The Institute 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.
The Institute's Warrnambool Campus was originally the site of the towns judicial,
law enforcement, military and customs activities, with privately run day schools
also operating there from at least 1870. 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
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. Since then, training facilities
at Glenormiston (2006) and Sherwood Park (2007) have been established.
The Institute is rightly proud of its past and the historically and culturally significant
buildings that it utilises at the Warrnambool Campus. The
Warrnambool Court House (1870–71), Police Station Complex (1883–88), Customs House (1860), Orderly Room (1868)
and Police Residence (1880s) are of local and state significance and are listed
on the Victorian Heritage Register.