History of the College
With the growth of public education in the 1870s and 80s, the Baptist community of Victoria dreamed of a college where young Australians could be trained for service in the churches of the growing nation. Thus, in 1891 William Whitley founded the first college for this purpose in Australasia, with just 6 students.
From these beginnings the College grew, developing a reputation as a place of high academic standards. Its graduates became significant leaders in the church and throughout many areas of Australian society.
In 1965, a new college was built, as a residential college of the University of Melbourne, with the name Whitley College. The College became co-educational and more international in its focus, now drawing a significant proportion of students from interstate and overseas. The West Wing of the College was added in 1974, which provided enhanced student facilities. A new library was opened in 2001.
Whitley College continues to operate as a theological school with a strong reputation for its academic focus. Leaders are trained for many areas of service in the community, not only the ordained ministry of the churches. This training includes youth workers, counselors and chaplains.
A new centre for theological studies was opened in 1989, the Mervyn Himbury Theological Studies Centre, and now Whitley has some 350 non-resident students involved in the Theological School’s diverse programs.