The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park (Under consideration) | NSW Environment & Heritage

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The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park (Under consideration)

Item details

Name of item: The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park (Under consideration)
Other name/s: Grose Farm, St Paul's College, St John's College, St Andrew's College, Women's College, Wesley College, Sancta Sophia College, University of Sydney
Type of item: Conservation Area
Group/Collection: Education
Category: University
Hectares (approx): 63
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT7035 DP1051257
LOT7046 DP1051316
LOT1 DP1124852
LOT2 DP1124852
LOT1 DP1131578
LOT1001 DP1159799
LOT1 DP1171804
LOT11 DP1171806
LOT12 DP1171806
LOT1 DP1171808
LOT2 DP1176958
LOT52 DP1194640
LOT101 DP1215953
LOT102 DP1215953
LOT1 DP130326
LOT2 DP130326
LOT3 DP130326
LOT1 DP137172
LOT1 DP179963
LOT1 DP179964
LOT1 DP185551
LOT552 DP752049
LOT1 DP89825

Boundary:

The study area extends from the intersection of Parramatta and City Roads towards the west, and is bounded by Carillon Avenue in the south and Missenden Road in the west. Excluding the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital site and an allotment on the corner of Parramatta and Missenden Roads.

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
City of SydneyLocal Government 
Sancta Sophia CollegeReligious Organisation 
St Andrew's CollegeReligious Organisation 
St John's CollegeReligious Organisation 
St Paul's CollegeReligious Organisation 
The Women's CollegeCommunity Group 
University of SydneyUniversity 
Wesley CollegeReligious Organisation 

Statement of significance:

The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park is of state historical significance, as a vestige of Governor Phillip's original 1,000 acres (404 ha) 'Kanguroo Ground' Crown reserve of 1790 and for its connection to the 18th century British government's approach to colonialism and its concept of 'terra nullius' as the foundation for dispossession of Aboriginal land in the immediate area of Sydney.

The cultural landscape is of state heritage significance for its ability to demonstrate activities of the colonial era (1792-1855) associated with Grose Farm, convict stockade, and female orphan school.

The University of Sydney is of state historical significance as the first and oldest university in Australia, dating from 1850. Reflecting in the cultural landscape changes in tertiary education, landscape design, institutional architecture, economic development and social attitudes; including pioneering university education for women in NSW (1881) and the establishment of the first university college for women in Australia, Women's College in 1892.

The cultural landscape is aesthetically significant at a state level reflecting directly the influence of E.T. Blacket (1850s), W.L.Vernon (1890s), W.B. Griffin (1910s), Professor L. Wilkinson (1920s) and the Government Architect's Office (1960s) in shaping the place. In particular, Blacket's location of the Great Hall and East Range of the Quadrangle (1854-1862) utilised the site's topography to provide a dramatic presentation of the University on approach from the city, a setting with planning axis that still remains.

The University of Sydney and Victoria Park as connected landscapes have tangible links to Charles Moore, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens (1848-1896) and subsequent designers using prevalent 19th century theories of landscape design, plant material and horticultural techniques.

The University grounds, more than any other site, reflect Professor Leslie Wilkinson 's work in beautifying and unifying buildings and their settings, along with major contributions to the planning and planting of gardens by Professor E. G. Waterhouse.

Victoria Park is a significant Victorian-era park dedicated in 1870. The park retains substantial components of its formative 19th-century planning and design, including the grand avenue linking City Road and the remaining original gate lodge to the tower of the Main Building of the University.

The provision of sport and leisure facilities across the site have contributing significantly to the retention of open space and green buffers between the built forms of the campus, and are important to the people of Sydney and NSW.

The Main Quadrangle Building, the Anderson Stuart Building and the Gate Lodges, together with St Paul's, St John's and St Andrew's Colleges, as a rare composition, comprise what is the most important group of Gothic and Tudor Revival style architecture in New South Wales and potentially Australia. Together they deliberately evoke the academic traditions and standards of Oxford and Cambridge, as expressed in the University motto ("Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato", meaning, "though the constellation has changed, the spirit remains the same."). The landscape and grounds features associated with these buildings, including Victoria Park, contribute to its values of civic virtue and support the existence and appreciation of their state aesthetic significance.

