The sandstone universities are an informally defined group comprising Australia's oldest tertiary education institutions. Most were founded in the colonial era, the exceptions being the University of Queensland (1909) and University of Western Australia (1911). All the universities in the group have buildings constructed primarily of sandstone. Membership of the group is based on age; some universities, such as the private Bond University, have sandstone-plated buildings but are not considered sandstone universities.
The label "sandstone university" is not completely synonymous with membership of the Group of Eight, which includes the Australian National University, Monash University and the University of New South Wales, but not the University of Tasmania. Nevertheless, the connotations (prestige, a focus on research, and curricula that have a strong emphasis on theory rather than practice) are much the same for the two groups. Australian Government survey data of university graduates has indicated in the past that students who enter sandstone universities come from higher income families, and that graduates largely have higher paid occupations or positions of influence, prompting claims of elitism and social division.
|University of Adelaide||Adelaide, South Australia||1874||20,005||7,352||$929 million||1,481|
|University of Melbourne||Melbourne, Victoria||1853||26,751||22,543||$1.335 billion||4,631|
|University of Queensland||Brisbane, Queensland||1909||35,076||18,620||$224.3 million||2,908|
|University of Sydney||Sydney, New South Wales||1850||35,351||25,958||$2.5 billion||3,743|
|University of Tasmania||Hobart, Tasmania||1890||27,880||5,999||$561 million||1,255|
|University of Western Australia||Perth, Western Australia||1911||19,839||5,967||$709 million||1,538|
Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide
Old Quad, University of Melbourne
Great Court, University of Queensland
Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney
Domain House, University of Tasmania
Winthrop Hall, University of Western Australia
Other Australian university groups
Red brick universities
The University of NSW, Monash University and the Australian National University have been termed 'red brick' universities. They are similar to the red brick universities in the UK, both groups coming after the ancient Universities and sandstone universities.
Verdant (gumtree) universities
Universities founded in the 1960s and 70s have been known informally as 'verdant' or 'gumtree' universities.  These universities were established in their state capitals, often next to native bush land (now nature reserves), and have lush vegetative campuses. They are predominantly the second or third established university in their state.
- Ivy League
- Robbins Report
- Russell Group
- Association of American Universities
- Red brick university
- Plate glass university
- Maple League of Universities (Canada)
- Marginson, Simon (29 November 1999). "THE ENTERPRISE UNIVERSITY COMES TO AUSTRALIA" (PDF). Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education.
- Department of Education Training and Youth Affairs (1998), The Characteristics and Performance of Higher Education Institutions, Canberra: Higher Education Division, Department of Education, Employment and Youth Affairs
- Department of Education Training and Youth Affairs (1999), Completions, Undergraduate academic outcomes for the 1992 commencing students, Melbourne: DETYA.
- "2017 University of Adelaide Annual Report" (PDF). adelaide.edu.au. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- "2018 Pocket Statistics" (PDF). Retrieved 18 October 2018.
- "2018 Annual Report" (PDF). University of Melbourne. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
- "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). The University of Queensland.
- "University of Sydney 2018 Annual Report" (PDF). University of Sydney.
- "Higher Education Financial" (PDF). Department of Education.
- "2018 Annual Report" (PDF). University of Western Australia.
- Gable, Guy (2008). The Information Systems Academic Discipline in Australia. ANU E PRESS. p. 319. ISBN 9781921313943.
- "Types of Australian universities". www.academia.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-09.[dubious ]
- Marginson, Simon; Considine, Mark (2000). The Enterprise University: Power, Governance and Reinvention in Australia. Cambridge University Press. p. 15-16. ISBN 052179448X.
- The only exception is Macquarie, which is the third university is Sydney, but the fourth university in New South Wales. It follows the University of Sydney (1850), University of New South Wales (1949) and University of New England (1954).