Until the 1950s, most teacher preparation for the small State secondary education system was shared by the Melbourne Teachers' College and the adjacent University of Melbourne. After 1945 an explosion in demand led to a rapid increase in secondary teacher preparation.
In 1949 the Education Department introduced secondary studentships, which provided a living allowance and free tuition for a university degree and a Diploma of Education, establishing the Secondary Teachers' Training Centre in 1950 to administer these allowances and provide tutorial assistance. The principal, Alice Hoy, with three staff, was responsible for nearly 350 students, primitively housed in two prefabricated Bristol units in the university grounds.
The centre expanded rapidly and in 1953 became the Secondary Teachers' College, which in 1957 commenced its own three-year Trained Secondary Teachers Certificate (TSTC), for studentship holders who had failed at university. To house this expansion, a new building was erected on the Teachers' College campus. The first stage opened in 1959.
Miss Hoy was succeeded in 1958 by Doug McDonell, who expanded both the range of courses (including physical education and librarianship) and accommodation. McDonell fought to improve the college's status and recognition, particularly seeking acceptance of its courses as university-equivalent. Intense controversy arose because teacher unions and university authorities condemned college courses as second-rate, particularly after 1960, when the TSTC (later the four-year Higher Diploma of Teaching) was offered to school-leavers. Recognition came with the 1967 Bachelor of Science (Education), a combined course with the university, which from 1970 was accommodated in a new science education building. By then pressure was mounting to rationalise the facilities of the two teacher colleges, which amalgamated in 1972 to form the Melbourne College of Education.