Made up of 3 collegiate communities, Basser, Goldstein & Philip Baxter, being part of The Kensington Colleges (TKC) is being part of the rich history of UNSW.
Following the establishment of the University’s Kensington campus in the early 1950s, there was a growing need for residential colleges to provide academic & personal support, intellectual engagement as well as a range of social, sporting and cultural activities.
And so, in 1957, construction began on Basser College.
Funded largely by Sir Adolf Basser, a Polish migrant, optician, jeweller and philanthropist, the College was designed by Professor Neville Anderson of the School of Architecture and opened in 1959.
The first Master of the College was Dr Malcolm McKay, previously Minister of Scots Church, Sydney, who later became Minister for the Navy in the McMahon government.
In the early 1960s, Kensington Colleges Ltd was established to administer and receive newly available Commonwealth government funds. Dr George Wheen was appointed Master of The Kensington Colleges in 1964.
1964 also saw the opening of Goldstein College, named after philanthropist Philip Goldstein. The College included a separate dining hall (to be used by all Kensington College residents), designed by E.H. Farmer and assisted by Peter Hall (who later succeeded Joern Utzon as supervising architect for the construction of the Sydney Opera House). The dining hall won the prestigious Sulman Award for architecture in 1965.
The first Warden was Miss Lillian Livingstone.
A sculpture of 6 figures, designed by noted Australian sculptor Bert Flugelman also stands in the Goldstein courtyard.
The largest of The Kensington Colleges, Philip Baxter, was opened in 1966 and named after the University’s first Vice-Chancellor.
The first Warden was Professor E.P. George.
The Kensington Colleges have been home to a number of distinguished alumni, including former Vice-Chancellor, John Niland and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Chris Fell (Basser); former Deputy Chancellor, Jessica Milner-Davis and Scientia Professor Robert Clark (Goldstein); and Rhodes Scholar, Elizabeth Stone and former Rugby Wallabies Captain, Simon Poidevin (Philip Baxter).
In 1998 Kensington Colleges Ltd was dissolved and UNSW assumed direct management of the Colleges.
The re-development and expansion of the Colleges took place between 2011 to 2013 and the new facilities were opened to much acclaim in early 2014.
The expanded Kensington Colleges welcomed 3 sister colleges - Colombo House, named in acknowledgment of the pioneering student residents who made their home in Basser College under the Colombo Plan in the 1950s and 1960s; Fig Tree Hall, a destination residence for a diverse group of students nationally and internationally seeking male and female only floors and an alcohol free environment; and UNSW Hall (previously the Philip Baxter facility).