The College is named after the former Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Ernest Henry Burgmann. The vision the founders had for the College was of a community where young people of all faiths could live and study together, in a spirit of diversity, individual growth and mutual respect.
Ecumenical and community leaders from all over Australia helped bring Burgmann College into existence - it was not just a Canberra affair, but a national enterprise tailored for a national university.
The original Master Plan for Burgmann College, set out in 1967, envisaged facilities for 500 residents, including a multi-denominational chapel and common support areas. Funds at the time, though, only permitted construction of two of the original four planned accommodation wings, and the chapel was not built until 2006.
The first residents arrived in early 1971 despite the building not being complete. By mid-1971 the College was fully occupied, and was officially opened on 31 July 1971 by the Hon. David Fairbairn, Minister for Education and Science.
In 2003 construction began on the Postgraduate Village with the first residents moving in at the start of the 2004 academic year. The Postgraduate Village features a unique village street setting with six residential buildings accommodating approximately 110 residents in a mixture of studio, two, three and five bedroom apartments. The second stage of the development included a multi-denominational Chapel and Café, tutorial rooms, computer room, music room, BRA (Burgmann Residents Association) room, and the College’s maintenance workshop.
The College currently accommodates approximately 350 undergraduate and postgraduate ANU students from many social and cultural backgrounds in a splendid campus setting. Residency is open to all, regardless of faith.
Since Burgmann College opened its doors in 1971, it has been home for over 7,800 students pursuing many and varied academic disciplines. Many of the scores of talented young people who have called Burgmann College home have been high achievers, and have gone on to become esteemed community leaders, eminent citizens, and prominent social role models across Australia and around the world. Diplomats, politicians, judges, lawyers, scientists, activists, journalists, teachers, healers, clergy, to name just a few – whatever their chosen walk of life, Burgmann College alumni consistently rank among the top in their fields.
The College has a reputation second to none for providing more than just accommodation. For over four decades Burgmann has welcomed young people through its doors with a safe, supportive residential environment, and a rich and vibrant community coloured by a unique, distinctive background of College tradition. It is this successful combination of pastoral care, academic support, tradition and heritage that have made Burgmann College one of the most popular student residences on the ANU campus, a place to launch lives and careers and to have fun.