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The University of Western Australia (UWA) is the oldest university in the state of Western Australia. Established in February 1911, it is the only university in the state to be a member of the prestigious Group of Eight, as well as the Sandstone universities. The University was established under and is governed by the University of Western Australia Act 1911. The Act provides for the control and management of the University to be the responsibility of the Senate, and gives it the authority, amongst other things, to make statutes, regulations and by-laws, details of which are contained in the university Calendar.One of the best and most prestigious universities in Australia, UWA is also highly ranked internationally in various publications. To date UWA has close to 100 Rhodes Scholars.


Winthrop Hall
The original campus was located on Irwin Street in the centre of Perthmarker, and consisted of several buildings situated between Hay Street and St George's Terrace. Irwin Street was also known as "Tin Pan Alley" as many buildings featured a corrugated iron roof. These buildings served as the university campus until 1932, when the campus relocated to its present-day site in Crawley ( ).

In the 1910s the founding Chancellor, Sir John Winthrop Hackett, bequeathed a sum of over £425,000 to the University which allowed the construction of its magnificent main buildings at the present-day campus. Many buildings and landmarks within the University bear his name, including Winthrop Hall and Hackett Hall.

A remnant of the original buildings survives to this day in the form of the "Irwin Street Building", so-called due to its former location. In the 1930s it was transported to the new campus and served a number of uses till its 1987 restoration, which saw the original architecture restored and the building moved across campus to James Oval. Recently, the building has served as the Senate meeting room and is currently in use as a cricket pavilion and storage space for the University Archives. The building has been heritage-listed by both the National Trust and the Australian Heritage Commission.


Irwin Street Building
The University consists of the nine Faculties of:

  • Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts
  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business (Business School)
  • Education
  • Engineering, Computing and Mathematics
  • Law
  • Life and Physical Sciences
  • Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
  • Natural and Agricultural Sciences


UWA is one of the largest landowners in Perth as a result of government and private bequests, and is constantly expanding its infrastructure. Recent developments include the $22 million University Club, opened in June 2005, and the UWA Watersports Complex, opened in August 2005. In addition, in September 2005 UWA opened its $64 million Molecular and Chemical Sciences building as part of a commitment to nurturing and developing high quality research and development. In May 2009, a $30 million Business School building opened, whilst the construction of a new $360 million medical research facility is due to begin in early 2009 and be completed by the end of 2011.


Limestone arches are a prominent feature along the older undercover walkways
The 65-hectare Crawley campus is situated adjacent to the Swan Rivermarker, and located 5 km from the Perth central business district. Many of the buildings are constructed from limestone, including the enormous and iconic Winthrop Hall with its Romanesque architecture. These buildings are dotted amongst expansive lawns and thickets of trees such as the Sunken Garden and the Tropical Grove. The beauty of the grounds and rich history of the campus make it a popular spot for weddings.

The Arts Faculty building encompasses the New Fortune Theatre. The venue is a replica of the original Elizabethan Fortune Theatremarker and the only replica of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Since 1995 the open air venue has hosted regular performances of Shakespeare's plays co-produced by the Graduate Dramatic Society and the University Dramatic Society. The venue is also home to a family of peafowl donated to the University by the Perth Zoo.

The Berndt Museum of Anthropology, located on the ground floor of the Social Sciences Building, contains the finest collection of Aboriginal art in the world according to the Collections Australia Network (CAN). Its asian and melanesian collections are also of strong interest. Established in 1976 by Ronald and Catherine Berndt, it works in close collaboration with Aboriginal communities.


Reid Library balcony
The University of Western Australia features seven main subject libraries on campus, including the architecturally recognised Reid Library building, the largest library on campus with four publicly accessible levels. Five of the libraries are located on campus, with the other two being located within walking distance.

Residential colleges

Several residential colleges are located close to the campus, including Currie Hall, St George's College, St Catherine's College, Trinity and St Thomas More College.

Offsite locations

UWA Centre Albany.
The University established a UWA Albany Centre in 1999 to meet rural education needs. In 2005, Curtin University of Technologymarker joined UWA in Albany to provide additional course offerings to the local rural community. UWA Albany offers postgraduate coursework and research programmes through the Institute for Regional Development and the Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management. The UWA Rural Clinical School provides year-long rural placements for fifth-year medical students in Albanymarker, Derby, Broome, Port Hedland, Karratha, Geraldtonmarker, Bunbury, Narrogin, Esperance, and Kalgoorliemarker, Western Australia. Additionally, the University is involved in the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health in Geraldtonmarker.