The University of Sydney holds significance for its role as a site for student activism during the 20th century. In particular, the 1965 Freedom Ride led by Charles Perkins, Vietnam War and conscription protests.

As a long-standing tertiary institution, the University of Sydney's association with eminent men and women who are its graduates, academics and chancellery demonstrates a major contribution to all aspects of Australian society and the nation's development.

The University of Sydney and University Colleges contain one of the densest collections of heraldic representations in NSW and Australia.

The place is of state heritage significance in demonstrating the aspirations of colonial Sydney to shape its own society, polity and ideals; which ultimately led to the establishment of the University of Sydney and University Colleges by Acts of Parliament in 1850 and 1854 respectively that created the university at Grose Farm.

The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park has been a major landmark of Sydney and NSW since its inception. It holds substantial social values and associations, and is held in high esteem for a range of affiliated communities and groups as an iconic place of historic, academic, cultural, sporting, recreational and social pursuits and events.

The intactness of the groupings of buildings and landscapes across the history of the development of the site represents a microcosm of the development of architectural design, town planning and landscape design in New South Wales and Australia.
Date significance updated: 16 Feb 16
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: E.T. Blacket (1850s); W.B. Griffin (1910s); Prof. L. Wilkinson (1920s); Government Architects Office
Construction years: 1855-
Physical description: The site is bounded by Parramatta Rd, City Rd, Carillon Ave and Missenden Rd, Camperdown (excluding land occupied/owned by Moore Theological College, Prince Alfred Hospital and St Joseph's Church).

The topography of the place is gently undulating. There is a ridge approximating the line of Eastern Avenue, and the land falls to the east and west away from the ridge. Prior to development, freshwater creeks and ponds formed in the eastern and western gullies off the ridgeline. These areas are (more-or-less) the location of recreational and open spaces.

The place displays the character of university use since the mid nineteenth century. The traditional campus' cultural landscape is an eclectic mix of buildings, open spaces, tree-lined avenues, internal streets and ornamental planting.

Major lawn areas are found in The Quadrangle (to the east of and within the Main Quadrangle Building), the Botany Lawn, the Hockey Square and the various oval and other playing fields such as tennis courts. They provide a strong element of the traditional campus form.

Victoria Park is an inner-city park that retains much of its 19th century 'picturesque' character, particularly the fine balance between massed elements (avenues of trees and plantations) and the resultant voids of open space and water elements.

The orientation of the Main Building, and the axis of the view up to it, established two of the most enduring aspects of the planning arrangement of the University, these being the prominence of the ridge, which became Eastern Avenue (north-south axis), and of the east-west axis that extends east along University Avenue and through Victoria Park, and west of the Main Quadrangle Building along Science Road. The axes evolved to include Manning and Physics Road (east-west) and Fisher Road and Western Avenue (north-south)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally the University and College's buildings and grounds are in fair to excellent condition. Victoria Park is maintained by the City of Sydney and is in fair to excellent condition.
Date condition updated:03 Nov 17
Modifications and dates: The cultural landscape is continually evolving.
Further information: With increasing development of the University and University Colleges the amount of open space has declined.
Current use: University education, student accommodation and recreation park inlcuding swimming pool .
Former use: Stock agistment, Grose Farm, convict stockade, and female orphan school. Designated land reserve (1789) for school, Crown and church purposes.

History

Historical notes: As the listing is for the cultural landscape, this history is focussed on land use and summarises its development, rather than the extensive history of the land, the university and its people, the colleges and the park.

The Camperdown and Darlington campuses of The University of Sydney were originally occupied by Aboriginal people of the Cadigal and/or Wangal clans. The freshwater sources and swamps within or in close proximity to the University grounds, west (Orphan School Creek) and east (Blackwattle Creek) of the Petersham Ridge, may have attracted occasional Aboriginal occupation. The area was heavily treed with several temperate rainforest species and a spring draining through to the swamps of Blackwattle Bay. What are now City Road and Parramatta Road followed existing aboriginal tracks, which were the only routes due to the topography and surrounding bush. There is remnant bushland in nearby Blackwattle Bay which retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

The study area was cleared farmland from 1789 until the mid nineteenth century when the university was founded. After this time the land-use consisted of university buildings, both for teaching and amenity whilst the land in the eastern area of the site being land set aside for park and garden, later being dedicated as Victoria Park.


