News

Evolution of education: How Southern Cross University began

Fred Goodman (left) NRCAE Director of Planning and Development and Principal Dr Frank Whitebrook(right) together with Dr H S Houston (centre).
Fred Goodman (left) NRCAE Director of Planning and Development and Principal Dr Frank Whitebrook(right) together with Dr H S Houston (centre). contributed

SCU lecturer Dr Rob Garbutt remembers when the white pegs appeared in the grounds of the Savins farm in East Lismore about 1974, signalling the beginning of what would become Southern Cross University.

Rob grew up in Music St, which borders the university's Lismore campus. He and his friend Dave used to climb through the barbed wire fence with their dogs to do what young boys do: running up and down the hills, climbing trees and chasing cows.

Initially they railed against the development that threatened their playground, pulling the pegs out of the ground and forming the Rosella Conservation Society, a rather pretentious name for two boys who just wanted to protect their beloved Rosella trees.

The first stone was laid in 1981 and teaching began in 1982 when the schools of education and science were opened around what is now U-Block. (At the time the buildings were known as GUTSO, General, Union, Theatre, Science and Offices).

The university had carved out a niche for itself by offering courses such as Contemporary Music, Naturopathy, Tourism, Sports Science and Resource Science, these were not offered at the big city universities

According to Brian Griffin, a former staff member who is now on SCU's history committee, another site at Wollongbar was initially picked but the powers-that-be in Lismore used their influence to have the Savins farm selected.

Stage 2 of the campus construction was around 1986-87 with the building of the administration block, where the library is now. Since then the campus has undergone continuous expansion.

Mr Griffin said the university had carved out a niche for itself by offering courses such as Contemporary Music, Naturopathy, Tourism, Sports Science and Resource Science, these were not offered at the big city universities.

He said it had a significant impact on Lismore's economic development.

"It's impacted on the viability of the city as a major regional centre.

"People are always interested to know when the students are coming back after the long summer break - everyone from shopkeepers and taxi drivers to people who provide student accommodation."

Mr Griffin said not only had the university been a major employer in the region, it had provided an opportunity for people growing up in the area a chance to go to university without having to move away.

Rob Garbutt moved to Sydney for his chemistry degree and then worked for Telstra before moving back to Lismore for family reasons.

He secured a job at SCU in 2001 doing desktop publishing and then did his PhD on what it means to be "a local" through the Schools of Arts and Social Science from 2003-2007.

These days he has a very different relationship with the campus site, working behind a desk and in the classroom rather than running up and down the hills.

But he says he's glad the Rosella Conservation Society wasn't successful in their quest to stop the development.

Topics:  southern cross university



Mum survived tiger snake bite in pregnancy, now bub's here

SAFE ARRIVAL: Chloe Milton, of Casino, who was bitten by a tiger snake while still pregnant.

Doctors couldn't tell Casino mum whether poison would affect baby

Quick thinking from market organisers may have saved lives

Tree falls down at Mullumbimby markets

4 offences police will target this long weekend

Double demerits will be in place this long weekend.

Speeding fines up to $3400 and 14 demerit points

Local Partners

Trump's comments make light of statutory rape

Trevor Noah has gone to town on Donald Trump's sexism

Forza Horizon 3 review: Australia's never looked so good

Fancy racing a freight train?

Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Twelve Apostles feature

Tommy goes home in emotional Bachelorette episode

The Bachelorette contestant Tommy Saggus.

BRISBANE bachelor hopes show will give him more confidence.

Mmmm .... Melon and meat - a winning combination

Get your rockmelon seeds with today's paper.

Make great bruschetta treat from fruits of today's FREE seeds

Top five in entertainment this week

ALT-ELECTRONIC: This weekend you get a chance to listen to Still Fighting, the new single by local band Tijuana Cartel.

Music and comedy with a splash of partying

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities