South West TAFE has a long and proud history of providing technical and specialist education, with links back to the formation of the Mechanic’s Institute in 1853.
In 1913, the Warrnambool Technical School was established on the site and operated within the state education system. It became the Warrnambool Technical College in 1958, with the commencement of full diploma courses.
In 1969, the tertiary section of the Warrnambool Technical College became affiliated with the Victorian Institute of Colleges and became the Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education (WIAE).
The TAFE section separated from the WIAE in 1984 and became the Warrnambool College of Technical and Further Education (TAFE). The establishment of campuses at Hamilton and Portland prompted a name change in 1992, when it became known as the South West College of TAFE. Three years later (in 1995) the name by which the Institute is now known was adopted—South West Institute of TAFE.