The Kingswood campus was originally a dairy farm owned by the Fielding family, the allocation of which went back to colonial land grants. Later developments included a vineyard complex running up a hill with two houses on it.
The site was listed by the State Planning Authority as early as 1968 as a 'Tertiary Education Precinct' embracing a possible College of Advanced Education, TAFE, proposed University site, State Archives and Army stores.
The land was resumed in 1971, a planning committee was established in 1973, and contracts for site works let later that year. On 1 March 1973, Kingswood College of Advanced Education (CAE) came into brief existence, before being merged with Westmead Teachers College to form Nepean College of Advanced Education (CAE) on 5 November 1973. Founding Principal, John Flak picked his way among the building sites to take up residence in one of the (now vacant) houses, bringing with him the first of the administration. The $8 million airconditioned red-brick main building with library, teaching facilities, staff and student amenities, was finally completed in 1977 and opened by Sir Roden Cutler on 24 June, by which time Business Studies courses had commenced at Westmead under Canadian, Jim Walker. In time, this would require the introduction of computing, and by evolution, to IT studies and the computerisation of College functions (a Computer centre was established at Westmead in 1980). This was in contrast to Campbelltown, where computing emerged out of Education. With accommodation available, much of administration and the teacher education program relocated from Westmead to Kingswood, in time for the first Nepean CAE Open Day on 29 October 1977. In common with most UWS campuses, there remained a serious lack of convocation space – in consequence, the first Nepean CAE graduation was held on 8 May 1978 at Bankstown Town Hall.
Kingswood suffered from the same downturn in national teacher education places as all other former teachers colleges – the difference was that, from the beginning, the Minister's Planning Committee, and later the Council of Nepean CAE, had planned for disciplinary expansion. By the time John Flak retired in February 1980, Nepean was already making progress in this direction, adding a diploma in Visual and Performing Arts (or VPA, under Ron Dunsire) to Jim Walker's expanding Business programs. Ellice Swinbourne's impression upon taking up the Principal's position was still of a largely down-trodden Westmead campus and the 68 km Kingswood campus so free of structures that it did not take great imagination to 'picture the site as once being visited by the Dharug.' (Swinbourne, 2002, p. 20) Due to lack of built space on Kingswood, factory space was hired at Peachtree, 2km away, in order to cater for the growing numbers of VPA students, and 'minor works' funding was squeezed to construct a basic theatre arts studio/ workshop. In 1987, a dedicated theatre building was opened on the Kingswood campus. The availability of CTEC 'temporary development grants' (1982-1983) enabled the extension of business studies and a 'co-op' program in applied science (with NSWIT/ UTS) to Kingswood. The latter brought Dr Peter Leverett to Nepean on a secondment basis, who would stay with UWS over the longer term as a very distinguished scientist. In 1985, a similar program in Engineering was introduced. Their development as full programs when Nepean CAE joined UWS as a member in 1989 would create considerable pressure for new and specialist building stock. In the interim, the increasing numbers of students required new space for student amenity and services (such as Counselling, which from 1983 developed under Allen Barlow). This required close partnership with the Student Association, however, which – while producing new student facilities on both campuses, muddied the waters as to who owned what. This would lead to protracted debate in the early 2000s as the University sought to unify.
The long gap between new buildings on the Kingswood site saw a relative increase in maintenance costs – by 1984, the eight-year-old main building was leaking in wet weather. Given that the State projected absorption of 300 nurse trainees and 200 new marginally-funded expansion places, there was now additional State funding, while Federal representations as to the state of the buildings led to $5.3 million in new building funds for 1985. It was not before time – there were nearly twice as many students enrolled in 1986, when Swinbourne retired, as there were in 1981. This permitted the building of the 'Stage II' buildings: a new administration block (named under the new provisions in 1991 as the Hingston Building), a 250-seat theatre, and a science/ laboratory block (later named the Swinbourne Building). An announcement of a further $6m in 1985, for commencement in 1986, allowed the projection of 'Stage III'. The result of this expansion was the creation of a pipeline, which fed Nepean expectations that, under the projected support for a University in Western Sydney, there would continue to be extensive building on the Kingswood site into the foreseeable future. The principalship of Jillian Maling (from 1989 DVC and CEO of UWS Nepean) was thus dominated by plans for rapid expansion, given form in a massive site model which, when put together, was larger than any room then available on the Kingswood site. (This placed considerable tension on relationships between the federation's partners between 1989 and 1994, as Nepean continued to absorb a considerable amount of the total capital grants won for the University.) The contributions of 'pioneers' were celebrated in 1991 with the naming of various buildings for early principals, but also Freda Whitlam and Ben Campbell, and of various roads or paths with the names Flak, Dunstan, Kearney, and Martin.
As federal funds dried up for construction on the Kingswood campus, the University turned to partnerships in order to find funding. The development of the Hockey Centre, for example, was first proposed as a partnership with the sport's State peak body. In 2001, UWS partnered with Nordoff-Robbins to create the country's only purpose-built music therapy facility. Commercial partners were brought in to help with the extension of residential facilities in 2010.
Recognition that Werrington North would not become a major centre for teaching has shifted the position of both Werrington South and Kingswood in the overall conceit of the Penrith campuses. The Ward library, for example, was no longer in an isolated centre awaiting infilling, but shifted from the centre to the eastern edge. By 2011, a new library was being designed for the Kingswood Campus, to be positioned along the main campus walk, adjacent to buildings V, P and U. Such a position would put the library back where John Ward, Colin Still, Jill Maling, Patricia Lahy and others had originally conceived it to be – at the centre of University life.