The University has further facilities across Stirling Highway in Nedlands, linked by pedestrian underpasses beneath the highway, and paths in front of the residential colleges. Although not directly contiguous with the main Crawley site, the University does own almost every parcel of land between them and has long term plans to expand the two sites towards each other. The University also has facilities in Claremont, purchased in 2005 from Edith Cowan Universitymarker. The University prefers to refer to these facilities as "UWA Claremont" and not as a campus. The University remains a single campus institution. UWA Claremont is approximately 5 km west of the main Crawley campus. Further west still, the University also has staff in central Claremont.

Overseas, the University has strategic partnerships with institutions in Malaysiamarker and Singaporemarker, where students study for The University of Western Australia qualifications, but does not operate these foreign institutions directly.


UWA's student body is generally dominated by school-leavers from within Western Australia, mostly from the Perth metropolitan area. There are comparatively smaller numbers of older students. In recent years, numbers of full-fee paying foreign students, predominantly from Southeast Asia, have grown as a proportion of the student population. In 2008, the University had 3,958 international students, part of a total student body of over 19,000.


The foyer of the multi-million dollar Chemical and Molecular Sciences building, featuring the "double helix" staircase
The University of Western Australia is strongly committed to internationalisation of all aspects of its activities. UWA has formal agreements with 44 international institutions, promoting staff and student exchanges, collaborative research and exchange of teaching materials and methods. The University also teaches several of its programmes offshore, in Singaporemarker, Indonesiamarker and the Philippinesmarker. Trans-national programmes facilitate the development of UWA as a genuinely international university.

Research strength and Rankings

As a result of its strong research culture, the University recently attracted more competitive research funding - on a per capita basis of staff involved in research - than any other Australian university. Annually the University receives in excess of $71 million of external research income, expends over $117 million on research and graduates over 300 higher degree by research students, mostly doctorates.

The University has over 80 research centres, including the Crime Research Centre, the Centre for Forensic Science, the Centre for Water Research and the Centre for Oil and Gas Engineering.

A recently announced project is the Zadko Telescope. A local businessman, James Zadko, and his family contributed funds for the purchase of a robotically controlled 1-metre modified Ritchey-Chrétien telescope (F/4 equatorially mounted flat field). The telescope will be co-located with the UWA's Gravity Discovery Centre and Southern Cross Cosmos Centre 70 km north of Perthmarker on Wallingup Plain near the town of Ginginmarker. Its operation will be harmonised with detection of major supernova events by some of the European Union's satellites.

The University of Western Australia has also recently welcomed the State Government announcement of a $20 million international radio astronomy research centre on UWA's Perth campus. UWA is driving Australia's bid to be the site of the Square Kilometer Array, a very large internationally funded radio astronomy installation capable of seeing the early stages of the formation of galaxies, stars and planets.

The following publications ranked universities worldwide. The UWA ranked:
Publications Ave. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Times Higher Education Supplement 96 80 111 64 83 84
Shanghai Jiao Tong Universitymarker 101-150 101-150 101-150 101-150 101-150 101-150 101-150
Newsweek 78

UWA is also highly ranked according to the Melbourne Institute Index ranking of Australian universities. UWA has been ranked as having the highest quality undergraduates of any university in Australia. UWA is ranked second in Australia for the quality of its undergraduate programs. UWA is one of Australia's leading research universities, ranked second for research in Australia (taking account of its size).

In 2009, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) produced by Shanghai Jiao Tong University has placed UWA as the joint best university in Australia (along with the University of Queensland) in the fields of clinical medicine and pharmacy. The ARWU has also ranked UWA as the second best university in Australia (behind the Australian National University) for life and agricultural sciences, coming in at 44th position in the world.

Student Guild

The UWA Student Guild is the premier student representative body on campus and had a peak membership of more than 13,000 students, when membership was universal. It is affiliated with the National Union of Students. The vision of the UWA Student Guild is to be inclusive and representative of the student community and to provide relevant, high quality services to its members, whilst remaining environmentally and socially conscious.

The Guild provides a variety of services from catering to financial counselling. There are also over 80 clubs and societies funded by and affiliated with the Guild. The Guild publishes the student newspaper, Pelican, as well as several other publications.

University events

The highlight of the social year is widely considered to be Prosh, an April day on which students dress up in costume and parade through the streets of the city selling risqué satirical newspapers for various charities. Many social events have become infamous with venues outside of the campus grounds due to the hard partying students, exemplified by the lifetime bans enacted upon the students' science faculty society (Science Union) by both AQWA and Scitechmarker .

