Records of student life

Morning tea outside the Union House, University of Melbourne, 3rd term 1954. Rosemary Balmford collection, 1986.0200.00001
Morning tea outside the Union House, University of Melbourne, 3rd term 1954. Rosemary Balmford collection, 1986.0200.00001

UMA contains a number of key collecting areas relating to students, illustrating the depth of involvement students have had in campus life.

Clubs and Societies

The University of Melbourne Archives holds papers for over 60 student clubs and societies. These range from large collections from the Student Union/Student Representative Council and Sports Union to the 1950s song book of the Melbourne University Gastronomical Society.

The records of student clubs can sometimes provide more information on individual former students, if they were heavily involved in the organisation. To retrieve a list of the student club collections, select 'Creator's activity or occupation' from the Browse menu in the online catalogue, and select 'Student Club', 'University Club' or 'Student union'.

The publications of faculty clubs such as the Medical and Engineering Students' Societies are held in Special Collections at the Baillieu Library.

The Sports Union collection ranges from 1895 to 1997, reflecting the organisation’s longevity and importance in student life. The University Athletic Association was formed in 1883 when various sporting groups (including boating, cricket, lacrosse, tennis and football) came together to promote their interests within the University. The organisation became the Sports Union in 1904 and the following year a compulsory sports fee was levied on all students. In 1907 the Sports Union began publishing the Melbourne University Magazine, which was eventually taken over by the Students Representative Council. The SRC was founded in 1906 by the Sports Union, in order to organise activities no associated with sport, which continued to fund it until 1923, when the responsibility was transferred to the University Union. That year, the SRC became entitled to elect two members to University Council, following official recognition in 1914. The Melbourne University SRC was also involved in establishing the National Union of Australian University Students (the forerunner to today's National Union of Students) in 1937. For more information about the history of student representation and activities, see the UMA's online exhibition, Keys to the Past.

The student paper Farrago, which continues today, was first published in 1925 and copies are held in the Library’s Special Collections.

Colleges and Halls of Residence

In 1861 the four major Christian denominations were granted a little over 10 acres each to the North of the University grounds, with the 16 acres in between reserved for a recreation ground.

The Anglican college (Trinity College) was established in 1870, the Presbyterian College (Ormond College) in 1879, the Wesleyan Methodist college (Queen's College) in 1887, and the Roman Catholic college (Newman College) in 1916. Since that time several other colleges and halls of residence have been founded, mostly in response to the identification of particular needs among student groups, for instance University Women's College (now University College) Medley Hall and International House.

Until well in to the Twentieth Century, the colleges played a substantial role in the life of the University. In many respects their heads had more influence than the professors. Together with members of their governing bodies they sat as members of the University Council.

Because the colleges were separate bodies to the University, the UMA does not hold a large amount of material relating to the colleges (for example Alexander Leeper's papers hold material relating to Trinity College). University of Melbourne Office of the Registrar correspondence series also holds some material relating to colleges, their benefactors and administrators.

UMA holds many photographs of these colleges, and can be found by using the name of the college, or the names of individuals associated with them, by searching Digitised Items in the catalogue.

Most of the colleges hold their own archives and library. For more material relating to a college or a former student, contact the college librarian or archivist.

Student cards

The University of Melbourne Archives holds student cards for every student who enrolled at the University from its establishment to the mid-1970s. In most cases, the cards record the student's name, date of matriculation, course, subjects studied, and mark received, degrees obtained, and dates conferred. They may also contain additional information such as address, date of birth, prizes and scholarships.

Due to privacy concerns, cards less than 75 years old cannot be accessed without the written permission of the former student or his/her next of kin if deceased. In such cases, the UMA can confirm degrees confirmed and date without permission. Cards over 75 years can be accessed.

The student cards are not academic transcripts. Student administration provides academic transcripts, student records for students after the mid-1970s and student cards of affiliated organisations such as the Conservatorium of Music and the Melbourne Teachers College.

Please note that the University did not collect and preserve other student records or student photographs. Further information about a former student may be found in the records of student clubs or University organisations in which they participated. See the list of student clubs and societies in this subject guide for holdings.

To request a student card please use the Aeon ordering system, either by logging in or signing up a new account and use the Request Student Card option on the left-hand side menu.

Matriculation records

The Public Examinations Branch of the University of Melbourne administered public school examinations from the late 19th century until the early 1970s. The UMA holds records relating to examinations including the Matriculation, Leaving and Intermediate exams. The records can give information about subjects taken and results, school attended, address and father's name and occupation, although the information provided by the examination rolls varies over time.

Records can be ordered into the Reading Room by using the Aeon ordering system.