Avondale University College

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Avondale University College
Front entrance of the college
Former names
Avondale School for Christian Workers, Australasian Missionary College, Avondale College of Higher Education
MottoA Greater Vision of World Needs
Religious affiliation
Seventh-day Adventist Church
PresidentDr. Ray Roennfeldt
Academic staff
Undergraduates~1300 (2010)
Postgraduates~160 (2008)
Location, ,

33°5′13″S 151°27′40″E / 33.08694°S 151.46111°E / -33.08694; 151.46111Coordinates: 33°5′13″S 151°27′40″E / 33.08694°S 151.46111°E / -33.08694; 151.46111
CampusLake Macquarie (Cooranbong): Rural,
Sydney (Wahroonga): Urban
Campus SizeLake Macquarie 325 ha (803 acres)
ColoursNavy blue, Gold, White
Avondale College Logo

Avondale University College is an Australian tertiary education provider affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is a part of the Seventh-day Adventist education system, the world's second largest Christian school system.[1][2][3][4]

Avondale University College has two campuses, the Lake Macquarie campus being the primary campus situated in Cooranbong, New South Wales. The other campus is located at Sydney Adventist Hospital in the Sydney suburb of Wahroonga and is the main campus of the nursing school.

Avondale University College primarily focuses in the areas of teaching, theology, and nursing, but also offers bachelor's degrees in business, science and the arts as well as certificate studies in outdoor recreation. The nursing programme commences at the Cooranbong campus for one or two semesters and is completed at the Sydney Adventist Hospital with hands-on experience gained in the hospital. Master's degrees are offered in theology, education, nursing, ministry, and some business related fields by distance education, including a one-month on-campus component in the winter semester.

The University College runs Avondale Academic Press, a small academic publisher.

The University College has been working toward University from the Australian government for many years.[5] It is an international affiliate of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.[6]

Avondale University College is an institution under the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. The library contains a local research centre of the Ellen G. White Estate.

Educational philosophy[edit]

During the 1890s, Ellen White reformed the curriculum to make the Bible the center of study, in place of the classics. This change soon spread to Adventist schools in the United States.[7]


  • Excellence
  • Spirituality
  • Nurture
  • Service
  • Balance
  • To be the preferred Christian private university in Australia.
  • To foster a Christian learning community that is founded on quality research-based higher education and that prepares students for lives of service.


A small Bible school was commenced in Melbourne in 1892,[9][10] on the counsel of Ellen G. White. She preferred a rural location, and as a result a search for a rural location was commenced in 1893.[10] A common account is the furrow story, in which Ellen White was reported to have had a vision concerning the land.[11]

Finding land for a college seemed to be an impossible task, as the small church in Australia at the time did not have the finances to support such a project. Eventually the committee searching for the land found a 1,450-acre (5.9 km2) block of land near Cooranbong (121 kilometres (75 mi) north of Sydney) priced at $3 per acre ($741/km²) because of its "poor, sandy and hungry" land. They asked White to inspect the land, who gave her approval.[10] An agricultural expert from the government who was commissioned to look over the land reported that it was of extremely poor quality. The land was purchased in the Spring of 1895, and the Avondale School for Christian Workers was opened there in 1897.[10] In 1911 its name was changed to Australasian Missionary College.[10] The College was a major influence on later Adventist education.[10]

Shortly after 1951, students could study a Bachelor of Science through the external program of the University of London, and a Bachelor of Arts through Pacific Union College.[10]

Renamed Avondale College[edit]

The 1960s was a vital time as the College expanded. In 1964 the institution was renamed to Avondale College[10] and the current men's residence, Watson Hall, and first-year women's residence, Andre Hall, were completed by the following year. In 1974 it received government accreditation to offer bachelor degrees of its own.[10] Master's degrees were first offered in the 1970s, through Andrews University, and from Avondale itself in the 1990s.[10]

Adventist Heritage Centre[edit]

Information and records of the Oceania region are kept at the Adventist Heritage Centre, which is located within the library of the College campus.[12][13]

Heritage architecture[edit]

There are a number of historic buildings that have been preserved on the Cooranbong campus. These include Bethel Hall and College Hall (which formerly functioned as the College Chapel), both of which are unique multi-storey wooden buildings. The refurbished Chan-Shun Auditorium is based on the original auditorium. Photographs and memorabilia of the College in its early years are housed in the Sunnyside Museum located at the nearby EG White Estate.


The Cooranbong shopping district and Freemans Drive now occupy some of the land that was part of the Avondale Estate, creating a disjointed estate. Avondale School, which once shared facilities with the college, and the Cooranbong Aerodrome (which up until 2006 was used as part of the aviation certificate training) are located on one section and the college on the other.

FEE-HELP was introduced to the College in 2005. PhD degrees have been offered since 2006 upon approval from the New South Wales Department of Education and Training. [14] In 2010, the college council voted to change its name to "Avondale College of Higher Education" as an interim step to achieving full university status.[15]

For 30 years the college operated a school of aviation, first at Cooranbong and then at Cessnock Airport in the Hunter Valley after the Cooranbong airport closed. In 2008 the school was closed due to concerns over its long-term financial sustainability.[16] Enrollment for the school reopened in January 2009. However, it is expected that the school will be sold during 2009.,[17] but as of mid 2010 the sale is being finalised.

