Alumni share their favourite Kuring-gai memories

Join us for our farewell event in November

2 September 2015

We’ve been busy preparing for our ‘Goodbye Kuring-gai’ reunion event for Kuring-gai alumni on Saturday 7 November – and have had an great response from our call out for alumni to share their campus memories!

With the upcoming closure of the Kuring-gai campus at the end of 2015 and consolidation of learning and research at UTS’s city campus, staff and former students are invited to attend a day of celebrations to say farewell to the much loved leafy Lindfield-based campus.

Register now to attend our
‘Goodbye Kuring-gai’ reunion celebration on Saturday 7 November

This day will feature faculty-specific activities throughout the afternoon, bringing together classmates and staff from Kuring-gai’s education, nursing, library studies, business and law faculties, as well as from two of UTS’s founding institutions – the Kuring-gai College of Advanced Education (KCAE) and William Balmain College.

A special event to mark the 30th anniversary of UTS’s Nursing School is another important part of the events. UTS’s reputation for nursing excellence has strong foundations at the Kuring-gai campus, following the creation of UTS’s former Faculty of Nursing (now the Faculty of Health) in 1990, through the merger of Schools of Nursing at KCAE and NSWIT, both originally established in 1984, and has graduated nearly 10,000 nursing students.

Nursing alumni: Don’t miss our special celebration to mark the 30th Anniversary of Nursing!

From possums to poetry 

Alumni from across a range of fields, faculties and graduating years responded to the call to share some of their favourite campus memories ahead of the farewell event.

The beauty of Kuring-gai’s bush campus and its “exquisite location” was remembered by many graduates who warmly recalled the green foliage and proliferation of wildlife outside the classroom walls.

“My fondest memories are those where I had the opportunity and privilege to study in such a magnificent natural setting,” recalls alumna Louise Murray. “In particular, in the subject Outdoor Education, I recall composing a poem as a group about a ‘tree wedged between a rock’ – I still have this poem after more than 25 years!”

“The dense, lush, mesmeric landscape in and around the campus, the teeming wildlife, the fresh aroma of the bush after the rain, the beautiful views from the outdoor tea area, the forever lovely staff members in the canteen, the helpful and very approachable staff at the student centre,” says alumnus Simon Grant.

“I’ll never forget a little possum curling itself up by the footpath, sleeping its time away during the day. Where would you find such a thing, where animals happily share the space with humans?” Grant adds.

Former UTS Vice Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Tony Blake AM, who oversaw the amalgamation with UTS in 1990 as KCAE’s last Principal, also recalls a charismatic resident magpie who would frequent his office.

“Often, I would have guests for lunch – whether it was a local politician or whoever…  After lunch, a magpie would come to pick up the crumbs off the floor. And so we became quite matey, the magpie and I. I don’t know if it was the same magpie every time – but it was certainly one bolder than the others,” he said.
It could have perhaps been one of the same magpies that alumnus David Bell remembers: “On the days there was no lunchtime beer bingo, I would eat outside near the bush and share my lunch with the magpies.”

Classes and camaraderie

In his five years studying education at Kuring-gai, Bell also recalls the collegiate atmosphere on campus, and the dedication of the teaching staff.
“They were the best and most challenging years yet most rewarding years of my life. Coming from a small country town I never imagined becoming a uni student, but UTS gave me the chance to do so. 

“While at UTS I felt it was the most mentally developing part of my life and I grew into a much better person. I will forever cherish that moment. 

“It all happened at Kuring-gai so that is why it is very special to me.”

Many alumni mentioned the inspirational guidance of the teachers at tutors across the Law, Tourism, Education and Nursing faculties.

In particular, alumna Louise Murray remembers the indelible impression that tourism and recreation lecturer Bruce Hayllar made on her during her degree.

“Bruce Hayllar changed my life. I learnt about trust, team work, problem solving, communication, but most of all I learnt the most I have ever learnt about myself. I was never really ready for what he had in store for us but his programs and processes moved me along when I was ready to digest them. What an amazing teacher,” she says.

And of course – love it or hate it – no reminiscences of Kuring-gai would be complete without reference to “that bloody green carpet”.

What do you remember about Kuring-gai? Did you have a favourite teacher or class? Why was the  campus special to you? Share your memories with us!

Memory lane: Share your favourite Kuring-gai memories!


We’d love to include your photos from your time at Kuring-gai during our farewell celebrations. There are several ways you can share your photos – email them to with a brief description, or if you’re feeling social, feel free to share them on Twitter, Instagram or on our UTS Alumni Facebook page, using the hashtag #GoodbyeKuringgai.

Our library colleagues have already started and are also welcoming contributions – check out their gallery of snaps on Flickr – from library tours, graduations, campus picnic, protests and more - you might even recognise yourself, or some of your fellow classmates!

Spread the word!

Hearkening back to the days of typewriters and calculating machines means we don’t have the email addresses or contact details for many of our alumni! Help us find former Kuring-gai students who may have lost touch and would be interested in being a part of our farewell by sharing this story, and encouraging them to keep in touch.

Alumni from KCAE and William Balmain Teachers’ College can also apply to be a part of our UTS:Origins network, recognising UTS’s many antecedent institutions that can be traced back as far as 1833.

Get involved!

If you’re interested in finding out more about how to get involved in our ‘farewell to Kuring-gai’ activities, or joining our Kuring-gai alumni network, please contact the UTS Alumni office.