Remediation work on the Boilerhouse to remove contaminants from its industrial bones is underway and will be completed by mid-2019. This phase is fully funded while the design and build phases are not.  Through hard work, generous donations and Government commitment, the next phases will proceed with a scheduled completion date of 2022.

We will retain the stories of our heritage in the UNE Boilerhouse Discovery Space, and emphasise the need in the 21st century for individuals to embrace the challenge and excitement of life-long learning and innovation in order to both successfully navigate and, more importantly, improve the word they inhabit.

The future

We have one chance to capture the historical significance, stories and potential of this structure while it is remediated, parts demolished and re-purposed to create an early childhood Discovery Space which will introduce young learners into the world of knowledge, ideas and problem solving through innovation.


The Boilerhouse will provide opportunities for our region’s children and families to access innovative, cultural and educational experiences in a fun, playful environment. UNE prides itself in being a regional university and providing educational opportunities outside of the major cities.  The UNE Boilerhouse Discovery Space will extend this reach and be a destination that encourages a love of learning from a young age. The impact of this will be realised for many years to come.

Your say

The UNE Boilerhouse is transforming into an innovative space, incorporating age-appropriate, research-led discovery experiences designed in consultation with UNE’s early childhood and science-based learning specialists and YOU! We are passionate about this project being driven by community, for community, and sustained by our regional people. You can help us to determine the look, feel, content and experiences of The Boilerhouse Discovery Space in the first phase of our community consultation by completing our online survey which will take approximately 10 minutes.

Our past

The buildings at UNE harbour and trigger memories and stories of Australia’s first regional university, a place where knowledge and philosophy was upheld and encouraged from 1938. The industrial structures are our connection to that hopeful past, where the vision of bold and innovative leaders created a place of education that continues to serve those who seek to transform their lives.

Through a regional lens, UNE grew and prospered, perched upon the tablelands in a temperate, but what often felt like a sub-alpine, climate. UNE’s success was dependent on its ability to heat the hearts, bodies and minds of its staff and students alike. From make-do fireplaces to industrial coal fired boilers, UNE’s history of heating and the construction of its academic campus Boilerhouse tells a fascinating story. Learn more through a brief historical timeline of the Boilerhouse’s main events.


The UNE Boilerhouse is being transformed. And we can’t do it without you. It will be an innovative space where the leaders of tomorrow are supported in their journey of growing curiosity, confidence, creativity and collaborative living; where science and languages are one in the same, and the physics of music fills the air; where we acknowledge that learning through self-directed play, trial, error and fun is our greatest gift of the moment; where the history of Australia’s oldest regional university is intertwined with its capacity for innovation, research and discovery.


Join UNE Discovery Project Leader, Dr Kirsti Abbott and Vice Chancellor and CEO Professor Annabelle Duncan at the Boilerhouse on campus at UNE, in Armidale NSW. The Boilerhouse is focused on play based learning, play based experiences that cultivate curiosity, creativity, collaboration, confidence and a can-do attitude.


The Boilerhouse is being photographed during every stage of its transformation. Local Armidale photographers, Terry Cooke, Simon Scott, David Waugh and Beth Macraild O’Loughlin have captured the building, inside and out, for historical, artistic and record-keeping purposes. Browse through our photo galleries and immerse yourself in the Boilerhouse through the eyes of our photographers.