The University College maintains close links with many colleges and universities within the Seventh-day Adventist education system and international students have an option of spending the semester or year at Avondale. It also has mutual agreements with the University of Newcastle, University of New England and the nearby branch of Charles Sturt University where students have the option to do "cross-credit" courses online.[18] In 2013, the college signed a memorandum of understanding with Charles Sturt in its bid to attain full university status[19] and, in academic year 2015, the first students graduated with degrees jointly awarded by both institutions.[20]

In 2019 TEQSA approved Avondale Colleges application to become a University College.[21]

List of presidents[edit]

Source (1897–1990): Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia[23]


The college is organised into four faculties:


All courses are taught on the Lake Macquarie campus. The nursing school is primarily located on the grounds of Sydney Adventist Hospital in Wahroonga. Nursing students have the option of spending their first year on either campus.

The subjects Christian Studies I and II (or substitutes)[24] are required for all students. The first covers salvation and Christian belief and lifestyle, while the second has a more specifically Adventist focus. A three-year study of student grades by faith tradition showed "little statistical variation", meaning "[b]aptised Adventists are not advantaged and those of other faith traditions are not disadvantaged".[25]


The college offers Master's degrees (taught and research) and graduate certificates/diplomas in education, nursing, leadership and management, arts, theology and ministry.[26] The PhD programme is offered predominantly in the fields of Education, Arts and Theology.[27]

Student life[edit]

Avondale University College fosters a wide variety of students from varying cultural backgrounds and beliefs. Over the years, the college has hosted students from all continents. The majority of students are from Australia, New Zealand, North America and Pacific Islands. Exchange or transfer students from Adventist tertiary institutions in Europe and Asia make up the bulk of foreign students not from the aforementioned countries.

On campus, social activities form a part of student life outside academics. The auditorium, gym, library, College Hall, and cafeteria all provide meeting places for students. Both Indoor and Outdoor students have ready access to on campus events and services.

In common with the Seventh-day Adventist community, Avondale University College ceases secular activities on a Friday afternoon. Over the Sabbath hours students are encouraged, though not required, to attend a variety of religious programs. There student-led Bible study groups and evening worship services open to students and staff alike. The men's and women's residences also host their own worship services during the weekday.

Evangelical author Philip Yancey gave a presentation at Avondale College Church on 20 October 2001, which was broadcast throughout the South Pacific Division.[28] He returned to speak again at Avondale in 2007.[29]


The Lake Macquarie campus has three halls of residence: Watson Hall for males, Ella Boyd Hall for senior females and Andre Hall for first-year females. Students also have the option of renting a College View residence, an off-campus housing estate owned by the college.

The Sydney campus (nursing school) has a single large hall of residence mainly for female students. Male students reside in a separate section of the building.

All halls of residences have single and double rooms and are equipped with basic amenities such as wireless internet, computer rooms, student lounge, kitchen and bathrooms.

Avondale College Church[edit]

"College Church" is situated on the main (Lake Macquarie) campus. Seating 900, it is one of the largest Adventist churches in Australia.[30] Its main services are "7:28" (formerly "First Church") on Friday evenings; as well as small group Bible study or "Sabbath School", children's Sabbath School and a main church service on Saturday mornings.[31]

The church regularly hosts major college events, such as an annual presentation on church-related topics[32][33][34][35] and other creative arts events or concerts. Keynote speakers at the presentation have been Fritz Guy at the 13–15 September 2002 conference, "Being Adventist in 21st Century Australia" (papers available online), Bill Johnsson in the 22–24 August 2003 conference, "Hebrews for Aussies in Century 21",[33] Alden Thompson in 2004, and Kendra Haloviak in 2005.[34] The 2006 conference included Andrews University president Niels-Erik Andreasen as a presenter.[36] It was initiated by the "Membership and Relational Issues Committee" which formed in 2001. The annual Avondale College Murdoch Lecture started in 1997.[35]


