In 1838 Governor Bourke helped foster the establishment of the Sydney Mechanics School of the Arts, along with the help of Scottish Immigrants who had attended the Edinburgh School of the Arts. The School was modelled on a network of Mechanics Institutes, and Schools of the Arts in Britain which provided adult vocational education. (1)
Sydney Technical College
In 1878 the Committee of Sydney Mechanics School of the Arts established a separate ‘Working Men’s College’, which soon became known as the Sydney Technical College. The College occupied premises in Pitt, Sussex, and Castlereagh Streets. (2)
In 1880 the college offered courses which included: English Grammar and Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Bookkeeping, Elocution, German, Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Mechanical Drawing, Freehand Drawing (Advanced and Elementary), Drawing (Ladies’ Morning and Afternoon), Practical Chemistry, Chemistry (Lectures), Telegraphy, Experimental Physics, Design, Architectural Drawing, Practical Geometry and Physics, Navigation, Woodcarving, Physiology, Anatomy, Simple Surgery (Lectures), Photography, and Political Economy (Lectures). (3)
On 1 October 1883 the College which had been publicly funded for the previous four years was transferred to the management of the Board of Technical Education. (4)
In 1891 premises were completed for the college at Ultimo, and most of the classes which had been held in premises rented by the Board were transferred to Ultimo by the end of 1892. (5)
By the 1900’s the focus of the college was on agriculture, mining and other primary industries, and on training skilled tradespeople such as chemists, cooks, printers, mechanical and civil engineers. (6)
In the 1940’s and 1950’s the focus of the college changed “to meet the needs of the times and offered courses in road and rail carriage building as well as repatriation courses, free to disabled Service personnel’. (7)
During World War II the College became a combined teaching facility, factory and army camp, which provided training under the Commonwealth Defence Training Scheme. In the 1950’s and 1960’s the college provided training to Technicians in areas such as dental care, biomedical and office administration. (8)
The restructure of the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) sector in 1991 resulted in the establishment of the Technical and Further Education Commission to replace the Department of Technical Education, and the establishment of eight Institutes of TAFE, and three Institutes of Technology in 1992. (9) The Sydney Technical College appears to have been incorporated into the newly formed Sydney Institute of Technology by mid 1992. The Institutes of Technology generally ‘adopted a Faculty structure with educational management as well as Major functions centralised. Heads of studies are responsible for education and training in a particular discipline across all campuses of the Institute’. (10)
(1) Information Services Division, NSW Department of Technical and Further Education (ed.) Spanners , Easels, and Microchips: a history of technical and further education in New South Wales 1883-1983, NSW Council of Technical Education, Sydney, 1983, p.11.
(2) Ibid., pp.11-12; History of TAFE NSW.TAFE NSW - About TAFE NSW (accessed 19/09/2006).
(3) Ibid p.12.
(4) Report of the Minister for Public Instruction for the year ended 31 December 1884, p.33 in Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly Second Session 1885, Vol. 1, p.431.
(5) Information Services Division, NSW Department of Technical and Further Education (ed.), op. cit., p.39.
(6) TAFE NSW Sydney Institute - History http://www.sit.nsw.edu.au/institute/index.pjp (accessed 19/09/2006).
(7) Loc. cit.
(8) Loc. cit.
(9) NSW TAFE Commission, Annual Report, 1991/1992, pp.36 and 47; History of TAFE NSW. TAFE NSW - About TAFE NSW (accessed 19/09/2006).
(10) NSW TAFE Commission, Annual Report, 1992/1993, p.22.