Something Exceedingly Precious




Published Date: 01 Mar 2010

Presentation Date: 01 Mar 2010

File: Download File "RUC Part 1_ Ch1._3"

Event: Ridley University College: A very short history 1965-2010

 Ridley University College: A very short history 1965-2005

      by Audrey N Grant

Chapters 1-3 

‘Something exceedingly precious’ – these words by Dr Leon Morris resonate for generations of students and staff who have lived, studied and worked at Ridley College, University of Melbourne, between 1965 and 2005. ‘Something exceedingly precious’ certainly resonates for the many Ridleyans, who have accepted my invitation to contribute through individual interviews and written reflections and given generously of their time and experience, to become the research participants for this short history project. Taken together, their direct personal associations with Ridley as a residential college serving both theological and university students span from the early 1930s to 2005. Dr Morris was speaking of ‘what it means to belong to the University family’ during the first full year of Affiliation, 1966 – and of the privilege bestowed (by government Statute, December 1965) upon Ridley College, University of Melbourne. As the Principal (1964-1979) he shaped Ridley, Melbourne’s 10th Affiliate University College, over its initial fourteen years, imparting the vision of a ‘balanced’, ‘caring community’ enriched by ‘fruitful interplay’ between the two kinds of students Ridley College was founded to serve – the ‘theologs’ and the ‘seculars’.

A history of ‘Ridley University College’ has multiple chapters, told in this monograph as a story unfolding across three main parts. In Part 1, Chapters 1-3, the story traces the history of Ridley as a place of residence providing a home for both theological and university students from 1910 to its establishment as Melbourne’s 10th Affiliate University College, during the Morris era (1965-1979). Chapter 1, Prelude (1908-1963), follows on from an opening history lesson given in 1954 by former Principal Dr Barton Babbage (1953-1963) to an audience of three enterprising residential students. Chapter 2, Belonging: Ridley College, University of Melbourne – ‘A developing work’ – traces major Council initiatives and College developments during the early Morris years, 1964-1970, ‘a time…ripe for action’ – for launching Ridley’s five-year Appeal, building the Chapel, joining the University Intercollegiate family and expanding Ridley’s residential community, buildings and Avenue properties to meet the growing demands of a diverse student body. Chapter 3, Establishing Ridley University College in the 1970s, the later Morris period, begins with several significant turning points including provision for student representation, and for administrative and financial transformation with the appointment of the first Deputy Principal, Bishop Alfred Stanway (1971-75). Another first for Ridley’s University College -Going Co-Educational – ‘began in a small way’ late 1971, yet from early 1972 led ‘the social revolution of the 1970s’. Our diverse research participants introduce us to Ridley’s vibrant collegiate life; in Part 1 from 1964 to the Principal’s farewells in 1978/79, providing many clues about “the best years of your life”.


The above chapters have not been printed. The remainder of the book Proclaiming Christ: Ridley College Melbourne 1910-2010 can be purchased for $35 online from the Ridley Bookshopor by contacting ph: (03) 9207 4999 or



We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Ridley College campus is built.
Ridley College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS Provider Code 02650E.
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