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 worldclass 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.