under the State College of Victoria Act of 1972, the Bendigo Teachers College was given autonomy and admitted as an independent constituent of the State College of Victoria. It becomes known as the State College of Victoria, Bendigo.

The State College of Victoria and the Bendigo Institute of Technology merge to become the Bendigo College of Advanced Education, operating across three campuses: Edwards Road, Osborne Street and McCrae Street.

The TAFE sector separates from the college sector, and the Bendigo College of TAFE begins with a focus on non-tertiary and trade divisions, while Bendigo College of Advanced Education focuses on higher education.

TAFE becomes the Loddon Campaspe College of TAFE.

The Northern District School of Nursing officially closes, with nurse education now part of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Bendigo College of Advanced Education.

Due to new government guidelines for tertiary education, the Bendigo College of Advanced Education becomes affiliated with La Trobe University, and becomes known as the La Trobe University College of Northern Victoria.

The Bendigo site becomes a faculty of La Trobe University, reflected in a new name change: La Trobe University, Bendigo.

The Loddon Campaspe College of TAFE changes its name to Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE to become more recognisable in competitive international markets.

A full merger eventuates with La Trobe and the Edwards Road campus becomes La Trobe University (Bendigo Campus).

Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE merges with Kangan TAFE, and is known as Bendigo TAFE.