Media Release

Newsroom Releases 2018 February JT opens John Grey Hall at JCU

Sun, 18 Feb 2018
JT opens John Grey Hall at JCU
John Grey and Johnathan Thurston shaking hands in front of John Grey Hall
Photographer: Dominic Chaplin

Rugby League legend and JCU Honorary Doctor, Dr Johnathan Thurston, did the honours today – officially opening the new student accommodation at James Cook University in Cairns. The building, with accommodation for 300 students in its first stage, has been named the John Grey Hall of Residence in honour of former Chancellor Lt Gen Dr John Grey (Rtd) AC.

Lt Gen Dr Grey was Chancellor of JCU for 17 years – from 1999 to 2016. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University in 2016, in recognition of his exceptional and exemplary service to JCU.

“At the end of his official role at JCU, John told me his one regret was that we hadn’t managed to finalise on-campus accommodation in Cairns in his time,” Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said.  “We are so very grateful for John’s many years of service to JCU in an official capacity, as well as his ongoing support. He has put his stamp on the University and this campus in so many ways, it’s a great pleasure to know that his contribution will be recognized in a way that will be visible to and enjoyed by all students now and in the future.”

Johnathan Thurston was awarded one of the University’s highest honours, an Honorary Doctor of Lettersin 2015, in recognition of his outstanding community service, including his tireless efforts to encourage young Indigenous Australians to pursue education.

“I’m committed to using my profile to promote education to our young people,” Dr Thurston said.  “When JCU acknowledged my off-field work it was General Grey, as Chancellor, who presented my Honorary Doctorate, so I'm glad to be able to return the favour today and declare the John Grey Hall open. “I have the upmost respect for everyone who undertakes further education, and I can see what a difference this Hall of Residence will make to people who have to live away from home to study. I wish everyone who stays here the greatest success in their studies.”

Current JCU Chancellor, Bill Tweddell, said on-campus accommodation offered students many advantages. “For international students, and those who relocate to Cairns from elsewhere in Queensland and across Australia, this is an opportunity to live in a supportive environment on a beautiful campus, just minutes from classes and the library,” he said.

“It’s a great pleasure to honour Lt Gen Dr Grey in this way, given his many years of dedicated service to our University and his passionate commitment to building on-campus accommodation in Cairns.”

The John Grey Hall of Residence was designed by Wilson Architects and built by ADCO Constructions. The $40 M project provides rooms for 300 students, and has the capacity to extend to beyond 1,000 beds as the campus grows. The first residents moved into the John Grey Hall of Residence on Friday (16 February) just in time for the beginning of classes on Monday (19 February).

The seven-storey, octagonal building offers residents a choice of studio apartments, shared apartments with en suite bathrooms, and six-bedroom apartments with shared bathrooms.

Information on the John Grey Hall of Residence is available at