UON Memories



If you studied at the University of Newcastle (Australia), Newcastle Teachers’ College, or Newcastle CAE/HIHE,  you may enjoy a trip down memory lane by browsing through some of the diverse selection of serials published by student societies or by the institutions themselves.  These include:

All of these serials are held in the University Archives.

Some wonderful volunteers in the Cultural Collections team have digitised them and we have finally brought them together in Living Histories @ UON. You can browse through them at https://livinghistories.newcastle.edu.au/nodes/view/79874 or search for a name at https://livinghistories.newcastle.edu.au/nodes/index

If you have some recollections you would like to share with the world, we have some instructions.

Donation Honours Memory of Griffith Duncan

I Look Ahead - Towards A Better World (University of Newcastle and Newcastle Teachers' College, later Newcastle College of Advanced Education Mottos)

I Look Ahead – Towards A Better World (University of Newcastle and Newcastle Teachers’ College, later Newcastle College of Advanced Education Mottos)

A small ceremony held in the University’s Auchmuty Library to mark the donation of a book to Cultural Collections has conjured memories of the legacy of one of the Hunter Region’s educational giants.

Griffith Duncan

The book was a presentation copy of the Poems and Plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930) awarded as the Charles Oliver Prize to a 16 year-old Griffith Duncan, “for Magazine Articles”  by the Headmaster of Maitland High School (Mr Charles H. Chrismas) on the 16th December 1930.

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

Charles Oliver Prize plate within The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

Charles Oliver Prize plate within The poems and plays of Oliver Goldsmith (1930)

This young man would go on to become foundation Principal of the Newcastle Teachers’ College, later incorporated as the Newcastle College of Advanced Education and Hunter Institute of Higher Education before it amalgamated with the University of Newcastle 1989. The book was donated by Mrs Pat Wilson, who along with her daughter Amanda, and friends Emeritus Professor John Hamilton and wife Alison handed the book over to Special Collections Librarian Lyn Keily and Mark Sutherland Associate Librarian (Research and Information Services).

Mrs Pat Wilson (in red) with daughter Amanda, presenting the book to Lyn Keily and Mark Sutherland (centre). Photo: Gregg Heathcote

Mrs Pat Wilson (in red) with daughter Amanda, presenting the book to Lyn Keily and Mark Sutherland (centre). Photo: Gregg Heathcote

The book had been passed on to Mrs Wilson by Griffith Duncan’s aunt, Annie Robson, now deceased. Mrs Wilson discussed the possibility to donate the book to the University’s Collections with her friends Emeritus Professor John Hamilton and wife Alison, which was accepted.

(l-r) Emeritus Professor John Hamilton, Alison Hamilton, Pat Wilson with daughter Amanda, Lyn Keily, Gionni Di Gravio)

(l-r) Emeritus Professor John Hamilton, Alison Hamilton, Pat Wilson with daughter Amanda, Lyn Keily, Gionni Di Gravio) Photo: Gregg Heathcote

As part of the occassion, a display of Newcastle Teachers’ College photo albums, as well as a recording of Huldha Turner speaking about the College days was played over a slide show of images of the 1949 Pioneer Session. This helped bring back memories of Griffith Duncan and his ongoing legacy and leadership in education to the Hunter Region and beyond.

Griffith Duncan Presentation and Slide Show of 1949 Pioneer Session Photographs

Griffith Duncan Presentation and Slide Show of 1949 Pioneer Session Photographs. Photo: Gregg Heathcote


The lasting impression he left on his students and staff has shaped their lives and the lives of all that followed. Huldah Turner summed it up in her parting address to Dr Douglas Huxley on the 4th March 1992:


“When I left the college in early 1967, we were still dreaming of our “permanent campus” and wondering if it was, after all, an unattainable pipe dream. However, in spite of our primitive campus those who knew the Union Street Experience claimed that it had camaraderie and a warm fierce loyalty unique in similar institutions. It had to be experienced to be understood.

