University of Melbourne Archives

The University of Melbourne Calendars

The University of Melbourne Calendar is almost as old as the University itself, having been published every year since 1858.  Whilst the name “Calendar” does not immediately bring to mind what one might find therein, it is in fact a register of all those who have gone before us in the history of this great University as well as the various component parts of the University community that have become established over the years.

The digitisation of the University Calendar brings to life the original foundation of the University, and not only gives everyone immediate access to the historical record but gives us a fascinating insight into the ethos of the founders.  For example, a virtual visit to the very first Calendar shows us the Act of Incorporation of the University (1853), in which we find that the University of Melbourne is to be “open to all classes and denominations” to whom “no religious test is to be administered”. The Act goes on to make provision for the licensing and supervision of “Boarding Houses for the reception of students” as well as to provide funds for “Fellowships, Scholarships, Prizes and Exhibitions … for the encouragement of students … and for providing a Library”.

Later, we find that the Council was proclaimed on 11 April 1853 and the selection of professors was “entrusted to a committee of gentlemen in England”.  Note that Statute 1.1 of the 1958 Act required Council to meet on a Monday – it still does so in 2009. There is also mention of the University of Sydney, which was proclaimed only one year earlier in 1852!

The 1858 Calendar contains lists of staff, dates of terms and fee schedules: non-matriculated students (now known as Community Access Program - CAP) were able to attend lectures for £2 per term.  In addition, there are details of the content of the curriculum as well as examination papers, regulations for courses (some specifically for law students!), lecture timetables, book lists and so on. No person was permitted to matriculate who had not turned fifteen and all students had to sign a declaration agreeing to abide by the regulations, which they still do to this day.

I hope that this glimpse of University history gives an indication of the rich store of information that is now fully accessible to researchers and interested members of the community and I welcome this great initiative on the part of the Library team.

Janet White
University Secretary
May 2009


The University Library has great pleasure in working with the University Secretary to present a digitised collection of University of Melbourne Calendars for use by staff, scholars and the community at large.

Trace the history of The University of Melbourne by browsing through the fully indexed digitised Calendars dating back to 1858. As you browse, you will see how this publication has evolved over the years to reach its current form.  Some of the features that interest me include old text book lists, class lists (pre-1893) and honour rolls, examination papers (1859-1875), College details and even some old advertisements.

We are proud of this digitisation project and the experience we have gained to progress other projects with the rich cultural collections in the Library.  Thanks to a number of staff from different areas across the Library for their contribution to this initial project.

Philip G. Kent,
The University Librarian

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Search the Calendars Collection

Exact phrase or name searching is recommended to retrieve accurate results (e.g. Redmond Barry or Wilson Hall) as the search is carried out on the fulltext indexes of over 100 calendars.

The University Library also has copies of the original paper versions of the Calendar, located in Special Collections of the Baillieu Library and in the University of Melbourne Archives. More information about the collection located at the Baillieu can be found in the University Library Catalogue.

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