Phase 1: 1788-1850: the study area was bush and cleared farmlands, with the university established on what had been Grose Farm, female orphan school and convict stockade.

1789-1792 Crown land known as the Kanguroo Ground set aside for church, crown and school usage and the "formation of a park and garden in connection therewith".
1792 Crown land leased to military officers including Lt-Gov Grose - activities included reforming labour of convicts
1794 Lieutenant Francis Grose sold his lease but the name Grose Farm stayed. Grose Farm developed as a 'model farm'
1801-1819 the Female Orphan School is the first recorded use of the site for teaching and learning.
1819 Convict accommodation and stockade built
1823 Reverted to Govt use - male orphans, viticulture, horse and cattle agistment - fencing off the Parramatta, Newtown, St Paul's and Missenden Roads.
1827 Deepening and widening of eastern rivulet and reservoir made near public road (Parramatta Road), fencing replaced by four-rail fence, Grose Farm set up as a model farm of agriculture and husbandry.
1830s part of Grose Farm was utilised as a stockade for convict road gangs.
by 1850s Farm buildings became obsolete and disappeared.


Phase 2: 1850-1880: Establishment of the University and Victoria Park. Construction of the Main Quadrangle building, St Paul's College, St John's College and St Andrew's College. Plantings from the Royal Botanic Gardens supplied 1860s-1880s. Gothic and Tudor Revival the featured architectural styles.

1850 The University of Sydney founded, evoking the academic traditions and standards of Oxford and Cambridge, as expressed in the University motto "Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato", meaning, "though the constellation has changed, the spirit remains the same".
1850s The course of Parramatta Road was altered and the cutting through which it now passes was created.
1850s Small grants were dedicated to the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church for purposes of schools, parsonage and presbytery,
1850s First plantings took place including Port Jackson Figs and pines in a large plantation stretching along Parramatta Road
1852 The University began its teaching in College Street, Sydney
1854 Edmund Blackett invited to design the buildings of the University of Sydney.
1855 126 acres of Grose Farm granted to the University of Sydney including land set aside for the 'formation of a park and garden in connection therewith'.
1855-1863 Great Hall and East Wing built on Petersham Ridge. The positioning of the building was a conscious statement of the importance of the University. The orientation of the Main Building, and the axis of the view up to it, established two of the most enduring aspects of the planning arrangement of the University, these being the prominence of the Petersham Ridge, which became Eastern Avenue, and of the east-west axis that extends east along what becomes Approach Avenue (University Avenue through Victoria Park), and west of the Main Quadrangle Building along what becomes Science Road.
1859 St Paul's College completed on eastern side of Grose Farm
1860 Nicholson Museum established in southern end of main building
1863 St John's College completed in the north-west near the corner of Parramatta and Missenden roads.
1863 8 acre strip of land between Parramatta Road and the 'park and garden' was added and dedicated as an Approach Reserve, to provide a formal axis to the University quadrangle with a triple avenue leading to the Main Building
1864-7 Plants from Royal Botanic Gardens despatched for the Approach Reserve.
1866 The Approach Reserve is granted to the University
1866 University Senate resolved that part of the University grounds be reserved temporarily as a cricket ground (First sporting clubs - 1863 football club, 1865 cricket club)
1870 23 acre Victoria Park was formerly dedicated and named
1873 Agreement ratified between the University and Wesleyan and Presbyterian bodies of the Prince Alfred Hospital for 11 acres of Grose Farm to be made available for the Hospital (built 1876-1882)
1876 St Andrew's College completed in the southwestern extremity of the University on the corner of Bligh Street (Carillon Avenue) and Missenden Road.