This spirit was initiated and engendered by its Foundation Principal, Grif Duncan, a man of massive intellect, wide ranging cultural interests and infinite compassion.

He put students and staff before self and all who worked with him came to know his stature; unfaltering integrity, dedication to his college and profound understanding.

He loved his college. He was fiercely proud of it and he fought all the way for his better world.

The college motto of course was his:

Towards a Better World


We thank Mrs Pat Wilson and family, as well as Emeritus Professor John Hamilton and wife Alison, for enabling this donation to the University of Newcastle. It has provided a humble reminder of what we are all here to achieve. In these times when the University of Newcastle is seeking to find its distinctive path in a new and challenging global environment, we cannot think of a better and more simple goal for the University, combining its motto with that of  Griff Duncan’s Newcastle Teachers’ College, igniting the powerful Promethian myth that knowledge and education can break the bonds of an enslaved mind, and ignite an eternal flame of ongoing freedom and progress for the good:

“I Look Ahead Towards A Better World”

Gionni Di Gravio
University Archivist
12 August 2015

Names to faces

Names to Faces

Teacher trainees at The Junction Demonstration School

The Newcastle Herald has been of great assistance yet again by publishing one of our photos in its fascinating A moment in time series. On Saturday 14 January 2012, they published the above photo showing some teacher trainees, asking for people to identify the young faces, and, in the same column on Saturday 21 January, they reported the information kindly supplied by members of the public.

Trevor Fullerton emailed the Herald to say he was pictured on the far right of last week’s photo.

Mr Fullerton said it was taken at The Junction Demonstration School in 1956 when Newcastle Teachers’ College was located in Union Street, Newcastle.

“It was the first demonstration lesson observed by a group of students in their initial year of training, ” he said.

“The [standing] students are, from left to right, Jocelyn Driscoll, Brian Evans, Patricia Dark, Bill Fowles and Trevor Fullerton.”

David and Dale Dark of Clarence Town also sent an email, saying they had called David’s sister Patricia Dark, (now Menzies) who now lives at Dorrigo and remembers the photo being taken.

Many thanks to the Herald and to Mr Fullerton, Mr and Mrs Dark and Mrs Menzies!

If you wish to see the full-sized photo, click on the image on this page. Former Newcastle Teachers’ College students may also be interested to see the rest of the photos in the set, Newcastle Teachers’ College, on our Flickr site.

Huldah Turner’s Writings

Publications and Other Writings by Huldah M Turner

Huldah Turner

Huldah Turner

  • An analytical survey through character of Graham Greene’s ‘The power and the glory’ / Huldah M. Turner
    Kotara, N.S.W. : Newtex Productions, [196-]
    Cultural Coll/RB STAFF 823.912 GREE-2 TURN
  • The background to the history of costume / by Huldah M. Turner. Book 1. The ancient world
    [Charlestown, N.S.W.] : [H.M. Turner], [1973]
    Cultural Coll/RB STAFF Q391.009 TURN
  • Edouard Dujardin, James Joyce, and the “interior monologue”, from an M.A. thesis submitted to Sydney University in 1943-4 [manuscript] / by Huldah M. Turner 1944
    Cultural Coll/RB STAFF Q823.9/J89/12

NB: A copy of the entire thesis has been kindly donated to the University Library by the Turner family and is held in Archives.

  • Mootwingie : snake cave / Huldah Turner
    [New Lambton. N.S.W. : Nimrod, 1994]
    Cultural Coll/RB STAFF PamA821.3 TURN-1 MOOT 1994
  • “Landscape near Madura, Western Australia” In Lines from a lakeside city : poems selected for the 1994 Roland Robinson Literary Award / edited by Betty Roe
    Boolaroo, N.S.W.] : Lake Macquarie City Council, 1994
    Cultural Coll/RB   A821.3 ROE 1994
  • “Joe Fanatomy” In“Speaking of Union Street…” Reminiscences of Newcastle Teachers’ College 1949-1973 3.12 Mb PDF file.
    Archives Shelf Location A7460 (v)
  • ‘Address’ from Huldah Turner to Dr Douglas Huxley. 4th March 1992  Reminiscences of Newcastle Teachers’ College. Click here for the Original Recording [2.20 MB mp3 file]
    Archives Shelf Location A7460 (v)
  • Huldah M Turner

