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  • 1967

    Faculty of Military Studies

    Sir Rupert Myers on behalf of UNSW establishes the Faculty of Military Studies at the Royal Military College (RMC) at Duntroon to deliver degree programs in arts, science and engineering.

  • 1968

    First students

    New 1st year undergraduate students commence study at RMC.

  • 1971

    Sir Leslie Martin Prize

    In 1971 Duntroon established the Sir Leslie Martin Prize which has been awarded every year until 1985, and from then at ADFA since 1986. The prize is awarded for "distinguished performance by a First Year Officer Cadet in First Year Physics" from all programs.

  • 1971

    First graduates

    RMC Class of ’71 were the first Army graduates from UNSW.

  • 1972

    First postgraduates

    The Faculty of Military Studies enrolled its first postgraduate students.

  • 1974

    First PhD Mathematics graduate

    First PhD Mathematics graduate – Dr Neville John de Mestre who was a staff member of the Faculty of Military Studies.

  • 1974

    A single tertiary institution

    Federal Government announced its intention of establishing a single tertiary institution for the Australian Defence Force and sought the assistance of UNSW in setting up the institution to ensure academic integrity.

  • 1977

    University medal

    First Army student awarded the University Medal – Douglas John George (BE).

  • 1977

    Rhodes Scholarship

    Class of ’71 graduate Emery Stephen Severin (BSc Honours in Chemistry) is awarded a Rhodes Scholarship.

  • 1981

    Agreement signed

    Agreement signed between the Commonwealth and UNSW to establish a University College within the ambit of the proposed Australian Defence Force Academy.

  • 1981

    Commencement of work

    Formal commencement of work on the building of ADFA by the RT Honourable Malcolm Fraser, CM M.P. Prime Minister of Australia on 18 February 1981.

  • 1982

    First Academy Council

    Interim Academy Council set up to oversee the development of the Academy in cooperation with UNSW.

  • 1984

    Inaugural Rector

    Appointment of Professor Geoff Wilson as Inaugural Rector of the University College (previously Dean of Faculty of Military Studies, Duntroon).

  • 1984

    First Commandant

    Appointment of Rear Admiral Peter R. Sinclair as Commandant  - subsequently Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, then Governor of NSW

  • 1985

    Academy Council

    Academy Council was established

  • 1986


    Australian Defence Force Academy opened January 1986. RAAF College, Point Cook participates in ADFA.  New 1st year undergraduate students commence study at ADFA on 17 February 1986

  • 1986

    First females enrolled at ADFA

    The admission of cadets was one of the requirements the University posed on Defence when it agreed to create the University College (the forerunner of UNSW Canberra). On 17 January 1986, 351 new entry officers under training, including 52 women, arrived at the Academy site.

  • 1988

    First female PhD graduates

    First female PhD graduates – Dr Sandra Burchill, English and Wendy Rosemary Catchpole, Mathematics.

  • 1991

    Second Rector

    Appointment of Professor Harry Heseltine, AO as the second Rector of the University College.

  • 1992

    First Annual University Lecture

    Launch of an annual University Lecture. The inaugural lecture was delivered by The Hon. Kim Beazley MP, Minister for Employment, Education and Training (left-most in photo) with the lecture titled “The importance of strategic thinking”.

  • 1995

    Freedom of the City March

    Former ACT Chief Minister Kate Carnell with Major General Frank Hickling, ADFA Commandant, ADF personnel and UNSW Canberra academics.

  • 1996

    Third Rector

    Appointment of Professor John Richards, FTSE as the third Rector of the University College.

  • 1997

    First Award

    First female Army student awarded the University Medal – Belinda Elizabeth Scott (BA Honours in English).

  • 1999

    Fourth Rector

    Appointment of Professor Robert King as the fourth Rector of the University College.

  • 2001

    ADFA placed

    ADFA placed within Australian Defence College (ADC) command structure, with the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS) and the Australian Command and Staff College (ACSC).

  • 2003

    Commonwealth Agreement

    Agreement between the Commonwealth and UNSW for the provision of educational services at ADFA for the next 10 years.

  • 2003

    Academy Council discontinued

    Academy Council discontinued and the Australian Defence Force Academy Consultative Council established.

  • 2004

    Fifth Rector

    Appointment of Professor John Baird as the fifth Rector of the University College.

  • 2007

    New Command

    ADFA placed within Joint Education, Training and Warfare Command.

  • 2009

    New Agreement

    New agreement between the Commonwealth and UNSW for the provision of educational services at ADFA, until 2023.

  • 2009

    Consultative Council discontinued

    ADFA Consultative Council discontinued and ADFA Working Group established.

  • 2011

    Sixth Rector

    Appointment of Professor Michael Frater as the fifth Rector of the University College.