REAL AUSTRALIA

Charles Sturt University celebrates its 30th birthday in NSW and the ACT

It was 30 years ago today ... no, nothing to do with The Beatles.
It was 30 years ago today ... no, nothing to do with The Beatles.

THIRTY years ago in Australia it was free to study at university (thanks to Gough), the pop music was made-up (thanks to Milli Vanilli) and climate change was not yet on our radar (no thanks to anyone!).

But the times, they were a-changin'.

Within two years, I moved off a Southern Riverina sheep farm to study journalism at far-flung, newly-formed Charles Sturt University at Bathurst in Central West NSW.

And if Bathurst seemed out of the way, the university gym was positively remote.

It was known as Siberia for both its placement on the campus and the minuscule mercury level within.

Fear not! Too-smart arts students knew better and stayed away.

As my LinkedIn profile will attest, I focused on other extracurricular activities: O Week Leader, Film Appreciation Club, Wine and Cheese Appreciation Club, Bathurst 1000 Appreciation Club (I sold T-shirts to over-appreciative revheads on Mount Panorama for three years running).

Today Charles Sturt University celebrates its 30th birthday.

ON AIR: Broadcast media students refine their craft at Charles Sturt University - Bathurst campus during the 1990s.

ON AIR: Broadcast media students refine their craft at Charles Sturt University - Bathurst campus during the 1990s.

Initially, Charles Sturt University had campuses in Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst and Wagga, but has since expanded to Canberra, Orange, Dubbo and Port Macquarie.

"Wiradjuri" was thrown into the mix as a "fantastic thing" for reconciliation.

Wiradjuri man, former NRL player and mental health advocate Joe Williams liked the idea to recognise his Aboriginal group whose lands range from Bathurst to Albury.

"Let's not forget those explorers that got to name everything they didn't explore by themselves," he said.

"Those 'explorers' would have died of starvation if Aboriginal people had not helped them get around."

Albury Charles Sturt University historian Associate Professor Bruce Pennay saw virtue in the Wiradjuri name but preferred Sturt, named after the explorer who traversed inland NSW in the 1820s and 1830s.

But the university ditched plans for a name change after public backlash, which included a 6000-strong online petition.

Undeterred, Charles Sturt University did part with some history this year.

A stylised Sturt Desert Pea was replaced with a shield divided into three parts, representing rivers, books, wheat and trees.

It was unveiled at the university's Wagga campus by vice-chancellor Andrew Vann.

"It suggests a strong sense of landscape, of Wiradjuri country," he said.

Then, just as we were feeling grateful for getting out of university without so much as a Facebook faux pas (on account of our vintage), Charles Sturt University this week unearthed decades of photos from its history. Go on, take a peek!

With school still in recess north of the NSW-Victorian border, any help for working parents trying to negotiate the holidays hustle is always welcome.

For grandparents covering care arrangements, you should suck this and see: Jackie French: What to do when life gives you lemons.

French has plenty of practical tips too like: "It is the duty of every grandma to wear a coat with large pockets."

Finally, Happy Birthday Charles Sturt University.

Thanks for the memories!

To party like it's 1989 check this out: about.csu.edu.au/our-university/history/foundation-day

Jodie Bruton, Journalist, The Border Mail

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