    Huldah M Turner

    Huldah Turner

    Huldah Mary Turner

    (1906 – 2006)

    Huldah Mary Turner, former Vice Principal and Acting Principal of Newcastle Teachers’ College, was the first woman in NSW to become Vice Principal and Acting Principal of a Teachers’ College. She was also the first woman on the Council of the University of Newcastle.

    These pages are a tribute to her.

    Biography of Huldah Turner

    Huldah Turner as a young woman

    Huldah Sneddon

    Huldah M Turner
    (1906 – 2006)

    Early Life

    Huldah Mary Turner was born in 1906, the daughter of Alfred and Esther Sneddon. She grew up in the Tamworth district with a younger sister.

    She was educated in bush schools in the area and gained a bursary as a boarder at a Dominican high school. It was during this time that the nuns gave her a thorough grounding in, and appreciation of literature, art and music.

    Further Education

    With honours in her Leaving Certificate, Huldah was awarded an Exhibition to do medicine at Sydney University. Unfortunately her monetary situation prevented her pursuing it. Instead she studied Arts, which included among other subjects, philosophy, oriental religion and psychology. She was one of the few women to gain a degree from Sydney University in the 1920s. She obtained her Dip Ed and received her masters degree with a thesis on James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. She also gained a Licentiate Art of Speech. A copy of her thesis was kindly donated by her family and is held in Cultural Collections.


    It was while she was studying Finnegans Wake that she was employed as a teacher at North Sydney Girls’ High School. She taught a range of subjects which included Art, Latin, Music, Maths, Cultural Geography, French and PE. She also served as a Teacher/Librarian, School counsellor and Careers Advisor.

    Throughout her career Huldah was disadvantaged for being a woman. Men were moved or promoted over her and received more pay. She couldn’t marry or she would have lost her job.

    Professional Positions

    Eventually she was recognized for her integrity and excellence. She became subject mistress at North Sydney Girls’ High School. Later she joined the staff at Newcastle Teachers’ college. Huldah was the first woman in NSW to become Vice Principal and Acting Principal of a teachers’ College. She was also the first woman on the Council of the University of Newcastle.

    Joe and Huldah Turner

    Joe and Huldah Turner

    Married life

    At the age of 52 Huldah married Joseph Turner, a widower with four children. They were married for 41 years. During their travels throughout Australia she was inspired to write poems  which were published in a book in 1997.

    Huldah was a fine violinist and played chamber music in Newcastle for many years. She was a foundation member of one of the earliest book clubs established in the city. She mastered skills in screen-printing, pottery, sketching, needlework and knitting.

    Huldah Turner passed away on 30 March 2006.


    2006. Pioneer scholar brought joys of Joyce to many. Sydney Morning Herald 16 June

    Timeline 2: Teachers College to CAE

    50th Anniversary of University Education in Newcastle: 1951-2001

    Timeline 2: Newcastle Teachers College Newcastle College Of Advanced Education Hunter Institute Of Higher Education

    In a nutshell:

    1. Newcastle Teachers College (1949 – 1974)
    2. Newcastle College of Advanced Education (1974 – 1988)
    3. Hunter Institute of Higher Education (1988 -1989)
    4. Amalgamation with University of Newcastle (1989)

    The Hunter Institute of Higher Education was a multidiscipline tertiary institute catering to the demands for higher education in the Newcastle and Hunter Valley Region. The Institute was declared a corporate college of advanced education by the Minister for Education on October 1, 1974 and was governed by a Council established under the Colleges of Advanced Education Act (1975) of New South Wales. The Institute achieved full corporate status upon the gazettal of its Bylaw on February 25th, 1977 and the reconstitution of its Council from April 1, 1977.

