A History of the Modern Australian University

Front Cover
NewSouth, Oct 1, 2014 - Education - 278 pages

In 1857 all of the Arts students at the University of Sydney could fit into a single photograph. Now there are more than one million university students in Australia. After World War II, Australian universities became less elite but more important, growing from six small institutions educating less than 0.2 per cent of the population to a system enrolling over a quarter of high school graduates. And yet, universities today are plagued with ingrained problems. More than 50 per cent of the cost of universities goes to just running them. They now have an explicit commercial focus. They compete bitterly for students and funding, an issue sharply underlined by the latest federal budget. Scholars rarely feel their vice-chancellors represent them and within their own ranks, academics squabble for scraps. Knowing Australia is a perceptive, clear-eyed account of Australian universities, recounting their history from the 1850s to the present. Investigating the changing nature of higher education, it asks whether this success is likely to continue in the 21st century, as the university’s hold over knowledge grows ever more tenuous. 


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


A historyofAustralian universities 2 Universities makeagrab forpower 3 Universities and national priorities
Godprofessors and student ratbags 5 The endofthe golden age if there was one 6 A clever country
The DVC epidemic
Knowledge factories
Knowledge in the age of digital reproduction
Winners and losers in Australian universities
What sort of university do we want?

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Hannah Forsyth is a historian of modern Australia and an educator at the Australian Catholic University. She is the author of New Year’s Eve in Sydney: A History of Urban Carnival.

Bibliographic information