Development and evolution

Throughout our history, Swinburne has demonstrated its ability to be innovative and responsive to change.


George Swinburne arrived in Australia as a migrant in 1886, quickly establishing himself as a businessman and civic leader. In 1908, he established the Eastern Suburbs Technical College in Hawthorn. This later became Swinburne Technical College. Students studied a range of subjects that represented the interests of the time, including carpentry, plumbing and gas fitting.

Post war

The curriculum expands after the Second World War to include mechanical and electrical engineering. It also adds chemistry, film and television, and computer programming.

The first international transition course begins in 1960 to cater for the arrival of increasing numbers of overseas students.

Our highly regarded Industry-Based Learning program starts in 1963. The course combines academic study and industrial experience. 

A new university

In response to a number of Federal Government reforms in the 1980s, Swinburne becomes an inter-sectoral university of technology. We now provide TAFE education and higher learning.

Swinburne University of Technology gains university status on 1 July 1992 and commences operation from Wantirna and Croydon in 1998.

Embracing change

Since 2000, we undergo a process of rapid change and development. Continuing focus on innovation, industry engagement and high-quality, personalised teaching secures Swinburne a position in the top 400 universities in the world. We rank as one of the top 100 in the world in physics by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Strength in diversity

The establishment of Swinburne Online has helped us engage with a more diverse range of students. Our commitment to increasing access to tertiary education builds on George Swinburne’s original vision of equal opportunity education. The introduction of our Malaysia campus in 2000 has enhanced our student base across South East Asia. 

Designing the future

The completion of the Hawthorn campus’ state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre in 2014 means new opportunities. It fosters collaboration between design and Swinburne's existing strengths in engineering, ICT, business and the social sciences.