From its beginnings, ANU has been a university with a difference.

The story of Australia's only national university is the story of one of the boldest experiments in Australian research and higher education. Established seventy-five years ago on 1 August 1946 by an Act of the Federal Parliament, the Australian National University (ANU) was designed as an intellectual powerhouse to rebuild the nation after years of war.

Initially, four research schools were created; in medical, physical and social sciences, and Pacific studies. Within the University's seminar and meeting rooms, laboratories and libraries, a dynamic research community would solve complex scientific problems, contribute to economic development and social cohesion, and improve Australia's understanding of itself and its neighbours.

In 1960, the ANU amalgamated with the Canberra University College, becoming a comprehensive educational and research university. Today, the University hosts about 25,000 Australian and international students and 4000 staff.

ANU has affected many people's lives by offering educational opportunities, conducting research and modelling public engagement in ways that have changed our understanding of the world. Its high achievers include pioneering scientists such as Sir John Eccles, Frank Fenner, Peter Doherty and Susan Serjeantson, historians Beryl Rawson and Manning Clark, pathbreaking geologist Germaine Joplin, poet Alec Hope, Indigenous leaders Mick Dodson and Marcia Langton, anti-discrimination trailblazer Susan Ryan, archaeologist Isabel McBryde, international relations experts Coral Bell and Des Ball, mathematician Hanna Neumann, economists Heinz Arndt and Ross Garnaut, musicians Larry Sitsky and Peter Garrett, future prime ministers Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd, the buccaneering vice-chancellor Ian Chubb, and astronomer and Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt. It remains a distinctive university in its mission, its community, and its contribution.


ANU Explorer

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Highlights

Here are some of the highlights from the past 75 years.