In October 1948 the Minister for Agriculture proposed that the Wagga Agricultural College should be established on the site of the Wagga Experiment Farm (1). Although the first students attended lectures on 3 March 1949, the official opening and naming did not take place until 9 September 1949 (2).
The advances in agricultural studies were reflected in the courses studied at the Wagga Agricultural College. The subjects included: agriculture; livestock; agricultural chemistry; soil physics; agricultural botany; business principles; farm meteorology; economic entomology; farm mechanics; farm book-keeping and elementary veterinary science. (3)
The methods of instruction differed greatly from those used at the Experiment Farm. The students were taught by full-time lectures and by 1965 practical work had been reduced to 25% of the course. (4) The students were expected to have the Intermediated Certificate as a basic educational requirement and instead of being awarded a certificate on the completion of the course they were awarded a Diploma of Agriculture. (5) Initially the College title still included "Experiment Farm", but in 1950 the plans for an Agricultural Research Institute commenced and this marked the next stage in the consolidation of the experimental work. (6)
In 1963 there was a reform of the entrance procedures. New admissions were not to be based on priority of application but on the results of the Intermediate Certificate in order of merit. The entry age was raised to 17 years, and English, mathematics, and science were the pre-requisite subjects. (7)
In 1965 the Martin Report found that students were coming to Wagga Agricultural College with a higher standard of education and fewer diplomates were returning to farming as an occupation. The Report recommended that the academic standing of institutions like agricultural colleges be upgraded to the status of Colleges of Advanced Education. (8)
By 1970 the progress in the discipline of agricultural training outside universities had advanced sufficiently for the Wagga Agricultural College to be accorded the status of a college of advanced education. (9) As a consequence there were changes in the academic staffing, and the shifting from a set course of study to a range of options which could be tailored to the students needs. (10) In 1972 the first female students were enrolled at the Wagga Agricultural College. (11)
Although colleges of advanced education in New South Wales were brought under the control of the Minister for Education in 1969, the agricultural colleges remained under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. (12)
It was not until the Wagga Agricultural College amalgamated with the Riverina College of Advanced Education in 1976 that it was brought under the jurisdiction of the Department of Technical Education, responsible to the Minister for Education. (13) Following the amalgamation, the Wagga Agricultural College became the School of Agriculture within the Riverina College of Advanced Education. (14)
Footnotes and References:
(1) From farm boys to Ph D's: Agricultural Education at Wagga Wagga, 1896-1996, by June Sutherland, CSU, 1996, p.73.
(2) Ibid., p.74.
(3) Ibid., p.153.
(4) Op. cit.
(5) Ibid p.76.
(6) Op. cit.
(7) Ibid., p.97.
(8) Ibid., p.103.
(9) Ibid., p.112.
(10) Op. cit.
(11) Ibid., p.116.
(12) Ibid., p.112.
(13) Ibid., p.130.
(14) Charles Sturt University-Mitchell Handbook, p.9.