History

Established in 1850, the University of Sydney is Australia’s first university and has a long history of links to China.

The University has taught Chinese language for more than half a century. Its high degree of scholarship on China across the sciences, humanities and social sciences demonstrates the level of priority for this vital relationship.

Research and collaboration with China has resulted in pioneering applications across many fields.  These range from radio astronomy with Professor Chris Christiansen’s work in helping China build the Miyun antenna array in the 1960s to the groundbreaking joint research now tackling global challenges in health and medicine, environment protection and sustainable development.

The early years saw the creation of the Sydney University China Education Society, following a study tour of China by University teaching staff in December 1972. Their visit coincided with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and China. It also marked the beginning of a new wave of education exchange.

In 1979, the first nine postgraduate students arrived at the University to study literature and linguistics, returning to China after graduation to establish six Australian studies centres. There are now 35 such centres across China, where many of Australia’s important literary and social works are being translated into Chinese and lively debates on Australia are held.

Today, the University is home to more than 12,000 students from China, with around 40,000 alumni living in China. Two way exchange of students and researchers is fundamental to the University’s internationalisation agenda. Each year hundreds of University of Sydney students study or undertake research at partner universities across China.

Forming linkages between Australian and Chinese students, researchers and scientists, as well as inter-university collaborations and partnerships, is pivotal to the work of the Centre in China based in Suzhou.

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