UNSW's 70th Anniversary 


Swimming pool

1980 Key campus buildings completed in this period include the Swimming Pool and the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) building.  The swimming pool represented the start of UNSW’s strong sporting presence across a range of activities. Though building was completed on 3 December 1979, the pool wasn’t officially opened until 1 March 1980, by Olympian and UNSW alumnus Michael Wenden, who led the opening ceremony. At the time, the facility was only one of four indoor heated 50m pools in Australia.

Today UNSW students and alumni alike are going from strength to strength in their sporting endeavours, from a strong history in intervarsity achievements across Australia, to global competitions. In the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, eight current and former UNSW students and sports club members competed in Brazil in categories such as cycling, sailing, steeplechase, swimming water polo, judo and rugby.

UNSW Canberra was also an official University Partner for the 2018 Invictus Games, with star alumni competing in the Games. UNSW’s sporting facilities have grown to accommodate a wide variety of sports, some traditional and some not so traditional.

HIV/AIDS research

1986 Renowned immunologist and Scientia Professor David Cooper AC and colleagues set up SAPS, the Sydney AIDS Prospective Study. This would become one of the most influential early studies defining the natural history and immune response to HIV. In 1986, Professor Cooper also founded the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Special Unit in AIDS: Epidemiology and clinical research, now known as the Kirby Institute at UNSW – named for the institute’s official patron, the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG.

Today Since its establishment, the Kirby Institute has conducted a wealth of ground-breaking work in the lab, providing training for healthcare providers, and working within a number of communities, including conducting HIV clinical trials in more than 300 sites in 30 countries. Due to its incredible impact, the Kirby Institute has attracted philanthropic support from the community. Following the sad passing of Professor Cooper in 2018, UNSW established the David Cooper Memorial Fund to honour his achievements, and attract philanthropic funding to further advance the work of the Kirby Institute in treatments and preventatives for HIV, hepatitis C and a range of infectious diseases.


U Committee

1982 The Io Myers studio was opened November 4. The studio was named in recognition of the fundraising efforts of Io Myers, wife of the Vice-Chancellor of the time (Sir Rupert Myers). Ms Myers was one of the founding members and the first President of the U Committee, a group of volunteers that participated in fundraising activities to support the University’s education and research activities. Among other activities, the U Committee would gather each week, to collect and collate books for the celebrated University of New South Wales Book Fair in support of various university projects.

Today Upon closing its doors in 2013, the U Committee had raised more $3.5million through the book fair and other initiatives. “In our 50th year, we should celebrate, and then go on our way,” said Maie Barrows, who joined the U Committee in 1984 and was President at the time of its closure.  “We had a common goal and that’s always been for the University which gave us a real sense of belonging.” In addition to the Io Myers studio, the U Committee helped to attract funds in support of the John Niland Scientia Building, the Australia Ensemble, and a range of artworks now visible across campus.


All photos have been provided by UNSW Archives.