Student publications include the Orana, "a means of introducing students and staff to each other" early in the semester, and the yearbook Jacaranda. There is also a student newspaper called "The Voice", which is published twice a month.[37] The weekly campus newsletters is named Connections.[38]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/1115/For-real-education-reform-take-a-cue-from-the-Adventists"the second largest Christian school system in the world has been steadily outperforming the national average – across all demographics."
  2. ^ "Seventh-Day Adventism". ReligionFacts. 10 November 2015. Archived from the original on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  3. ^ "Department of Education, Seventh-day Adventist Church". Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  4. ^ Rogers, Wendi; Kellner, Mark A. (1 April 2003). "World Church: A Closer Look at Higher Education". Adventist News Network. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  5. ^ https://www.theherald.com.au/story/1673147/avondale-college-closes-in-on-uni-status/
  6. ^ "CCCU Members & Affiliates". cccu.org.
  7. ^ George R. Knight (2001). "Seventh-Day [sic] Adventist Education". In Michael J. Anthony (ed.). Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education. Baker Academic. pp. 627–28.
  8. ^ "Avondale College Values". avondale.edu.au. 19 October 2010. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011.
  9. ^ Avondale College from the South Pacific Division website Archived 22 June 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "AVONDALE COLLEGE" in Historical Dictionary of Seventh-day Adventists by Gary Land, p. 29–30
  11. ^ Chapter 7, "Evidences That Ellen G. White Was Used by God" in Believe His Prophets by Denton E. Rebok (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1956), pp.120–22 gives a positive perspective. "The Avondale Furrow Tale" by Dirk Anderson, from website NonSDA.com, is a critical take.
  12. ^ South Sea Islands Museum. "South Sea Islands Museum - Home". Ssimuseum.adventistconnect.org. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  13. ^ Mike Scanlon, (21 January 2012), Past resurfaces with canoe, Newcastle Herald Retrieved 4 April 2016
  14. ^ Stacey, Brenton (25 March 2006). "Avondale approved to offer PhDs" (PDF). Signs Publishing House. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2006.
  15. ^ "Avondale College becomes Avondale College of Higher Education". avondale.edu.au. 3 March 2011.
  16. ^ "News - Aviation at Avondale End". Avondale College website. Avondale College. 31 October 2007. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  17. ^ "News - Avondale College School of Aviation". Avondale College website. Avondale College. 9 January 2009. Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  18. ^ "Affiliations & Associations". avondale.edu.au. Archived from the original on 1 January 2011.
  19. ^ "Avondale College teams with Charles Sturt University in university status bid". The Australian. 2 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Graduation Milestones and Memories". avondale.edu.au. 14 December 2015.
  21. ^ Agency, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards (30 August 2019). "TEQSA approves application for an Australian University College". www.teqsa.gov.au. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  22. ^ a b "News - New president to model servant leadership". Avondale College website. Avondale College. 1 September 2008. Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2009.;
    "New president for Avondale College" by Brenton Stacey. Record 113:36 (20 September 2008), p5
  23. ^ Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, 2nd Ed. A-L Volume, Article "Avondale College", p.145 (Hagerstown, MD: Review & Herald Publishing Association, 1996)
  24. ^ For at least the Bachelor of Business degree Archived 11 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine, substitutes may be taken instead
  25. ^ Chuang, Linden (5 April 2008). "Students not disadvantaged by Christian studies" (PDF). Record. Warburton, Victoria: Signs Publishing Company. 113 (12): 7. ISSN 0819-5633. Retrieved 26 August 2008. Reprinted on the Avondale College website here [1] Archived 8 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Postgraduate Course Listing". avondale.edu.au.
  27. ^ "Doctor of Philosophy". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  28. ^ "Best-Selling Author Speaks to Adventist Churches[dead link]". Adventist News Network
  29. ^ "News". News. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  30. ^ "The Avondale, Australia, Church Recognizes Tensions" by James Stirling. Adventist Today 10:5 (September 2002) Archived 7 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Avondale College Church Archived 15 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "The 'Being Adventist' initiative and the future Archived 9 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine" by Arthur Patrick. Adventist Today 10:6 (November 2002). See also "Conference explores Adventist identity Archived 6 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine". Record 2006
  33. ^ a b "The Being Adventist Conference in Retrospect", a report and consensus statement
  34. ^ a b brief news article on p.3 of the 20 August 2005 issue of Record Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ a b Arthur Patrick. Adventist Studies: An Annotated Introduction for Higher Degree Students, May 2006. Prepared for Avondale College. (Online version Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine - without footnotes; probably an earlier version)
  36. ^ "South Pacific: Conference Explores Adventist Identity" from Adventist News Network. Conference held 30 January – 2 February 2006[dead link]
  37. ^ The Voice - About The Voice Archived 19 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine, from the Avondale College website. Retrieved 31 October 2010
  38. ^ Avondale Publications Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, from the Avondale College website. Retrieved 27 May 2007
Other resources
  • Avondale: Experiment on the Dora by Milton Hook. Cooranbong, New South Wales: Avondale Academic Press, 1998
  • Avondale and the South Pacific: 100 Years of Mission ed. Barry Oliver, Alex S. Currie, and Douglas E. Robertson (Cooranbong, New South Wales: Avondale Academic Press, 1997)
  • The Changing Role of Ellen G. White in Seventh-day Adventism With Reference to Sociocultural Standards at Avondale College by Michael Chamberlain (Ph.D. thesis, University of Newcastle, 2001). Rewritten as the forthcoming book Beyond Ellen White: Seventh-day Adventism in Transition — A Sociological History and Analysis of the Australian Church and its Higher Education System (2008)[2]
  • Revisioning Mission: Avondale's Greater Vision by Stephen J. Currow (Cooranbong, New South Wales: Avondale Academic Press, 2000)

External links[edit]