Skip to content Skip to main navigation


Avani Terraces - Greenway
Life is looking up

Australian Catholic University

By Vic - 12 November 2009 31

Having worked for The Australian Catholic University in Watson for 4 years, I regularly encounter individuals who have never heard of it, and are astounded to learn that there is indeed, a third university in Canberra. (Not counting CIT)

Yes, it’s a real university, offering several varied course streams.

I’m wondering.. is it because of the type people I hang out with, or is it that the profile of the place has not been so pervasive?

I’d be keen to learn of the collective awareness of the place.

What’s Your opinion?

Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
31 Responses to
Australian Catholic University
nanzan 2:15 pm 13 Nov 09

Canberra by the way has 6 universities (or uni equivalents): ANU, UC, ACU, ADFA, CSU and AIHS – the Australian International Hotel School.

I think there was a post about this previously – I’ll see if I can find it.

deezagood 2:15 pm 13 Nov 09

Shame that UNSW@ADFA is branded only as creating customers for Mooseheads, as the vast majority of postgrads are international and local students with nothing at all to do with Defence. UNSW@ADFA is very strong in the sciences and history areas and offers excellent services and facilities to postgrad students (especially research students) – much better than many other universities. Further, the qualification comes from UNSW (not ‘ADFA’); one of Australia’s ‘Group of Eight’ universities.

nanzan 2:13 pm 13 Nov 09

An interesting thing about ACU is that it is the largest university in Australia by student numbers (across all its campuses of course – Brisbane, North Sydney, Strathfield, Canberra, Melbourne and Ballarat). So ACU is small here in Canberra, but big in total.

It offers an alternative to UC for those interested in nursing or early childhood education or primary education, which is valuable. It did offer a Grad Dip in Secondary Education for a while, but it seems to have stopped now.

I think it is also the only uni in Canberra with its own swimming pool – available to staff and students!!

I did a MA in Theology there…so I am biased, probably in more ways than one!!

anonymous gungahlian 2:00 pm 13 Nov 09

I knew it was there, it’s pretty small though so I don’t blame anyone if they have never heard of it. I go to school at Daramalan which is probably one of the largest schools in Canberra, but I still come across people who are unfamiliar of it. Oh and Vic, would you know roughly how many people attend the ACU, just so we have an idea of it’s size/population.

grunge_hippy 1:42 pm 13 Nov 09

i have heard its the soft option (i.e easy to get into) for those who didnt get into UC or ANU and their parents wont let them/cant afford for them go out of canberra but want to go to uni.

c9 1:41 pm 13 Nov 09

Too many universities in this country, too much replicated administration.

Overheard 1:37 pm 13 Nov 09

Hi Vic. It used to be called Signadou College and was pretty much (though not exclusively) a place where Catholics went to learn how to be teaches in Catholic schools.

Their charter has obviously changed over the years (was news to me — my vicarious association with the place goes back to 1985), but I believe they do some marketing, e.g. during the open day season in September (??).

But maybe for Old Canberrans like me (whose perceptions have not been updated in 24 years) they’re not aware of what they now offer and just remember it as…. I think it used to have a nickname.

During the ANU Bush Week in 1984, a scavenger hunt person nicked Signadou’s welcome mat. I was walking through the ANU forecourt with my sister (a Signadou student at the time) and she indignantly picked the mat up, tucked it under her arm, and returned it to its rightful place!

indigoid 1:19 pm 13 Nov 09

Vic said :

Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

Ahh yes, the mob that (somewhere in ’01-02 IIRC) replaced one of the Edmund Barton Building’s larger carparks, replaced it with a bizarrely shaped building of their own + carpark, and then put a boomgate at the entry to said carpark to stop anyone else using the almost always empty spaces in there. What a great bunch of people. *ahem*

Sure am glad I don’t work in EBB anymore. I did try buses for a good while but they really didn’t work out too well and significantly lengthened my working days.

Someone told me once that said the approval to build said Centre for Christianity and Culture was the direct result of a mutual-backscratching deal with Brian Harridine. Can anyone back that up?

Bosworth 12:49 pm 13 Nov 09

The only thing I know about ACU is that Greg Craven is vice chancellor, from this article:

p1 12:37 pm 13 Nov 09

I had never heard of it till I started showing some interest in Unis. Then it’s name pops up on all the openday type advertising. I would say that most Canberrans who have nothing to do with Unis would not know about it. They would only know of ANU & UC (and ADFA, but they would only associate that with providing customers for mooseheads, not being a uni).

I think it is simply a different type of uni. They only run a few “niche” courses, and attract enough people with targeted advertising to fill them. ANU & UC on the other hand work on the critical mass approach, get enough people knowing you exist and you’ll fill the places. Add to this the advertising of there bars, gigs, etc. I have never seen an ad for the ACU version of Stonefest.

Vic 11:58 am 13 Nov 09

Audacity: CSU Barton…Ah, you mean St Mark’s National Theological Centre and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Never thought of that as a University although it is a part of CSU. Fair enough.

ADFA…Yes you are right, funny, I have had no dealings with them at all.

Thanks for that, more learning for me.

Fiona: You got it mostly. They also provide courses in theology.

audacity of hope 11:06 am 13 Nov 09

Surprised that you have worked at ACU for 4 years and think there is only three universities in Canberra. What about Australian Defence Force Academy ( and Charles Sturt University at Barton ( Like ACU these universities have campuses elsewhere. ACU and CSU actually cooperate in theology education.

GardeningGirl 10:50 am 13 Nov 09

Yes, I’ve heard of it, but as said above I understood it to have a “limited range of courses” with a “Catholic vibe”.
It gets mentioned in the ads for the tertiary open day, as does ADFA, so how many are we up to now?

watto23 10:21 am 13 Nov 09

I knew they existed, but offer a limited range of courses. I also think that most students would have no need for a catholic university.

Fiona 10:07 am 13 Nov 09

It does education, nursing and social work as far as I was aware. With a bit of a catholic vibe. In that social workers have to either transfer in from another uni after starting arts or something, or do their first two years in theology if they want to start their training at ACU

What else do they offer?

1 2 3

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | |

Search across the site