Fact or fabrication: how well do you know Griffith Uni?

Debra Cunningham at her graduation

How well do you really know Griffith University? Did you score well in our last fact or fabrication?

The Griffith Archive has given us another 10 statements about our uni – some are true, others are false. Reckon you can guess them all correctly? Give it a shot and let us know how you go!

1. Griffith University lobbied against Brisbane hosting the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
2. Sir Theodor Bray was the Chancellor at the University of Queensland before taking up the position of Griffith University’s foundation Chancellor.
3. The original Griffith University Student Council (GUUS) established in 1975 had a direct telephone line to and an open door arrangement with the Vice Chancellor.
4. Griffith was the first university in Australia to open Schools of Modern Asian Studies and Australian Environmental Studies.
5. The Griffith University ceremony to commence teaching held in March of 1975 was attended by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
6. During the Second World War, former Chancellor Sir Theodor Bray conducted an interview with famous American armed forces leader, General Douglas MacArthur.
7. Debra Cunningham was Griffith University’s first recipient of a Bachelor’s Degree award in 1978.
8. Oxford University in England was the blueprint used to establish Griffith University’s foundation policies and principles.
9. Sir Samuel Griffith was the first Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.
10. Peerless cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman was once offered an honorary doctorate by the Griffith University Council for his services to sport/cricket, which he subsequently declined.

1.False 2.False 3.True 4.True 5.False 6.True 7.True 8.False 9.True 10.True

For more interesting information on Griffith University and its history, check out the Griffith Archive website.

Kickin’ it old-school with poems


We’ve told you about the old Griffitti magazines that are now available on our Griffith Archive website. They’re full of interesting and insightful content. Including poems.

In fact, we’re thinking that Clive Palmer may have secretly gotten his poetic style inspiration from Griffitti. Only the poems published in Graffiti were deep, and not about Tim Tams.

The below poem, by Rowan Pryor published in Volume 1 No 5 of Griffitti, conveys nihilistic tones indicative of the generation.

Blast from the past with Griffitti


In the 21st century, a large amount of our communication is done via technology.

Even we, the library, communicate largely online. Along with face-to-face and over the phone help, we have email, chat, and webforms. Then there’s our library blog, Twitter, Facebook, the library website

All this seems so normal now; do you ever wonder how university students survived before this?

Like, to research for an assignment before computers, students actually had to come into the library and use physical catalogues (they were cards, in tiny draws). No crtl + f. Imagine the effort in researching for an assignment!

And ever wondered what the 1970s equivalent of memes and gifs were? I mean, how did university students convey humour before they could tag their friend in a facebook meme?

Well, if you’re keen to find out, back in the 1970s when there was no internet, Griffith had a student magazine – Griffitti.

The pages of Griffitti were filled with funny cartoons, poems, photos, humourous pieces, and general content on student, university and political activities and news. All indicative of a time of social consciousness, liberation, and rock ‘n roll: the 1970s.

Check out the entire collection of Griffitti magazines on the Griffith Archive website, and get a feel for life without technology (scary thought, isn’t it?).

Fact or fabrication: how well do you know Griffith Uni?

Olympic gold medalist Steven Bradbury

How well do you really know Griffith University? 

The Griffith Archive have given us 10 statements about our uni – some are true, others are false. Reckon you can guess them all correctly? Give it a shot and let us know how you go!

1. Griffith University was the second university to open in Queensland.
2. The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) was established by Griffith University in 1975.
3. The University’s namesake, Sir Samuel Griffith, was born in England before migrating to Australia.
4. Ms Leneen Forde, our former Griffith University Chancellor, was the first woman to be appointed Chancellor of an Australian University.
5. Sir Samuel Griffith was a founding father of a Federated Australia and the chief author of Australia’s constitution.
6. Sir Johannes “Joh” Bjelke-Petersen (former Queensland Premier) was appointed Griffith University’s first Vice Chancellor in 1973.
7. Griffith University’s Interim Council (later Griffith Council) began in 1971 with no women on the committee.
8. Former Australian winter Olympics and world champion speed skater Steven Bradbury was once a student of Griffith University.
9. Griffith University was originally a campus of the University of Queensland.
10. Former Griffith University Vice Chancellor Professor John Willett was a decorated navy pilot during the Second World War and played a part in the bombing and subsequent sinking of the famous German battleship, Bismarck.

1. False 2. True 3. False 4. False 5. True 6. False 7. False 8. True 9. False 10. True 

For more interesting information on Griffith University and its history, check out the Griffith Archive website.

