Australian Catholic University commenced operation on 1 January 1991 and has six campuses in Ballarat, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney (2). The University was formed by the amalgamation of four Catholic institutions of higher education in eastern Australia, and is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (Australian Catholic University Ltd).
The University had its origins in the mid-1800s when religious orders and institutes began preparing teachers, and later nurses, for Catholic institutions. Through a series of amalgamations, relocations, transfers of responsibilities, and diocesan initiatives, more than 20 historical entities have contributed to the creation of Australian Catholic University.
The University is a public university, open to all, and is a member of the Unified National System of Higher Education, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and the International Federation of Catholic Universities. The Vice-Chancellor is a member of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee.
The three foundation faculties are Arts and Sciences, Education, and Health Sciences.
In 2002 the University had 11604 students, 397 academic staff and 472 general staff.