What was NUCC?
NUCC was the New University Colleges Council (NUCC) which commenced as a company in 1960. NUCC originated from an Anglican group that was formed from the evangelical movement in the 1950’s to establish new residential colleges on Sydney’s campuses. NUCC desired to have a stronger Christian presence on campuses.
At the time of its formation as a company in 1960, NUCC comprised Lawrence Lyons, a lecturer in Chemistry at Sydney University and later Professor of Chemistry at the University of Queensland; his wife, Alison, a high school teacher; Ron Winton, a medical practitioner and historian and Editor of the Australian Medical Journal; Edwin Judge, a reader in History at Sydney University and later Professor of History and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University; John Hawke, also a lecturer in Chemistry at Sydney University and Broughton Knox, who had succeeded Marcus Loane as Principal of Moore College in 1958. The Council was chaired by Bishop Clive Kerle, and the President was then Archbishop of Sydney Hugh Gough. Sir Marcus Loane took over as President upon the retirement of Gough as Archbishop of Sydney.
NUCC stipulated that the College they created would have a ‘no alcohol’ policy which prohibited the consumption of any alcohol on the premises. This rule remains to the present day; it has encouraged the development of a very different College culture and ethos to that sometimes evident in other Colleges. Most current residents acknowledge that it is a policy that helps to support a positive community environment. This decision along with many others has marked the history of the College as a place that places the importance of a strong community before all else and which values academic excellence, community, respect and the significance of Christian faith and values.
A new UNSW Residential College
Negotiations to build a college began with the University of NSW in 1960. UNSW had opened the first of its secular ‘Kensington Colleges’, Basser College in 1959. The University clearly needed student accommodation and the Vice-Chancellor Professor Philip Baxter, was supportive of NUCC and its proposals. Prominent business and lay people were approached for support to fund the construction of the proposed College. In the end NUCC raised funds from MLC borrowings and money held on behalf of the then Church of England Television Society. Land for the location of the College was considered at Little Bay, Daceyville and on part of the Randwick Racecourse site.
The University eventually agreed to provide land on campus at a “peppercorn rent” to both an Anglican and a Roman Catholic College on Anzac Parade near the Barker Street corner of the campus. The Vice-Chancellor required that a foundation clause in the Act of Incorporation of Sydney University that had been written into the Acts establishing most other Australian universities, – that “no religious test shall be administered to any person in order to entitle him to be admitted as a student of the said college or to enjoy any benefit, advantage or privilege thereof”. This no religious test policy remains in place today and is an important part of the New College community being a distinctive place of those who have belief and those who have none. The lease for an Anglican college was signed with the University of NSW in 1966. Construction of the College began in 1967.
What’s in a Name?
The first Master of the College was Rev Noel Pollard, former Librarian & lecturer at Moore Theological College, who was invited to be the founding Master on 7th July 1967. He commenced his appointment overseeing the building of the College and the recruitment of the first intake of students in 1969. Rev Pollard recommended in June 1968 that the College be referred to as New College named after its famous namesake in the UK. The reason for the name was that it
might in the end be a useful one if no other title can be arrived at .
New College opens
The early years (Front Row): second from left Dr John Higinbotham, Rev Noel Pollard (Master), Phil Grouse (Dean), Dr Russell Clark with the rest of the inaugural academic staff (Tutors).
The College opened in February 1969 with a full intake of 210 male students. When Rev Dr Stuart Barton Babbage became Master in 1973 he recommended that the College become co-ed, with the first women admitted in 1974. Apart from care and support for students, the College sought to engage intellectually with the University and wider community .
The College developed significantly under Dr Babbage’s guidance. Dr Babbage introduced eminent speakers at formal dinners, where a ‘who’s who’ of campus and society attend to share their views and experiences with the student body. He also began the College’s ongoing work in academic Christian scholarship and apologetics by holding regular ‘Forum’ dinners. These provided opportunity for serious wrestling with contemporary issues such as genetic engineering, censorship, apartheid, culture, ecology and other faiths. Dr Babbage’s Christian intellectual endeavours provided the impetus for the annual New College Lectures and the present Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education.
In 1983 Moore College trained Rev Dr Bruce Kaye became the College’s third Master serving in the role until 1994. He went on to become the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia General Synod. During his time at New College Dr Kaye set up the Institute for Values Research (IVR). The IVR was funded by a significant grant from the Vincent Fairfax Family foundation to explore issues related to the values espoused by different groups and organisations including churches, the media and government bodies. Dr Kaye also set up the annual public lecture series he called the New College Lectures. This event became a major date on the College’s calendar and has had a significant impact in the College, University and the broader community. In the world of ideas the creation of the New College Lectures was a significant achievement of Dr Kaye's Mastership .
In 1995 former Headmaster of St Andrews Cathedral School Dr Allan Beavis became the College’s fourth Master. Dr Beavis' term as Master continued through until April 2002. In his term Dr Beavis supported the ongoing work of the IVR and the New College Lecture Series as well as introducing changes to the way in which the College was to be governed. During Dr Beavis' Mastership new pastoral and academic care support mechanisms were introduced to significantly enhance the College’s community and academic life. Near the end of his term Dr Beavis visited Asia and hosted three Alumni reunion dinners in HK, KL and Singapore. A history making decision was made during Dr Beavis' Mastership - for the full story see History of the Stocks .
In August 2002 Prof Trevor Cairney became the College’s fifth and present Master. A prominent educator and lay Christian, Prof Cairney is the immediate past President & Chairman of the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students. He has served on many Christian boards and committees including the Moore College Advisory Committee, Anglican Education Commission, Morling Theological College Council and national Christian education bodies. He has also been an active member and leader of many education organizations relating to his research and scholarship, and has a number of business interests. He is President of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce and a director of Australian Business Limited Board .
Since taking up the position of Master, Prof Cairney has overseen the establishment of a new Centre designed to focus more closely on the role of Christian apologetics, the centre is called CASE – the Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education. Prof Cairney has also led the fundraising and Alumni work of the College and implemented the building development project which saw the addition of a new floor to the building increasing the College’s capacity by 37. This project also included the addition of a lift and the renovation of all existing bathrooms. For more on this story see ‘Gilly's Elevator’ in New College History.
From 2004 to 2008 Professor Cairney led a project with the support of the New College Board and staff to create the first post-graduate accommodation facility on campus at the University of New South Wales. The New College Village officially opened in 2009. New College Village is now a thriving community that is home to many of Australia’s finest upper-year undergraduates and post-graduate researchers.