Maquarie University Macquarie University

In less than three decades, Macquarie University has developed from a small but innovative institution in Sydney’s north to a multifaceted university in the heart of one of Australia’s leading high-technology parks.

Keeping faith with its founders’ fresh ideas about university teaching and organisation, Macquarie has continued to be a pioneer in Australian higher education. It introduced, for example, the concept of University Schools which are academically broader than traditional university faculties or departments, allowing students to choose units from several fields of expertise. This interdisciplinary approach produces graduates with wide expertise and career opportunities.

The University has always stressed the strong links between teaching and research: teaching staff are often at the forefront of their research fields, with obvious advantages for their students. There are eight national research centres on campus, working in the areas of climatic impacts, lasers and applications, Australian mineral exploration technologies, conservation and management of marsupials, biodiversity and bioresources, geochemical evolution and metallogeny of continents, English language teaching and research, and HIV social research.

The School of Economic and Financial Studies pioneered the teaching of actuarial studies in the 1970s in Australia, a program refined to its current excellence and now also taught by Macquarie in two interstate universities. The School was also the first to introduce a Master of Applied Finance, a Macquarie postgraduate qualification now simultaneously offered in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

Macquarie is also home to the first Australian-English dictionary, The Macquarie Dictionary, and its many shelfmates of thesauri, specialist dictionaries and reference books.

The University’s enlightened work with children with disabilities has seen its early intervention and remedial teaching programs adopted widely and, in the case of infants with Down Syndrome, internationally.

Macquarie has consistently encouraged mature-age students to enrol, a trend that has proved beneficial to the student body. Mature students usually achieve better-than-average results and school-leavers benefit from a cross-section of backgrounds, attitudes and inputs in their classrooms and tutorials. Macquarie Lighthouse

One of the most striking aspects of the Macquarie campus is its parklands. The site of peach orchards and market gardens just 30 years ago, the campus is now endowed with 14,000 trees ranging from native eucalypts, murrayas and grevilleas to exotic liquidambars and plane trees. Against this setting is a large sculpture park featuring the work of leading Australian artists.

Apart from these aesthetic pleasures, Macquarie students and staff can avail themselves of excellent sporting facilities ranging from tennis courts and all-code football fields to a large air-conditioned gymnasium. Health, dental and optometry services are provided on campus, most within a Union Building complex that includes banking, postal, drycleaning and bookshop facilities. The Union also maintains a selection of restaurant and fast-food outlets to service the large student and staff body.

Apart from the main Macquarie Theatre which seats almost 500 people, there is the Lighthouse Theatre, the setting for regular student dramatic productions.

Establishment of the University

THE UNIVERSITY, consisting of Council, Convocation, and graduate and undergraduate members, was established by the Macquarie University Act 1964. This was repealed by the Macquarie University Act 1989, assented to on 30 August of that year. The Act (Section 6) provides that the functions of the University should include:
  1. the provision of educational facilities at university standards for persons who being eligible to enrol seek the benefits of such facilities;
  2. the establishment of such facilities as the University deems desirable for -
    1. the provision of courses of study, whether at Ryde within the University or elsewhere, for evening students;
    2. giving instruction to and the examination of external students;
    3. providing courses of study or instruction at such levels of attainment as the Council deems appropriate to meet the special requirements of industry, commerce or any other section of the community;
  3. the dissemination of knowledge and the promotion of scholarship otherwise than as herein before provided.’

The New South Wales Government had already, in November 1963, set up an Interim Council to guide the establishment of the University, and with the proclamation of the 1964 Act this Interim Council became the University’s first Council. The University accepted a small number of postgraduate students in 1966 and began the teaching of undergraduates in 1967. It was the third university to be established in the metropolitan area of Sydney.

Macquarie University is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The name ‘Macquarie’ commemorates Major-General Lachlan Macquarie (1762-1824), Governor of the Colony of New South Wales, 1810-1821, whose genius for administration and whose concept of the future of the colony led to the first considerable developments in organised finance and commerce, inland exploration and settlement, fine architecture, and patronage of the arts and literature.


The Macquarie University Act 1989 provides for 19 members of the University Council. As constituted under Section 9 of the Act, two members of Council are elected by the two Houses of Parliament, three members are elected by the academic staff and one by the general staff of the University; four are elected by Convocation and one by students proceeding to a degree or diploma at the University. Four members are appointed by the Minister for Education, and Council itself may appoint one additional member. The Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor and the Vice-President of Academic Senate are members of the Council ex officio.