Did you know Katie Noonan was a Con Artist?

Australian vocal stars, including Katie Noonan, returned to the Queensland Conservatorium
to take to the stage alongside the Con Artists in 2014.

It’s true!  Singer, and former Griffith student, Katie Noonan was once a member of the Conservatorium’s show piece student jazz band, the Con Artists.

Internationally renowned jazz musician, John Hoffman was employed by the Conservatorium in 1995 to start a Griffith University ‘big band’.

The band was established to provide an opportunity for aspiring Griffith jazz musicians and composers to ‘work’ in a band by collaborating and then publicly performing.

There was some ‘tinkering’ with the name of this ensemble. However, it doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate how the name the Con Artists came about and was eventually settled upon.

After establishing the initial band members and engaging in rehearsal, the band gave their first ever public performance in June of 1996.

Katie Noonan (think Aussie band George) is perhaps the most well-known former member of the Con Artists. Other former members include Megan Washington and Elly Hoyt. We also have two former band members working as lecturers at the Conservatorium – Head of Jazz, Dr Stephen Newcomb and Teacher, Kristin Berardi.

The Con Artists project continues to provide a platform where our music students can experience their first major public performance, first musical collaboration, and record their first CD. The Con Artists have released eight CD’s to date.

Twenty years on, the band is recognised as one of our country’s premiere university musical performance groups.

Check out the Griffith Archives slideshow about this unique Griffith mainstay. The display provides a chronology of the group including interviews with past and present members, live performance footage and some images.

Want more? You can borrow the Con Artists CD’s from Griffith University Library.

Have you seen the Griffith Mace?

The original Griffith University Ceremonial Mace.

The original Griffith University Ceremonial Mace.

No, we haven’t lost it! The Griffith University Ceremonial Mace is currently on display at the Nathan campus Library. Walk through the library front doors, look to your left, and you’ll see it laying majestically in a glass display cabinet.

It’s our original Griffith Mace. Fashioned in 1979, it was commissioned to be a symbol of prestige and authority for our university.

The Griffith Mace is made from timber (Queensland Beech tree) and is painted in the Griffith colours of the time – cornflower blue and red. The head of the Mace has five scholarly figures which are intended to represent things such as discovery, knowledge, enquiry and integrity.

As is the case with most ceremonial maces, it was intended to represent standing, prominence and distinction. Essentially, the Mace is a symbol of Griffith’s ‘authority and power’ as a university.

This rendering of the Griffith Mace was replaced in 2005 by a more contemporary design. Check out the photo on the Griffith Archive. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Maces have been around for centuries. Originally, the mace was a weapon but over time evolved into a ceremonial ornament used to represent governance, power and authority.

It was traditionally used by royalty (kings and queens) and ‘The Church’ as a symbol of their right to rule.

In time, universities also began to use maces. They mostly used them in a ceremonial capacity – adding the object to their coat of arms and having decorative maces made to symbolise their prestige and authority.

It is not known exactly when universities started using maces – but the University of St Andrews in Scotland has three ceremonial maces (kept on permanent display at the Museum of the University of St Andrews) that date back to the 15th century.

Doctor of the University, I presume?

What do Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Michael Lynagh and Greg Norman have in common?

If you guessed the three Australians were international sports stars – you would be correct.  This trio were the very best in the world at their chosen sport.

But they also share something else in common. They have all received Griffith University’s Doctor of the University award. This honorary doctorate has been awarded by Griffith since 1975, and not just to sporting greats.

Other recipients you may know include – Germaine Greer, Peter Garrett and General Peter Cosgrove.

The Griffith Archive is displaying a slideshow of the ‘lesser known’ recipients of this honorary distinction on their website. It shines a light on some interesting people who have been recognised by our university.

Perhaps they are not everyday names. Yet they have made significant contributions to communities within Australia and around the world.

You can view a profile on selected recipients as well as listen to their acceptance speech. Profiles include a Jewish holocaust survivor who went on to become one of the world’s great musical composers and the founder of the internationally renowned tourist draw card – Currumbin Bird Sanctuary.

Visit Griffith Archive’s YouTube channel to listen to acceptance speeches by some other Doctor of the University award recipients. The most watched speech to date is the one given by Barry Humphries (of Dame Edna Everage).

All the recipients have an interesting story to tell and really are extraordinary people. Some might say – they are ‘remarkable’…