The history of UNSW embraces our spirit of community, innovation, and "knowledge by heart, mind and hand."
UNSW is located on unceded territory, and we recognise the Traditional Owners of the lands where each campus of UNSW is situated. This timeline of Australian history helps us understand the impact of laws and policies upon the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Our history tells the story of a University forged by a commitment to discovery, creativity and challenging the status quo. We chronicle milestones from UNSW’s earliest foundations in 1949, and celebrate trailblazers such as our first international student in 1950, our first female graduate in 1952, and Australia’s first Indigenous law graduate in 1976 — to name just a few.
Our University has since been shaped by the addition of new schools, centres and institutes, by changes to the physical campus and strategic planning processes. Today UNSW is building a legacy of transformative and positive impact.
We are one of the leading research and teaching-intensive universities in the world, known for innovative, pioneering research and high-quality education with a global impact. Our 2025 Strategy provides the framework for UNSW to advance our contribution to serve our society now and into the future.
UNSW Archives is our collective memory, providing evidence of our past, key actions and decisions and a lens through which we view our cultural heritage.