Phase 3: 1880-1910: The Anderson Stuart building was one of the first buildings to be built to the south of the Main Quadrangle building. The development of purpose-built facilities for professional subjects along Science Road. These developments either reinforced or extended the original Main Quadrangle Building alignment and architectural style. The City Road gates and lodge were erected in 1898. Gothic and Tudor Revival continue to be the featured architectural styles. The area to the east of what is now Eastern Avenue remained parkland. Further despatches of trees from Royal Botanic Gardens to the University.

1882 First female students admitted
1885 First formal design plan of Victoria Park - possibly by James Jones. Two lodges, for gardener and messenger were built, flanking the grand drive from Newton Road (City Road)
1885 Tennis club and first courts (within the Main Quadrangle - 1887 Ladies' Tennis Club)
1886 Grounds leased for cattle grazing levelled for football playing field (near the current Hockey Square)
1887 Macleay Museum erected to the north-west of the Great Hall (opening in 1891)
1887 Physics Laboratory completed on Science Road
1887 Victoria Park re-dedicated under Public Parks Act of 1884
1889 Anderson Stuart Medical School completed
1890 Chemistry Laboratory completed next to Physics Laboratory
1890 Cricket Oval No. 1 completed
1890s Road trenches dug for drainage, borders planted with shrubs from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Chancellor Manning's own garden, paling fences replaced with iron fences. The pond at the bottom of Victoria Park was turned into a large ornamental lake with a bridge across the lake to carry the entrance drive up to the main buildings. Moreton Bay and Port Jackson Fig trees were planted to line the lake.
1891 Decision made to extend to Ross St, formalising Science Road
1892 Victoria Park Bowling Club established with one green and clubhouse
1894 Women's College opened near Bligh St (Carillion Ave)
1895 School of Mines completed on Science Road (facing Parramatta Road)
1898 Gate lodge on Newtown Road (City Road) completed
1900 Milling Building for Metallurgy added to Science Road buildings
1903 Biology Building completed at the western end of the newly laid Science Road
1907 Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon to prepare a 'general survey of the whole university grounds showing proposed roadways and sites that could be used for future additional buildings or extensions of existing buildings including also portions of the grounds of St Paul's and St John's colleges at present unused.'
1909 Fisher Library completed on the south side of the main building (soon to become the Quadrangle)
1909 Engineering School completed on Science Rd


Phase 4: 1910-1940: An area roughly east of the line of Eastern Avenue, which had been part of Victoria Park, became part of the University's grounds, although the first buildings were not constructed on it until the late 1950s. The era is defined by building, re-designs and extensions by Vernon and McCrae (1900-1920) then Wilkinson (1920 -1945). Science Road becomes the main alignment for expansion, to be roughly paralleled by Manning and Physics Roads to the south. Blacket's visual axis between Main Quadrangle and St Paul's progressively lost, replaced with new visual axis by Wilkinson from St Paul's to Science Road. Wilkinson realises Vernon's aims to formalise Science Road alignment to which subsequent buildings were oriented. Wilkinson applied a Mediterranean inspired architectural style. The avenue through Victoria Park is reduced to a 'right of way'.

