Bowling alley or uni? Looking back at 50 years of classes at Macquarie


1967 will be remembered in the history books as the year Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared into the ocean forever during a swim at Chaviot Beach, but it also marks another important event: the very first lecture at Macquarie. Today, we’re celebrating this momentous 50 year anniversary by taking a look back at what a typical day in the life of a Macquarie student was like in 1967.

Lecture life
The very first lecture look place at 9am on March 6, 1967. Professor Peter Mason delivered the introductory physics course, Structure and Properties of Matter. Forget downloading lecture notes online – study notes were distributed on good ol’ fashioned paper.

Playing Pictionary
Professor John Croucher has fond memories of being among the first cohort of students at Macquarie. He remembers some definite resourcing challenges in those early days – like trying to undertake Introduction to Computing… but without a computer.

“The lecturer, poor old Harry Hancock, used to draw pictures on the blackboard of what a computer looked like if we had one,” he recalls.

“But every student there felt the pioneering spirit, that we were the first, spending three years having no idea whether you would get a job because the employers didn’t know anything about the University. It was a leap of faith.”

Wally’s… Tunnels?

thumbnail_59Before it became the tree-lined (and highly Instagrammable) landmark we stroll down daily, Wally’s Walk was actually just a tunnel, dug to convey services such as electricity, water, gas, data cables and cooling water between buildings.

The campus tunnels even made it to Hollywood – they were featured in scenes of the 1989 film The Punisher, based on the Marvel character of the same name. The underground tunnel networks are still accessible today beneath Wally’s Walk.

Mums’ club
Did you know that Macquarie’s first cohort of students included 150 mothers? Most of the mothers hailed from Sydney’s North Shore, and were able to fulfil their career ambitions that they otherwise put on hold to raise their young families, the norm at the time. Macquarie FTW!

Get social
With no Campus Hub, Muse or Mac Centre, there weren’t so many places for students to hang. And forget scheduling in your meet-ups on a smartphone – if you studied here in 1967, you would’ve bought the official university calendar for 50 cents.

Professor Croucher shared another great memory with us: “I remember people saying that [the University] was going to be eventually turned into a bowling alley.” We might be scoring strikes in our studies, but we’re still here!

Happy 50th anniversary to learning and teaching at Macquarie!





Back to homepage


Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

We encourage active and constructive debate through our comments section, but please remain respectful; you are part of a diverse community. You may wish to read Macquarie's Student Code of Conduct and the Public Comment Policy before you post.

Any comments deemed to be obscene, discriminatory or defamatory will be removed and where appropriate, further action may be taken.