The University of Newcastle, Australia

The biggest event on the calendar!

The Festival of Autonomy is a weeklong event packed with activities, exhibitions and live performances – all culminating in the Autonomy Party at Bar on the Hill.

Long-sought destiny

What lies at the heart of this legendary annual event?

The very first Autonomy Day was held on January 1, 1965.

Our University had opened in 1951, operating as “Newcastle University College of the New South Wales University of Technology”, in Tighes Hill.

But under the leadership of the likes of Professor JJ Auchmuty (he of library fame) and Professor Godfrey Tanner (he of bar fame), a push was made for the University of Newcastle to become independent.

Thus, after years of struggle and the hard work of students and staff alike, the Governor of New South Wales declared the University of Newcastle autonomous on that first day of 1965.

Professor Auchmuty was to be our first Vice-Chancellor, with our by-laws and motto written by Professor Brin Newton-John (father of Olivia).

Back to that first Autonomy Day, legend goes that Professor Tanner ceremonially poured wine on the land, as a bonfire was lit at the site of what would become the Great Hall.

“The flames of the fire symbolised both joy in the attainment of a long-sought destiny and also that confidence in the future which Auchmuty had communicated…”
- Don Wright, Looking Back: A History of the University of Newcastle

The students decided to move the celebrations to mid-year shortly after, but the spirit of that first Autonomy Day – a celebration of our past achievements and renewed determination for a bright future – still burns bright.

Learn more about the Festival of Autonomy with our historical timeline.

1970s_Auto

Selection of Events

With a full week of arts, entertainment and culture, this year's Festival of Autonomy promises to be bigger than ever!


Monday 5 August

  • Live Entertainment
    12pm, Auchmuty Courtyard 

    Enjoy some free live music from students of the University of Newcastle
  • Monday Movies by Moonlight
    6.30pm, Derkenne Courtyard

    Get your snacks ready for an open-air screening of Deadpool 2

Tuesday 6 August

  • Live Entertainment
    12pm, Auchmuty Courtyard 

    Enjoy some free live music from students of the University of Newcastle
  • Open Mic Comedy Competition
    11.45am, Godfrey Tanner Bar

    Come and test your funny bone at our inaugural Autonomy Festival Open Mic Comedy Competition where you have a chance to win the ‘Golden Microphone’. Students and staff welcome!
  • Uni Revue
    Doors from 6.15pm, Godfrey Tanner Bar

    The 2019 Uni Revue will have you howling with laughter as students unleash an original production of songs, jokes and razor-sharp satire. Scroll down to read more!

Wednesday 7 August

  • Free Lunch BBQ
    12pm, NeW Space

    Join us for good vibes on the Campus Green with a free lunch and club stalls
  • Live Entertainment
    12pm, Auchmuty Courtyard 

    Enjoy some free live music from students of the University of Newcastle
  • UON Community Garden: ‘How to garden inside'
    12pm, Oval 4

    A lot has changed in housing since 1965 so if you're one of the many students without a backyard, come along to this free gardening tutorial.
  • Uni Revue
    Doors from 6.15pm, Godfrey Tanner Bar

    The 2019 Uni Revue will have you howling with laughter as students unleash an original production of songs, jokes and razor-sharp satire. Scroll down to read more!

Thursday 8 August

  • Live Entertainment
    12pm, Auchmuty Courtyard 

    Enjoy some free live music from students of the University of Newcastle
  • Free Lunch BBQ
    12pm, Auchmuty Courtyard

    Join us for good vibes with a free lunch and club stalls
  • Uni Revue
    Doors from 6.15pm, Godfrey Tanner Bar

    The 2019 Uni Revue will have you howling with laughter as students unleash an original production of songs, jokes and razor-sharp satire. Scroll down to read more!

Friday 9 August

  • Autonomy Party
    7am - 4.30pm, Bar on the Hill

    The famed student party at Bar on the Hill starts with a free breakfast from 7am and features live music with a mix of local and student acts, bands and DJs and even a silent disco. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for guests.
  • Autonomy Carnival
    During Autonomy Party, Oval 4

    Partied out? Head over to Oval 4 for a huge range of free activities including carnival rides, live performances, market stalls, food and drinks. This is an alcohol-free zone, with plenty of spaces to relax.

Uni Revue

What is it?

The annual Uni Revue is an original sketch-comedy theatre production written and performed by University of Newcastle students, with professional direction this year by Amy Morris of Tantrum Youth Arts.

For the 2019 show, the venue has been changed from the Brennan Room to the more intimate Godfrey Tanner Bar, and will be featuring an original musical score written and performed live by Jesse Schadel and band. ‘Big Revue Energy’ takes a tongue-in-cheek look at important issues faced by young people today including (but not limited to): uni life, unpaid internships, student debt, climate change and pollution, work-life balance, and society’s strange obsession with serial killers.

Director: Amy Morris (Tantrum Theatre/UON Alumni)
Assistant Director: James McCaffrey
Stage Manager: Mikayla Calvert
Producers: The University of Newcastle, Hugh Gordon, and Lucy Page
Music: Jesse Schadel
Cast: Hope Maguire, Edward Ingle, Harry Su, Dominic Fitzgerald, Hugo Brennan, Jade Stevens, Broc Hardy, Liam Waterman, Dylan Delvescovo, James Wonderley and Alex Fry

Check the schedule above for show times!

revue

History of Autonomy

Courtesy of UON Library's Cultural Collections