Postcard image of the original buildings c. 1910
Framed by impressive entrance gates, a beautiful tree-lined avenue leads from Bourke Street, Richmond, New South Wales to the original buildings of The Hawkesbury Agricultural College (HAC) which was established in 1891 on about 4,000 acres (over 1,500 ha) of vacant land on Ham Common. The college was founded by the newly formed NSW Department of Agriculture to provide an agricultural education and practical training for enterprising youths of the state with an initial intake of twenty-six male students.
The curriculum gradually expanded over the years to include a broad range of agricultural pursuits such as poultry farming, dairying, animal husbandry, apiary and horticulture and became an important agricultural research facility. Prior to the erection of the permanent buildings on the site in 1895, the college rented premises for the accommodation of staff and students in the town including Toxana House and Andrew Town House in Windsor Street. Several streets in the Hobartville subdivision of the 1960s were named after principals of the college such as Valder, Southee and Potts.
HAC also played an important role in the provision of services to Richmond. From 1915 until 1934 electricity for the town was drawn from the power generator at the college. Water to supply the college, RAAF Base and the town was also pumped from the college’s River Farm on the bank of Hawkesbury River. The college became a College of Advanced Education in 1972 and a campus of the University of Western Sydney in 1989. Since that time the educational emphasis of the campus has changed however much of the history of the agricultural college including photographs and student records has been preserved in the university archives. The facility is now known as Western Sydney University.
The principals of Hawkesbury Agricultural College, Richmond were: John Low Thompson (1891-1897), George Valder (1897-1902), Henry William Potts (1902-1920), Ethelbert Ambrook Southee (1921-1954), Harry R. Richardson (1954-1961) and Bernard Doman (1961-1971). Dr. Graham Swain was principal from 1972 until 1988, when the college became the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury Campus and was its chief executive until his retirement in 1993.
Farm machinery on display at Hawkesbury Agricultural College c. 1950s.
Stable Square, Western Sydney University formerly Hawkesbury Agricultural College. Cathy McHardy 2017
Stable Square was designed by architect Walter Liberty Vernon in 1896 to house the draught horses which werea necessary part of agricultural training courses offered at the college.
For further information on the campus including a self-guided tour see- http://www.hawkesburyharvest.com.au/imagesDB/member/UWS_Hawkesbury_Campus__TourV1%281%29.pd
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