1910 A general plan for the development of the University grounds prepared by W. L. Vernon
1911 Management of Victoria Park given to Sydney City Council, works included; park planning, further plantings, establishment of a children's playground, extension of the bowling club and the introduction of park lighting.
1912 Veterinary Science School completed between the new Ross St entrance and St John's College
1912/16 Student's Union Building/Union Hall completed on Science Road
1913 A plan of the whole University 'showing existing and suggested future buildings in conjunction with the layout of the grounds' prepared by Government Architect George McRae
1913 First purpose-built sporting facilities built specifically for the use of women - three tennis courts east of the Main building
1915 Walter Burley Griffin presented a master plan for laying out the grounds, including sites for buildings, roads and areas for playing fields. While the scheme was not implemented it influenced later planners.
1916 Agricultural Science School completed on Science Road
1917 Vernon's plan was refined and re-drawn by Gorrie Blair
1917 Wesley College opened
1917 Manning House opened (Women's Union building)
1918 Completion of the Quadrangle south east range, cloisters running from the eastern tower, round the south range to the north end of the book stack and Nicholson gateway
1920 University Architect Leslie Wilkinson (with Engineer Madsen and Surveyor Craig) presents a general layout plan of the university to the Senate.
1921 Hockey Square ready for use
1922 Organic Chemistry Lecture Theatre completed
1924-6 The University exchanged 7 3/4 acres of lake and main drive with the Council of Sydney for 9 acres of Victoria Park in the Eastern Avenue area
1924 Completion of the Main Quadrangle north and western ranges including western tower and book stack
1925 Teachers' College officially opened
1925 Parramatta Road widened, causing the loss of mature fig trees and changes to the Derwent St entrance
1925 Physics Building completed - first building on the now Physics Road
1925/6 Alignment of roads and planting of shrubs for beautifying areas of the campus, creation of 'courts' including Vice Chancellor's Quadrangle (by Profs Madsen and Waterhouse)
1926 Sancta Sophia College opened
1927 The avenue through Victoria Park was formally reduced to a right of way
1928 War Memorial Carillon installed in the tower and inaugurated on ANZAC Day
1929 McMaster Laboratory built near Veterinary Science facing Parramatta Road
1930 School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine building completed on corner of Physics Road and Fisher Road
1930s Extensive remodelling of Victoria Park including the lake, lawns, pathways, plantings, filling in of small pond (near current swimming pool), removal of iron railing surrounding the Park and creation of fence between the park and the University
1932 Additional/changed sporting facilities completed including, Oval No. 2, and the Hockey Square area; hockey fields, Women's Sports Pavilion, and tennis courts
1933 New Medical School completed next to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
1939 Messenger's Lodge demolished. New entrance gate and two storey lodge built on Parramatta Road, City Road entrance gates and gateposts were removed and relocated to City Road/Eastern Avenue entry. With the remodelling and removal of the gates the main vista from City Road to Main Quadrangle was diminished.


Phase 5: 1940-1960: Need to accommodate massive increase in post-war student enrolments. This period saw major expansion of faculties with building extensions and a future development plan developed. Western side of Eastern Avenue formalised with the construction of Madsen Building (1944) and new Chemistry Building (1958). The introduction of modern architectural style to university buildings is markedly different from those used before the WWII.

1944 Madsen Building completed for CSIR(O) on ridge south of Main Quadrangle (on what will become Eastern Avenue and near what will become City Road entrance)
1944 Completion of modifications to School of Engineering (reinforced concrete with bricks walls and sandstone cladding o blend with existing facades) for aeronautics.
1946 Wallace Theatre opened, construction of temporary or 'transient' buildings to cope with the influx of post-war enrolments.
1948 Agriculture Building and Economics Faculty completed
1953 Isabel Fidler Memorial Garden dedicated
1955 Victoria Park Swimming Pool (King George VI) opened. First in-ground public swimming pool in Sydney. Victoria Park lake was reduced and bridge demolished
1958 War Memorial and Science Road Bridge completed
1958 new Chemistry Building completed on Eastern Avenue
1959 Griffith Taylor Building (Arts) completed near the south of Main Quadrangle


Phase 6: 1960-1990: Eastern side of Eastern Avenue formalised with the construction of Fisher Library (1962), Carslaw Building (1965) and Fisher Library stack (1971), precincts formalised, expansion and alteration of faculty facilities and major re-orientation of the campus with expansion to newly acquired Darlington land. Further use of modern architectural style.

1950s&60s Landscaping, gardens and trees lost during expansion of construction activity. New gardens along Eastern Avenue represent change in style from earlier gardens.
1960 Mungo McCallum Building (Arts) completed near the south of Main Quadrangle
1960s Bosch Theatre and Bosch Building (Medical) completed
1960s Victoria Park Lawn Bowls club house replaced, dominating the City Road section of the Park
1961 University Site Development plans presented with formation of functional precincts, landscaping with pedestrian precedence over vehicles.
1961 Edgeworth David Building (Geology and Geophysics) completed on Eastern Avenue
1962 Fisher Library and Stephen Roberts Theatre completed
1963 Construction of the Western Tower and extension of cloisters in the Main Quadrangle
1964 Victoria Park lake re-named Lake Northam
1965 Carslaw Building completed
1967 Christopher Brennan Building (Arts) completed the Arts faculty link between Griffith Taylor and Mungo McCallum buildings
1968 Chancellors Garden opened next to Fisher Library
1971 Fisher Stack completed
1970s Eastern Avenue became the University's main thoroughfare (instead of Science Road)
1970s Victoria Park plantings modified and flower beds reduced
1972 Womens Sports Centre (stage 2) completed


