The Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment is the gateway to environmental resarch and teaching at the University of Newcastle. The Centre's vision is to hel

Mr Tom Farrell

Many of the major parks and reserves that are taken for granted today by the people of the Hunter might never have come into existence were it not for Mr Farrell and those whom he inspired with his indomitable energy.

  • Blackbutt Reserve
  • Mount Sugarloaf
  • Barrington Tops, and
  • Myall Lakes 

All of these were wrestled against great odds from reluctant authorities with the help of Tom Farrell's relentless insistence. Newcastle has borne many fine children, Tom Farrell was one of its finest.

(Obituary, The Newcastle Herald 29 July 1996 p.10).

Mr R.E. (Tom) Farrell (1904-1996), an "extraordinary powerhouse of a man", could be considered one of the founding fathers of the University of Newcastle.

  • He attended Cook's Hill Junior High School.
  • He accepted an appointment at the Newcastle Abattoirs in 1921. He remained an officer of the Newcastle Abattoir for 47 years, a qualified meat inspector and accountant and was appointed General Manager in February 1966. He retired in November 1968.
  • Tom exerted pressure on the NSW Government to establish a University College in Newcastle in 1951.
  • Later, he was instrumental in having the State Government acquire land at Shortland, thus opening the way for the University to move from the overcrowded site at Tighes Hill to the campus at Shortland.
  • During the 1930s, Tom and Joe Richley successfully lobbied New Lambton Council to have the area known as Blackbutt Reserve set aside as public recreation space.
  • Later, in the 1960s and early 1970s, he was prominent in the successful campaign to prevent a highway being built though Blackbutt Reserve.
  • In 1988 the University granted him an Honorary Master of Arts.

    Adapted from 'The Tom Farrell Papers' by Ross Edmunds and Gionni diGravio.