General Access & Teaching Computer Facilities (GATCF)

General Access & Teaching Computer Facilities (GATCF) is primarily designed to enhance the teaching and learning goals for currently enrolled students and staff of James Cook University (JCU).  The facilities span 3 campuses encompassing Townsville, Cairns and Mackay, and include 866 desktop units in 35 individual facilities

Location & Availability

The Douglas (Townsville) and Cairns facilities are open to currently enrolled students and staff, please refer to General Access Labs Location & availability (GATCF) for details on lab locations, opening hours and AV equipment across campuses.


  • SOE definition and imaging: Between 12pm on the last business day of December and 10am on the first business day in the start of Orientation Week in February of the subsequent year, no facility is available. This downtime is to allow sufficient time for the development of an SOE and reimaging of all facilities in Townsville and Cairns.

  • Every second Friday between 6am and 9am on a JCU Staff pay week, students and staff may experience interrupted service as these days are used for Server and/or GATCF desktop maintenance.

  • During academic holidays, as identified by the Academic Calendar, a minimum of one GATCF facility is guaranteed to be available outside the SOE definition and imaging period identified above in Townsville and Cairns.

  • Summer break maintenance December/January. GATCF facilities will remain available, for general access in the Library building, during Library Opening Hours, on both Townsville and Cairns campuses as other facilities are upgraded.
    DA2 facility in Townsville and B1.030 in Cairns will also be available for 24 hour access except for the Christmas closure period. This area will be open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday with swipe card access outside those hours. All facilities will be closed from 12pm on the last business day of December, re-opening 9am on the first business day of the New Year.

Conditions of Use

Users of the GATCF facilities are bound generally by the ICT Acceptable Use Policy. In addition, the following conditions of use apply.

  • These facilities are provided for the completion of University course work or research only.

  • No eating, drinking or smoking within the facilities.

  • Activities which disturb others within these facilities are forbidden.

  • Only currently enrolled students or University staff are allowed in these facilities.

  • The University bears no responsibility for lost, damaged or stolen media, such as disks or USB devices, used in the facilities.

  • Backup of student files is the responsibility of that student.

  • Any system downtime for maintenance or closures will be posted on the Central Computing Bulletins pages.

Failure to comply with the above conditions may involve limiting the access of an individual to the facility for a period, withholding of exam results or exclusion from the facilities.

Using GATCF Computers

Following are some tips for making the best use of GATCF computers:

Request Software

To request additional software on GATCF computers, please use one of the following methods:

Self Service Portal

  • If you require assistance from the IT Help Desk your primary method for requesting support should be via the Self Service Portal. Staff should also have a “Service Management Suite” icon located on their desktops, which is a shortcut to this site.
    If you are unable to access the Self Service Portal then send an email to and a job request will be automatically created in ServiceNow.

Contact the IT Help Desk

  • Townsville +61 7 4781 5500 or extension 15500 (option 1)
    Cairns +61 7 4042 1777 or extension 21777 (option 1)

Standard Operating Environment

The Douglas, Cairns and Mackay campuses house a total of 23 General Access Teaching Computing facilities, including the Libraries in Townsville and Cairns. There are a total of 731 desktop units, of which there are 117 Macs and 614 Intel based PCs.

Only current staff and enrolled students have the right to use the computers located in the GATCF Labs. Students and staff are presented with a login box on the computers where they must enter their JCU Login-ID and password.

For a list of standard software installed on both Mac and PC computers in GATCF labs, refer to Standard Hardware & Software.


All facilities in Townsville and Cairns have telephones which allow internal calls only. The Security contact number in Townsville is 16000 and in Cairns, it is 21155.

All facilities in Townsville and Cairns are monitored by security cameras and door access requires a current student or staff card for entrance and exit.

For additional information on security please refer to Security on campus.

Reporting Faults

Please report all problems or faults with GATCF equipment via:

  • Phone extension 15500 to report the fault, or

  • Send E-mail to IT Help Desk

The following information is required when reporting problems:

  • Describe the problem

  • Room location

  • Identify the desktop unit position number if applicable - eg. DA2101P01 (usually located on the desk where the unit resides and also on the computer's monitor after login. There is also a room map located near the telephone which will indicate the computer position number.