Phase 7: 1990- present: A period of consolidation then major expansion and development of the campus and Park. Restoration of the Approach Avenue including City Road entrance gates, Gardener's lodge, and Lake Northam, though Science Road/St Paul's historical axis compromised. The commencement of contemporary architectural style.

1990 Strategic Plan (Conybeare Morrison & Partners) presented to the University for guiding development, identifying heritage buildings and integrating Camperdown and Darlington Campuses.
1990s South Sydney City Council restored the main avenue in Victoria Park as a pedestrian path with a bridge over an enlarged Lake Northam and new garden beds
1991 new Education Building completed adjacent to Teacher's College inhibiting earlier 'axis' concept of campus design.
1992 Draft Plan of Management for Victoria Park (revised 1993)
1993 University of Sydney Landscape Master Plan by Conybeare Morrison & Partners
1998 Veterinary Conference Building completed
1998 Victoria Park Lawn Bowls clubhouse removed
2002 Feasibility study Campus 2010 + Building for the Future Program presented and approved by Senate.
2002 The University of Sydney Grounds Conservation Plan presented a holistic campus-wide policy guiding conservation and management.
2002 Works completed to reinstate the main avenue vista from City Road through Victoria Park to the university grounds.
2003 Campus Planning Strategy introduces concepts of community impacts and organisational goals to development and infrastructure.
2003 Victoria Park Lawn Bowls greens removed and returfed
2007 Original entrance gates, which had been moved to Eastern Avenue reinstated at the City Road end of the old entrance avenue. Gardeners Lodge refurbished.
2008 Campus 2020 Masterplan (Cox Architects) addresses current and future research & teaching needs, traffic management, heritage buildings, restoration of green space, visual and pedestrian linkages and precinct development.
2010 new Law Building completed on Eastern Avenue
2010 Victoria Park playground upgrade completed
2012 Gardener's Lodge restored and refurbished as cafe.
2014 Charles Perkins Centre opens - first major research facility in 40 years - on land given by St John's College.
2015 - present Colleges (St John's, Santa Sophia, Women's, St Paul's) expanding with additional residences and facilities
2016 The University undertakes a large capital works program with the aim of revitalising the campus and providing more office, teaching and student space, including program to remove 'temporary' and 'transient' buildings.
2016 Australian Institute of Nanoscience opens behind Physics Building
2017 Construction of 3 new buildings (FASS building on Parramatta Road/Science Road, LEES1 Building and Administration Building on Eastern Avenue at City Road entrance)
2017 Victoria Park works including new paths, lighting, seating, signage, recreation space and refurbishing of Lake Northam commenced

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Public (tertiary) education-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park is of state significance for its historical connection that dates back to the foundation of the colony. The site encompasses a portion of the original 1000 acre (404.685 ha) 'Kanguroo Ground' reserved by Governor Arthur Phillip in August 1790. Inclusive of timbered land, prominent ridges, and valleys with fresh water sources, this tract of land was designated for church (400 acres), Crown (400 acres) and school (200 acres) usage. The site is a vestige of the latter two areas.
The later leasing of the part of this land to military officers (Grose Farm) and its use for agistment, agricultural experimentation, farming education, a stockade for convicts and establishment of a female orphan school provides an understanding of the cultural history of the local area.

The University of Sydney is of state significance as the oldest university in Australia used continuously for university purposes and created within a few years of the foundation of university education in Australia. The buildings, grounds layout, and features demonstrate major changes in tertiary education, public building planning and design, landscape and streetscape design, and social attitudes to institutions over that period.
A key aspect of the heritage significance of the University grounds is the continuity of planning, development and use from the first buildings in the early 1850s to the present time. Despite expansion and infill development, many planning axes, alignments and building groupings established progressively through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries remain as prominent and defining features of the University.