Convocation consists of all members and past members of the Council, all graduates and diplomates of the University, all full-time members of the University’s academic staff and certain other members of staff, and such other persons as may be admitted to membership. There is a Standing Committee of Convocation consisting of the Vice-Chancellor and the Chair of the Finance Committee of Council (both ex officio) and twelve members elected from and by the members of Convocation.

Academic Senate

The body principally responsible for academic matters is the Academic Senate. It consists of thirty-eight members, including the Vice-Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Librarian, the Heads of Schools and Directors of Interdisciplinary Centres, the Dean of Students, one member elected by each School, and three students, elected by and from the student members of School committees. The Registrar and Vice-Principal is secretary of the Academic Senate.

Academic Organisation

The University comprises twelve Schools:

and two Interdisciplinary Centres:

The Schools offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses of study while the Interdisciplinary Centres (the Graduate Schools) are areas of predominantly postgraduate activity. For those students who cannot attend full-time, the University provides evening and distance education units in certain areas of study.


Macquarie University’s mission and goals position research as one of its highest priorities. A Research Office, under the direction of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) was established early in 1989, to administer the University’s research policies and to promote liaison with industry and the business community. Research in specific areas is undertaken by staff attached to the various research centres formally constituted within the Schools. Additionally, some special research centres are supported by Commonwealth funding.

The Macquarie University Research Park was officially launched in May 1996 by the Federal Minister for Science and Technology. It is a joint venture between a private sector company and the University.

The Campus

The University is located on a 135-hectare site at North Ryde in the north-western suburbs of Sydney, approximately 18 kilometres from the central business district. The central part of the campus is occupied by about 25 buildings for teaching and research, together with the University Library, the University Union building (with an associated commercial centre), the Council Building (which houses administrative offices), and the 500-seat Macquarie Theatre. The surrounding and outlying areas are used for purposes such as University student housing, affiliated residential colleges, parking, sporting facilities, a biological resources area and open parkland.

Two affiliated residential colleges within the campus, Dunmore Lang College and Robert Menzies College, built with funds partly raised by public subscription, provide accommodation for approximately 200 students. Non-collegiate accommodation, built and administered by the University, provides accommodation for more than 100 students in units similar to the medium-density housing offered in the private sector.

Sporting and recreational facilities now available include a University oval, a bush track, sports fields, tennis courts, a recreation hall, a gymnasium and squash courts.

All this is part of a planned development which has as its centre a compact academic area. This academic area, in turn, enfolds the University Centre, consisting of the Library, the Council Building and the Union, grouped around the University Court. A perimeter system of traffic circulation and parking separates vehicles and pedestrians within the academic area.

Services, Facilities and Resources

The University Library provides facilities for study and research for all students and staff. It holds close to a million items in books, periodicals and microform - documentation which supports the teaching and research programs of the University’s Schools and Centres.

A Centre for Open Education within the Office of the Registrar and Vice-Principal provides guidance and assistance for all part-time students and handles the administrative arrangements for the teaching of distance education students.

A Continuing Education Program provides a range of short, self-contained courses outside the normal undergraduate and postgraduate teaching program.

The Office of Computing Services supports teaching, research and administration throughout the University.

The University offers medical and counselling services for staff and students, and a careers development service for students.

An elected Students’ Council is charged with promoting generally the interests of students, affording a means of communication between students and the University authorities, and co-ordinating the activities of affiliated student clubs and societies.

Further opportunity for cultural and recreational activities is provided through the University Union and the Sports Association. All students are members of these bodies, which are also open to staff members.

The University is geographically well suited to serve as a centre of cultural, recreational and intellectual interests for a large part of the metropolitan area of Sydney. The University’s resources are used by members of the general community, who may visit the University to attend concerts, dramatic performances, public lectures, conferences and sporting events.

A collection of Australian paintings, either on loan to or owned by the University, hangs in the University Library and in the Council Building. In 1993, as the result of a donation to the University of four distinctive works, the nucleus of a new collection, The Art of the Indigenous People, was established.

One of the memorable features of the Silver Jubilee of Teaching at Macquarie, celebrated in 1992, was the development of a Sculpture Park on campus. Conceived and organised by the distinguished Australian sculptor, Errol Davis, the sculptures displayed around the campus are representative of works of accomplished fellow sculptors. The exhibits are changed at intervals and have attracted wide interest and praise, resulting in several further commissions.

The University Archives was established in 1978 as the official repository of those records of the University, its associate and constituent parts, that are deemed worthy of preservation for administrative, financial, legal or historical reasons or for future reference purposes.