History

About JCU History

Born of the traditional model of excellence in teaching and research, James Cook University has become a modern and dynamic university of truly global standing. Our graduates hold top-level positions around Australia and the world, and our research has earned us a world class reputation.

JCU is Queensland’s second oldest university. We offered our first courses in Townsville in 1961 as an annex of the University of Queensland. Since then we have become a dynamic, multi-campus university with a total of 17,500 students. Our main campuses are located in Townsville and Cairns, and we have international campuses in Singapore and Brisbane.

After a decade under the stewardship of the University of Queensland, JCU became a university in its own right on 20 April 1970. The proclamation was signed by Queen Elizabeth II at a special ceremony in Townsville, which took place 200 years, to the day, after the University’s namesake, explorer Captain James Cook, first sighted Australia.