    The Institute was originally established in 1949 as the Newcastle Teachers’ College and became known as the Newcastle College of Advanced Education when declared a corporate college in October 1974. Following Ministerial approval, the institution became known as the Hunter Institute of Higher Education on January 1, 1988.

    Teacher education still played an important role for the Institute but in the 13 years prior to 1989 had seen an expansion into the areas of visual arts, paramedical and community welfare studies, nursing and administration and technological studies. In the total complex there were art studios; craft rooms; science, woodwork, metalwork, and materials science laboratories; geography, history and social science rooms; home science, cooking and food science laboratories; needlework and textiles rooms, mathematics lecture and computer rooms; music rooms; music practice rooms; general lecture rooms and theatres; a Physical Education complex incorporating two fully equipped gymnasia, a dance studio, health studio, change rooms and lecture facilities, with adjacent courts and playing fields; sound studio; photographic rooms; and cafeteria. The Library consisted of a single floor reading room, including study areas, offices, typing rooms, stacks and catalogues; and a second lower floor which includes an audio-visual teaching aids resources centre, tape recording rooms, visual education rooms, a language laboratory and extensive storage space for films, cassettes and records. In 1988 the Institute had a student enrolment of 4,300, an academic equivalent full-time staff establishment of 237 in 14 departments and a general staff establishment of 283. The Institute’s vocational courses were offered through four Schools; the School of Administration and Technology, the School of Health, the School of Education and Humanities and the School of Visual and Performing Arts. A Council of members drawn from the community, the staff and the students governed the Institute.

    February 28th 1949

    Newcastle Teachers’ College established in temporary premises in Newcastle Technical College at Broadmeadow. Foundation Principal Griffith Hammond Duncan, staff of 13 lecturers and 181 students known as the “Pioneer Session”.

    Pioneer Session

    March 15th 1950

    College officially opened by Rt Hon R.J. Heffron NSW Minister for Education.


    Official opening

    Students go on strike over allowances 1952 College moved to pre-fabricated aluminium units in Union Street Cooks Hill.

    Kevin Gosper in 1951

    Kevin Gosper in 1951




    From the Altjiringa Annual: Magazine of the Newcastle Teachers’ College Vol.5 No.8 1953:56:

    Newcastle Teachers’ College has a “ghost” – Joe Fanatamy, a student who ever existed. The legend arose at the start of a college year when a teacher who was new to a group of students called the roll. On it was a smudge where a name had been obliterated, but was added further down the roll. She asked what the smudge stood for, and a student quickly thought up a fictitious name, Joe Fanatamy. After that whenever she called the roll one of the men students answered to Fanatamy. On occasions when it was dangerous to do so Fanatamy was “sick”. It was not till the end of the term that she discovered that Fanatamy did not exist. He then became the college “ghost.” Whenever anything was lost or mislaid it was Joe Fanatamy’s fault. Last night his name even intruded into a folk song. In an “Evening of Music” by the College at the Newcastle Technical High School’s assembly hall, much to the delight of the students.

    Secondary teacher training introduced.


    Student enrolments had grown to 800 and number of lecturers to 46.



    Stage 1 of Waratah West campus completed and occupied by 1971.


    College was declared a corporate college of advanced education and so named the Newcastle College of Advanced Education or NCAE, opened by the Governor General of NSW Sir Roden Cutler on November 23rd 1974.


    Griffith Duncan, Foundation Principal retires on March 26th.

    Grif Duncan and Mr Gibbs

    26th March 1975
    Naming of Griffith Duncan Theatre. Mr Griffith H. Duncan receives Honorary Fellow from Mr L. Gibbs, Chairman of Council.


    February 4th Principal Edward Richardson welcomed.


    In June third principal appointed Dr Douglas Huxley.


    College changes name to Hunter Institute of Higher Education. Students number 4,300 and staff number 600. Foundation Principal Grif Duncan dies and ‘White Paper’ on higher education signals amalgamation with University Newcastle.


    Amalgamation with University of Newcastle and Newcastle Branch of the Conservatorium of Music.