UNSW Sport is committed to delivering sports programs and experiences that engage and energise students, alumni and community members. From grass roots participation through to high performance clubs and athletes, we strive to make the university sporting experience highly inclusive and provide pathways to ongoing participation and excellence.


Sport has been a part of UNSW student life since the university began in 1949. While various teams, including rugby and cricket, competed under the banner of the university, the sporting culture really began to get into its stride with the establishment of the Sports Association in 1953.

The establishment of the Sports Association was one of the most controversial and momentous events in the history of the newly established university. The central issues in the debate, which lasted six months, were whether the Sports Association should be independent and separate from the Students’ Union and whether all students should pay an additional compulsory annual fee of 10 shillings to fund the Sports Association.

Three groups battled over this proposal – the Students’ Union, who wanted to maintain control over the sporting clubs; the representatives of the six foundation sports clubs, who wanted a separate Sports Association; and the large majority of students, part-timers who resented paying extra fees to suit the needs of the minority.

An interim committee established by the sporting clubs took a proposal to the University Council to establish an independent Sports Association and it became officially sanctioned on 8 December 1952.

The objectives of the Sports Association were set out as follows:

  • To encourage, foster, promote, develop, extend and govern amateur sport within the university;
  • To establish amateur sporting clubs within the university;
  • To co-ordinate, encourage, assist and support the sporting activities of the various constituent clubs and to represent them in sporting competitions, matches and relations both within the university and with other sporting organisations;
  • To provide and maintain grounds, playing fields, materials, equipment and other facilities for amateur sport within the university.

Class of '61

UNSW Sports Hall of Fame

The UNSW Sports Hall of Fame was launched in 2003 to honour UNSW students and staff, past or present, who have achieved success at the highest level of sporting competition or made a significant impact on community, country and/or the sporting world.

There are currently 23 members, with new inductees added annually.