THE CENTRAL COAST was always going to be a logical fit for the University of Newcastle to expand its footprint in the late 1980s.
The Ourimbah campus promised to build on the already strong business and sporting links established between the Hunter and its neighbouring region over decades.
Not unlike the early days at Callaghan, the Ourimbah pioneers of 1989 studied on a makeshift demountable campus, which took in the Ourimbah RSL and Mingara sports club.
“On occasions we had to have our lecture in the Chinese restaurant of the RSL because there weren’t enough classes,” says Kylie Twyford, who was one of the first students to study at Ourimbah.
“We had to stop at 6pm for the Ode to be read.”
Like the Hunter, the Central Coast had a relatively low number of tertiary-educated residents. Most of those who were studying travelled to Callaghan for lectures.
The fi rst course offered at Ourimbah was business studies.
“I was studying economics part-time at Newcastle and travelling to Callaghan after work,” says Dr Twyford, who transferred to a bachelor of business degree at Ourimbah.
“The lectures were huge. There just wasn’t any connection. When I came [to Ourimbah] there was only a handful of people. There was a real sense of belonging. As a lifelong Central Coast resident that was important to me.”
By the time the 80-hectare Ourimbah campus was officially opened in 1995, its student population had grown to about 1000.
Today’s campus caters for more than 4000 students and offers 16 single undergraduate degrees and two combined degrees.
The university shares the campus with Hunter TAFE and Central Coast Community College.
Beyond the expansion to the Central Coast, the Port Macquarie campus was established in 2004.
About 4000 students are enrolled at the multi-sectoral campus shared with TAFE NSW – North Coast Institute. Through the Port Macquarie campus the university offers selected part-time and full-time degree programs including bachelor of nursing, bachelor of midwifery, bachelor of teaching (primary honours) and open foundation by distance.
The Singapore campus was set up in 2002, partnering with PSB Academy and BCA Academy to offer degrees in business, commerce, engineering, IT and construction management.
The University of Newcastle, Singapore, enrols about 2000 students in full-time and part-time study.
A Sydney CBD campus opened in 2009.
The purpose built facilities offer preparatory programs in English language for overseas students and masters degrees in the high-demand areas of business and professional accounting to about 1000 students.