The home of the UWS Hawkesbury Rugby is located in the picturesque surroundings of what is now known as the UWS Hawkesbury Campus. This campus was founded as Hawkesbury Agricultural College in 1891. The UWS Hawkesbury campus is in Richmond in the Hawkesbury River Valley north-west of Sydney. To reach the campus from the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) or airport typically takes around 80 minutes by car. On weekends and public holidays College Drive is closed and entry to the Campus is via Vines Drive, off Londonderry Road.
Hawkesbury Agricultural College was founded in 1891. Its early role was to provide agricultural education and research services to support the then growing Colony of N.S.W. The State Government allocated 1500 ha of crown land, knows as Ham Common, located between the historic towns of Windsor and Richmond, as the site for the College. The allocated land was actually quite poor and was covered with tea tree scrub and swamp areas. The Government optimists of the day indicated “ this is an ideal environment for educating farmers”, presumably on the basis that if they could successfully farm this land they could farm anywhere.
At the time of formation there were two potential sites being considered for the first Agricultural College in the colony. The other site included the land area we now know as Rookwood cemetery. Ham Common was finally preferred as it was connected to Sydney by rail. Hawkesbury Agricultural College started its life in two historic buildings located in downtown Richmond. The initial students did their academic work at either Toxana House or what is now known as the Snooty Fox (also know as Andrew Towns House) both located in Windsor Street Richmond.
The initial 1891 student enrolment was 26 male students. The College remained an all male and residential College up until as late as 1971 when the first female students were admitted. The College had remained as a small, specialised Agricultural College and student numbers had only grown to 285 over the College’s 80 years of existence. The College courses had expanded from agriculture to include dairy technology and food sciences. With the coming of the girls the College relaxed the requirement for students to be resident on campus.
The Campus today has a student enrolment of over 3000 students. The current academic profile of the Campus includes tourism, agriculture and horticulture, animal sciences, food technology, general sciences, nursing, forensic science, medical science, nanotechology, with courses offered at both undergraduate and post graduate levels. The Campus entrances have distinctive blue freestanding directories and information kiosks. Access to the campus during the week is either of the two main entrances, College Drive off Bourke Street, Richmond, and Vines Drive off Londonderry Road. On weekends access to the campus is only via the Londonderry Road entrance. Rugby has been an important part of the Campus history since the late 1890’s and is still played today on the main oval. Note the historic grandstand and the scoreboard, both painted in the Hawkesbury colours of blood and mustard.