Our heritage

Our heritage

RMIT was established in 1887 as the Working Men’s College with the aim of bringing education to the working people of Melbourne.

RMIT building 80 lit up at night

RMIT was established in 1887 as the Working Men’s College with the aim of bringing education to the working people of Melbourne.

Our teaching, learning and research programs are continually updated so that students, staff and graduates are equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

At the same time, we have not forgotten our past as one of Australia’s original educational institutions, and we have remained true to our original philosophy.

Since 1887, our inner-city campus has been a vital part of the City of Melbourne, from the 1880s boom through world wars, the Great Depression and renewed prosperity during the second half of the 20th century.

RMIT was awarded royal patronage by Queen Elizabeth II for its educational service to the Commonwealth and contribution to the war effort, and RMIT remains the only higher education institution in Australia with the right to use the prefix “Royal” and the Monarchy's coat of arms.

During the 1990s, the institution gained university status and developed campuses in Bundoora and Brunswick in the city's northern suburbs, and later in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam.

In 2013, RMIT opened a research and industry collaboration centre in Barcelona, Spain.

With significant teaching partnerships in Asia and Europe, as well as research and industry partnerships on every continent, RMIT has a strong global presence.

For more about our history, see History of RMIT or the RMIT University family tree (PDF 130KB).

History of the RMIT logo

RMIT University's distinctive pixel logo has a long and proud story behind it. Meet the designers behind the original version and discover how the logo has evolved over the years. Watch the story of the RMIT pixel logo below.

Our name

After 95 years as Victoria's leading technological educator, RMIT was granted formal university status under the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Act 1992.

Since it was founded, RMIT University has been known as:

  • Working Men’s College (1887)
  • Melbourne Technical College (1934)
  • Royal Melbourne Technical College (1954)
  • Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (1960)
  • RMIT University (1992)

We have merged with several other educational institutions:

  • Melbourne Printing Trades School (1947)
  • Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy (1979)
  • Phillip Institute of Technology (1992)
  • Melbourne College of Decoration and Design (1993)
  • Melbourne College of Printing and Graphic Art (1997)
  • Melbourne Institute of Textiles (1999)

These institutions are now part of RMIT University.

Night view from across Latrobe Street looking East Building 1 1935. RMIT Archives Collection PH2.1.018.
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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

More information