Uni Camp for Kids Inc. is the oldest registered charity in WA . It began in 1936, and has over the past 70 odd years provided underprivileged West Australian children with University student carers during week long camps in January, and day picnics throughout the year. Former Australian of the year Fiona Stanley, was a member, and a patron, speaking at the Club's black tie 70th anniversary in 2006.

The biennial Indian Rim Asian University Games were held from 28 November to 4 December 2005 at Challenge Stadium and UWA Sports Park, with more than 100 teams representing 23 universities from eight countries. Nine sports were contested at the week-long competition: Badminton, Cricket, Field Hockey, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Soccer, Volleyball, Tennis and Water Polo. More than 35 countries from the Indian Ocean Rim and Asia were invited to attend the 2005 Games. UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson committed funds to assist university teams from Tsunamimarker affected areas, as well as to promote women’s sport in the region.


UWA Sports operates on campus with a recreation centre, a fitness centre, aquatic centre (Human Movement) as well as a watersports complex (on the Swan River) alongside a boat shed, a sports shop and physiotherapy. Off campus they operate the UWA Sports Park (MacGillivray Oval) containing athletics, baseball, cricket, football, hockey (grass & turf), rugby, soccer and ultimate frisbee fields. The UWA Tennis Centre is adjacent to Challenge Stadium & UWA Sports Park. UWA Shenton Recreation Park also contains a gym, indoor sports hall, tennis courts and a hockey turf.

Intervarsity competition

UWA competes in three inter-university competitions each year.

Tertiary Sports Western Australia (TSWA) is the Western Australian Inter-University competition. Competing teams represent the five WA universities, Curtin University of Technologymarker, Edith Cowan Universitymarker, Murdoch University, The University of Notre Dame Australia and UWA. UWA has been the leader for the last 6 years, winning the event AUSwest title consecutively since 2000, and 11 times since the competition began in 1992.

UWA regularly competes in the annual Australian University Games. UWA finished 3rd (its highest placing) in 1999, and has had three consecutive top ten finishes since finishing fourth in Perth 2004. With the mens hockey team having won four gold medals and two bronze medals since 1993, including three gold medals in a row from 2004 to 2006.

UWA also competes in the Australian University Championships which includes stand alone events for those sports that are not included in the AUG. They take place at different venues all over the country throughout the academic year

Notable alumni

UWA has a proud collection of notable alumni, particularly in the area of politics and government. The list includes, but is not limited to, many premiers of Western Australia including Geoff Gallop and Richard Court, former Deputy Prime Minister and former Whitlam Cabinet minister respectively Kim Beazley and his father Kim Edward Beazley, and 23rd Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke and former Western Australian Premier Alan Carpenter.The University also features many notable science and medicine alumni, including Nobel prize laureate Barry Marshall, the Australian of the Yearmarker for 2003 Fiona Stanley and the Australian of the Yearmarker for 2005 Fiona Wood.The former CEO of Ansett Airlines and British Airways, Sir Rod Eddington, is a graduate of the UWA School of Engineering.Sports alumni include former Kookaburras Captain and Hockeyroos Coach Ric Charlesworth.


UWA has had a publishing arm since 1935, when the University was the sole tertiary campus in Western Australia.


Image:UWASocrates_gobeirne.jpg| Socrates bustImage:UWAMotorolaSoftwareCentre_gobeirne.jpg| Former Motorola Software Centre, (Closed May 2008)Image:UWAFiveLamps_gobeirne.jpg| Great gate mosaicImage:UWABalcony_gobeirne.jpg| Clock tower balconyImage:Reidlibraryuwa.jpg|Reid Library at nightImage:UWA CMS building.jpg|View down from 4th floor of MCS buildingImage:UWA Admin Arch.jpg|Administration buildingImage:UWA Winthrophall.jpg|Winthrop Hall foyerImage:UWA Geology.jpg|North entrance to the Geology buildingImage:UWA Geology Grove.jpg|The Geology building seen through The GroveImage:UWA Sundail.jpg|Sundial near the Sunken GardenImage:Whitepeacock.jpg|Adult white peacock, New Fortune TheatreImage:The_UWA_Clock_Tower.JPG|The UWA Clock TowerImage:St George's College.JPG| St George's College

See also


  1. University of Western Australia Act 1911
  2. Official Publications: Calendar
  3. Rhodes Scholarships
  4. Campus Planning Review 2000
  5. UNISTATS 2008
  7. The Times Higher Education Supplement
  8. Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
  9. "The Top 100 Global Universities, Newsweek" Newsweek's ranking of Melbourne University.
  10. http://www.

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