Our history

Over 100 years ago Swinburne began with a simple premise: to provide technical education to a sector of society otherwise denied further education.

For over a century Swinburne has committed to innovative education, strong industry engagement and social inclusion. 

The journey

The vibrant, multicultural and student-focused university you know today boasts over 50,000 students from all walks of life. In 1909, however, the first class enrolled merely 80 young men.

Swinburne offered training and education in  plumbing and mechanics. We offered classes with the very first computers. Since the digital revolution Swinburne has been providing cutting-edge education. Our media programs and bio-research are just two examples.

We continue to focus on emerging technologies, industry engagement and flexible learning options. We ensure we adapt and evolve with the times. We deliver relevant education for our students today, and tomorrow.

George Swinburne

Swinburne University of Technology’s founder George Swinburne was a man of strong ideals. He wanted to establish a technical college in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs to serve those without access to further education.

Swinburne still holds firm to these founding principles of equal opportunity, student-focused learning and industry engagement.

"I see no other method of giving equal opportunity than by increasing the facility of education."

George Swinburne

Founder, Swinburne University of Technology


Explore our history

The Swinburne History Collection contains more than 8000 items that provide insights into the people, places and events that are significant to Swinburne University. This includes photographs, videos, audio, speeches, maps and building plans.