Hunter Institute of TAFE

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Hunter TAFE, formerly known as the Hunter Institute of Technology, is part of the TAFE NSW network. The Institute has 15 campuses and is Australia's largest regional provider of vocational education and training spanning the Hunter and Central Coast regions of New South Wales.[1] It enrolls approximately 60,000 students annually. Newcastle, just 160 km north of Sydney, is the major city of the Hunter Region where many of the campuses are located. It is the second largest city (after Sydney) in the State of New South Wales.


During 1885 the Hunter River Miner’s Association applied to the Board of Technical Education for the classes that had been held in Newcastle and other towns in the vicinity to be formed into a branch technical school under a local science master. Plans were made for the construction of a building with laboratories in a central position and for the creation of a School of Mines there. The following year classes in mineralogy, chemistry, practical chemistry, mechanical drawing, shorthand, building construction, freehand drawing, geometry and perspective were held at Newcastle. At Plattsburg students were enrolled for mineralogy, model drawing and perspective, mechanical drawing was taught at Wickham and model drawing, perspective and geometry at Lambton. By 1890 a branch of the Technological Museum had been established at Newcastle. The classes were conducted in the School of Arts and in the Public School in Bolton Street. By 1891 the buildings were considered inadequate for the purposes. Lack of accommodation for practical work had hindered the development of trade courses such as carpentry and blacksmithing. The School of Arts had offered to alter its premises for the development of technical education but this was rejected and a site for a permanent college was sought. There had been a quadrupling of enrolments between 1889 and 1891. Classes were held at Newcastle, Wallsend, West Wallsend, Lambton, Wickham, Merewether, Stockton, Minmi and Hamilton. At Newcastle additional courses had been introduced including: phonography, boilermaking, mathematics, dresscutting, steam and steam engines, typewriting, plumbing, carving and gilding. The School of Arts was vacated for premises at the Telegraph Office. The stringent circumstances of 1893 led to the cancellation of typewriting classes and the retention of shorthand and dresscutting classes if the teachers were prepared to accept only the income from fees and no additional salary. The following year a mine survey was introduced at Newcastle. The new technical college premises at Newcastle were erected in 1895 and officially opened by the Minister for Public Instruction on 20 February 1896. The Newcastle Advisory Committee to the Technical Education Committee in its report of 19 March 1934 identified 20 local employers who depended upon the College for the technical training of their staff. By this date the College comprised the following teaching departments - Chemistry and Metallurgy; Mechanical Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Physics; building trades (carpentry and joinery) and applied art. The Advisory Committee reported to the Commission that the main College premises had been erected at the end of the nineteenth century and although supplemented by several other buildings including a trades hall, brewery, a disused bulk store and some cottages, accommodation was unsuitable for contemporary requirements . Work had commended on a new building to house the electrical engineering and physics section and plans were in preparation for a new science building. The College expanded in the 1930s to 1940s at Tighes Hill with the construction of the Sir Edgeworth David Science Block (1938), the H.G. Darling Building (Mechanical Engineering, 1938) and the Trades Classroom Block (1942), later known as the Clegg Trades Building. The College supported the training needs of its industrial community, including those of BHP (Broken Hill Proprietary) steelworks, the major industry in Newcastle, by offering subjects such as oxywelding The restructure of the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) sector in 1991 resulted in the establishment of the Technical and Further Education Commission to replace the Department of Technical Education, and the establishment of eight Institutes of TAFE, and three Institutes of Technology in 1992. The Newcastle Technical College was incorporated into the newly formed Hunter Institute of Technology by mid 1992. The Institutes of Technology generally ‘adopted a Faculty structure with educational management as well as Major functions centralised. Heads of studies were responsible for education and training in a particular discipline across all campuses of the Institute’. The fifteen Hunter and Central Coast campuses were incorporated into this institute.


The main campus is Newcastle (located at Tighes Hill) while the other locations vary in size and facilities.

Career areas[edit]

The Hunter Institute of TAFE offers a wide variety of specialist courses including:

  • Administration, Business, Library and Real Estate
  • Animal and Equine Studies
  • Building Industries
  • Children's Services
  • Community, Health and Fitness
  • Creative Industries, Fashion and Media
  • Education for Careers and Further Study
  • Environmental, Horticulture and Primary Industries
  • Food Services and Hospitality
  • Hairdressing and Beauty
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing and Engineering
  • Maritime and Marine[2]
  • Retail and Logistics
  • Science
  • Tourism, Events and Outdoor Recreation
  • Transport and Mining

TAFE NSW has added a range of higher education programs. Hunter TAFE is offering Accounting at Ourimbah campus and Early Childhood at Glendale campus. The Hunter Institute has developed strong links with industry which means that these courses provide practical, career-oriented knowledge to prepare students for professional practice.[citation needed]

The Associate Degree of Accounting develops practical skills and knowledge in accounting, tax, finance, statistics, marketing and law. This degree is delivered at Ourimbah campus on the Central Coast.

Specialist centres[edit]

The Hunter Institute operates a number of specialist centres.

Belmont Campus

  • Training in conservation & land management

Glendale Campus

  • Auto Trade School,
  • Children's Services Centre
  • Cisco Academy Training Centre

Hamilton Campus

  • Training facilities in food, hospitality and tourism

Kurri Kurri Campus

  • Hunter Valley Hotel Academy
  • Plant & Heavy Vehicle Training Centre
  • Training in horticulture and viticulture

Muswellbrook Campus

  • Mining Skills Centre

Newcastle Campus

  • Hair & Beauty Academy

Scone Campus

  • Equine Centre

Each centre offers programs that have been developed in consultation with industry and meet industry competency standards.

A range of student support services are also available including Careers, Counselling & Pathways Service, Disability Support, Multicultural Education Officer, the Aboriginal Learning Circles and Libraries.[citation needed]

International students[edit]

The Hunter Institute has a range of courses for overseas students.

Hunter TAFE is also home to a fully accredited New South Wales English Language Centre, with courses ranging from Intensive English for beginners to advanced students, to Certificate in Advanced English and English for Business Purposes.

As one of Australia's largest regional centres the Hunter Region offers a relaxed lifestyle and a climate that encourages outdoor activities. It's lively arts and entertainment scene, it's close proximity to beaches and Australia's oldest wine growing region make it attractive to international students. The Hunter Institute has been actively marketing its courses to students in other countries.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]