University History

CQUniversity Australia has been on a phenomenal trajectory since 2009. Its remarkable growth in student numbers, new courses, new campuses, infrastructure and reputation, as well as its focus on research and social innovation, has seen the University emerge as one of Australia’s truly great Universities.

Originally founded in Rockhampton in 1967, it now has more than 30,000 students spread across 24 campuses and locations Australia-wide and is regarded within the sector as Australia’s most inclusive and engaged university.


1967 The Queensland Institute of Technology (Capricornia) (QITC) was founded in Rockhampton.
1971 QITC was transformed into the Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education (CIAE).
1974 CIAE became one of the first institutes in Australia to commence the delivery of distance study, becoming both a pioneer and leader in this area.
1978 CIAE expanded with the opening of a Gladstone campus.
1986 CIAE established education ventures in Singapore, Hong Kong and Fiji, the first of many international operations to come.
1987 CIAE continued to expand with the establishment of a campus in Mackay.
1988 A campus in Bundaberg was added to the growing network of CIAE delivery sites.
1989 A campus in Emerald was established.
1990 CIAE’s continued growth led to it being renamed the University College of Central Queensland.
1992 The University College of Central Queensland achieved full University status.
The new university appoints its inaugural Chancellor, the Hon. Stan Jones AO.

The University College of Central Queensland changes its name to Central Queensland University.

The University sets its sights on the growing international education sector and establishes its first metropolitan campus in Sydney, in partnership with C Management Services.

1996 Central Queensland University began delivering some of its courses in online mode.
Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music is established at the University’s Mackay campus.
1997 A second metropolitan campus is established in Melbourne.
1998 A Brisbane campus is established.
2001 The University establishes two new campuses in Noosa and at the Gold Coast.
2004 The University appoints its second Chancellor Mr Rennie Fritschy AM, following the retirement of the Hon. Stan Jones AO.
2008 The University rebrands as CQUniversity Australia.
CQUniversity takes over ownership of C Management Services.
2011 CQUniversity establishes a partnership with the Geraldton Universities Centre (GUC) in Western Australia and commences course delivery via the Centre.

CQUniversity acquires world-renowned research institute, the Appleton Institute in South Australia and establishes an Adelaide campus.

CQUniversity establishes its first distance education study centre in Cairns, to service growing numbers of online study students in Far North Queensland.

CQUniversity opens Stage 1 of a multi-million public access health clinic in Rockhampton to support its new allied health programs.

CQUniversity is recognised as performing “at”, “above” or “well above” world standard in four areas of research in the 2012 Australian Research Council (ARC) Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) results.


All C Management Services operations are incorporated into general university operations.

CQUniversity closes its Gold Coast campus.

CQUniversity establishes a distance education study hub in Cannonvale at the TAFE Queensland North campus.


CQUniversity and CQ TAFE merge, bringing together more than 125 years of combined experience in the delivery of education and training and establishing Queensland’s most comprehensive university.

CQUniversity establishes another North Queensland distance education study centre in Townsville and opens further study hubs in Charters Towers, Perth and Karratha.

CQUniversity establishes a partnership with the Cooma Universities Centre (CUC) in regional New South Wales and commences course delivery via the Centre


CQUniversity opens two new campuses in Cairns and Townsville following the success of the distance education study centres in each region and subsequent demand for on-campus program delivery.

The Rockhampton region is hit by Tropical Cyclone Marcia (a category five system) causing damage to both Rockhampton campuses and forcing their closure for one week.

CQUniversity opens Stage 2 of a $26 million Community Health Clinic in Rockhampton.

CQUniversity announces the establishment of three new research centres and institutes focused on future farming systems, networked systems and rail safety.

A new Centre for Tourism and Regional Growth is established at the CQUniversity Cairns campus to revitalise tourism and development opportunities in regional Australia.

The Commonwealth Government’s new Quality Indicators for Learning & Teaching (QILT) 2015 rankings showed the nation that CQUniversity is streets ahead of most other universities – including the prestigious “Group of Eight” members – on important measures like full-time graduate employment success, graduate median salaries, and student support.

CQUniversity achieves its best-ever ratings in the Commonwealth Government’s periodic assessment of Australia research. With the 2015 Excellence in Research Australia results showed that CQU was conducting research rated as “at”, “above”, “well above” world standard in many areas including Mathematics, Psychology, Nursing, Agriculture & VET Science, Environmental Science, Engineering, Medical & Health Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Public Health and Health Services.

CQUniversity was awarded five stars for inclusiveness, internationalisation and online/distance education by the QS Stars rating system.

CQUniversity is for the first time recognised among the top 600 universities in the World, by the prestigious Times Higher Education World Rankings (placing it among the top three per cent of universities worldwide).


CQUniversity opens a brand new $16.6 million engineering precinct at the Mackay Ooralea campus.

CQUniversity’s Chancellor Mr Rennie Fritschy AM retires and is succeeded by Mr John Abbott.

CQUniversity is for the first time recognised among the world’s top educational institutions by the international QS World University Rankings system.

CQUniversity is recognised as one of the world’s top 150 universities under 50 by Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

CQUniversity is recognised by QS World University Rankings as one of the world’s top 100 universities under 50.

CQUniversity improves its 2015 Times Higher Education World University Ranking by being recognised in the Top 500 universities worldwide.

CQUniversity is named as Australia’s first Changemaker Campus by the exclusive global social innovation group Ashoka U.


CQUniversity opens a new campus in the Perth CBD. The first campus outside of the East Coast Australia.

CQUniversity is recognised as one of the world’s top 100 young universities by both the Times Higher Education World Rankings and the QS World University Rankings.

CQUniversity opens a purpose-built engineering facility at the Bundaberg campus.

CQUniversity expands its presence in Western Australia by setting up a permanent home for its Busselton study hub.

2018Professor Nick Klomp is appointed as the Vice-Chancellor and President of CQUniversity.
2019CQUniversity established the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre in Gladstone.

From January 2020, CQUniversity achieved re-accreditation as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus, after being named Australia’s first-ever member at the end of 2016.

CQUniversity temporarily transitions all learning and teaching online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent national restrictions. A majority of staff also transition to work-from-home arrangements during the height of the pandemic. Online delivery continues through Terms 2 and 3.

Health advice and restrictions on gatherings force the cancellation of graduation ceremonies, leading CQUniversity to host its first ever virtual graduation ceremony.

The financial impact of the pandemic leads CQUniversity to announce the closure of the Sunshine Coast campus in Noosa and the Biloela and Yeppoon study centres.

The Hinkler AgTech Initiative and AgTech Hub at Bargara are launched, allowing researchers and producers in the Bundaberg region and beyond, to work together on innovative technological solutions for the agriculture industry.

CQUniversity launches an Australian-first First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy to increase the representation of First Nations peoples in postgraduate training programs in Australian universities.

CQUniversity formalises the establishment of the Regional Medical Pathway (RMP) with The University of Queensland, and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services. The Pathway will see students will complete a three-year Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course with CQUniversity, before moving into UQ’s four-year MD program which will both be offered in full in Bundaberg and Rockhampton.

CQUniversity opens a $12.5 million TAFE Trade Training Centre at the Gladstone Marina campus.