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Charles Darwin University

University profile

More than 120 years ago, Banjo Paterson described the Northern Territory as a “vast wild land, full of huge possibilities”.

And he was right.

So how did a relatively small population, spread sparsely across an area, one–fifth the land mass of Australia, with little educational resources to speak of, turn those possibilities into a reality? By creating a study environment where the freedom exists for people to evolve their lives. Today this environment is captured at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

The beginning

The seed of CDU dates back to Darwin in the 1950s.

With no offices or permanent staff, adult education classes in typing, shorthand and French were first conducted in school premises and taught by teachers working outside of normal hours.

Darwin’s Adult Education Centre’s first full-time Principal Harold Garner brought tremendous energy to the role.

On enrolment day the Centre resembled an ant’s nest, thriving with activity.

It was the first institution to offer post-secondary studies in the Northern Territory.

In March 1974 Darwin’s Adult Education Centre graduated to become the Darwin Community College.

Nine months later, on Christmas eve, Cyclone Tracey struck Darwin, the college directly in its path in the maximum destruction zone.

The Darwin Community College was later known as the Darwin Institute of Technology.

Talk of a university in the Territory had been brewing as far back as 1950s.

The objectives – to stop the brain drain south, conduct research into the Territory’s unique desert and tropical environments, and aid in development towards statehood.

This would take another name change for the Darwin Community College.

The Federal Government’s introduction of the Unified National System finally come to fruition in 1989, with the establishment of the Northern Territory University.

There was one last merger, this time with the Alice Spring’s Centralian College in 2003, and one last name change to ‘Charles Darwin University’(CDU).

Today

Territorians no longer have to send their children away from home for a University education. From this year (2011), students, for the first time ever, need not leave the Territory to become doctors.

A five-star rating for research from the Good Universities Guide, acknowledges CDU’s place on the world stage.
Providing research that is helping to solve global challenges and close to home.

There is no better example of this than the Menzies School of Health Research which is improving indigenous health outcomes in tropical and Central Australia.

CDU is the only Australian university to offer the full spectrum of education options from senior secondary, through to VET, undergraduate and post graduate degrees.

The Northern Territory community has responded to this with the highest per capita participation in Higher Education in the country.

CDU has 6,000 students from interstate, and around the world from 100 nationalities. The University’s adaptive and altruistic culture has allowed it to not only survive, but thrive in a changing world.

We hope you enjoy your visit and please contact us with any queries you may have.

DARWIN has been named as one of the best cities in the world to visit in 2012 by Lonely Planet.

Famous for its monster crocodiles, the Northern Territory capital has a lot more to offer, the travel guide says.

 YOUR SAY: Is Darwin among the world's best cities? Tell us below

Darwin wasn’t the only surprise entry on the list. While London came in at number one, other lesser-known cities such as Muscat in Oman, Bengaluru in India, Cadiz in Spain and Guimaraes in Portugal also made the cut.

Described as “multicultural, free-wheeling and vibrant”, Darwin received a glowing review.

"With a pumping nocturnal scene, magical markets and restaurants, and world-class wilderness areas just down the road, today Darwin is the triumph of Australia's Top End,'' the book says.

"It's now a hip city to visit rather than just the end of the road for lost souls.''

Cities in the top ten list were chosen by Lonely Planet's in-house travel experts, based on topicality, excitement, value and that special X-factor.

Lonely Planet’s Charles Rawlings-Way, one of the authors of the book, admitted that Darwin was an unlikely entry. But he said that Darwin has a lot to offer.

“It is a bit of a surprise for Australians in particular to see Darwin shaping up as a vibrant tourist destination,” Mr Rawlings-Way said.

The city has had a major face-lift in recent times, growing from a town full of fisherman, hippies and “redneck truckers” to a very young and energetic city, he said.

“In the 80s and even 90s it was pretty grim up there and its appeal was limited. Cyclone Tracey levelled the place and taken long time for Darwin to rebuild from that," he said.

"Darwin is gathering pace, it's not somewhere Aussies think of going for a holiday but its position is really interesting in the world."

As well as the famous Mindil Beach Markets, Darwin is close to a host of national parks including Kakadu, and is the closest major Australian city to Asia.

While Lonely Planet recommends a trip to the waterfront precinct and buying indigenous art, it warns travellers about dorms without air-conditioning, monsoonal rain and “over-boozed backpackers”.

If you’re after a bizarre sight then check out the 5m-long, 780kg stuffed saltwater crocodile called Sweetheart” at the NT’s Museum & Art Gallery.

Visitor numbers to the Northern Territory have dropped in recent times, with figures showing tourist arrivals falling by 9.5 per cent during the 12 months to June 2011.

NT Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy said she was pleasantly surprised to see Darwin on the list, but she wasn't surprised people were impressed by the incredible sunsets, the markets, the nature and the historical sites.

"It puts Darwin certainly on the map as one of the best cities,'' Ms McCarthy said.

Last year Lonely Planet created quite a stir by putting Newcastle in the list, urging travellers to check out its beaches, night-life and art.

Sydney and Melbourne have never made the list before as they are "too dull".

 


  
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