The site is of state heritage significance for its continuity of provision of sporting and leisure facilities to the people of Sydney and NSW. Sport also has been an important factor in University student life and in the use of the University grounds. The sporting facilities at the University contributed significantly to the retention of open space and green buffers between the built forms of the campus.

The site has held socially and nationally significant sporting events such as horse racing (pre and post university), rugby football (oldest club in Australia), cricket, tennis and hockey (including inter-state and international matches) and Sydney's first in-ground public pool (King George VI, Victoria Park).
Victoria Park has been a place of continuous children's play & leisure activities for over 130 years, with a playground being a feature of the Park since 1912.

The Camperdown campus is of state heritage significance for pioneering tertiary education for women in NSW. In 1881 the University of Sydney Senate decided unanimously to admit women to the University on equal terms with men, thus being the first university in NSW to admit female students (1882). In 1892 the Women's College opened as the first university college for women in NSW and Australia. The second university college for women in NSW, Sancta Sophia College opened in 1925 as a residential college for Catholic Women.
The arrival of women to the university greatly influenced the development of the University, its recreational and sporting facilities.

The site is of state significance as the primary location of student movements of the 1960s and 70s. The University of Sydney's Student Action for Aborigines (SAFA), led by Aboriginal student activist Charles Perkins, organised a bus tour of rural towns in northern New South Wales from 12 to 26 February 1965, departing from the University. The Freedom Rides drew attention to inadequacies in Aboriginal housing and living conditions and instances of racial segregation in rural towns and thus supported Aboriginal people in challenging the status quo.
After the introduction of conscription for military service in 1965 the University of Sydney became a rallying point for anti-conscription demonstrations and protests, with the Front Lawn the scene of mass rallies of unprecedented size. Many of the anti-war movement rallies began at the University before marching into the city centre, including 10,000 marching down Broadway to attend Moratorium 1 on 8 May 1970.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park has state significance for its association with a large number of notable people who were involved in the development and expansion of the University, its lands, the buildings, landscape and grounds. These include the initial land owners, those responsible for and involved in the initial establishment of the University as an institution, and the architects and designers who have designed and constructed the principal buildings and landscapes throughout each campus and developed the master plans for the place.

As a long-standing tertiary institution, there are necessarily a large number of people who have been associated with the place that are of importance, not only in NSW or Australia, but potentially worldwide. In particular, there are many academics, former students and chancellors that have contributed to the fields of science, history, politics, medicine and health, the arts, business, engineering and law, who have strong associations with the place.

In regard to the University of Sydney as an historic cultural landscape, there are a number of people who were involved in the initial establishment and subsequent development of the University and so have strong associations with the place. These include the following:

PERSON - ASSOCIATION/CONTRIBUTION
Governor Arthur Phillip - Reserved part of 'Kanguroo Ground' for future church, Crown and school usage (1790).

Lieutenant Governor Francis Grose - Original leaseholder (1792)

William Charles Wentworth - Member of the Legislative Council who initiated the formation of the University of Sydney (1849), Great Hall and East range (1855) and St Pauls College (first stage 1857) Legislative Council

Edward William Terrick Hamilton - First Chancellor of the University (1851-1854)

Sir Charles Nicholson - First Vice Chancellor of the University (1851-1853)

The Rev. John Woolley - First Principal of the University, appointed to the Chair of Classics and Logic (1852-1866)

The Rev. William Binnington Boyce, The Hon. Edward Broadhurst, Sir John Bayley Darvall, The Rt. Rev. Charles Henry Davis, The Hon Sir Edward Deas Thomson (Also an original trustee of Victoria Park 1870), Alfred Robert Denison, The Hon. Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson, Edward Hamilton, The Hon. James Macarthur, The Hon. Francis Lewis Shaw Merewether, Sir Charles Nicholson, Bartholomew O'Brien, The Rev. William Purves, His Honour Sir Roger Therry, The Hon. William Charles Wentworth - Original 16 members of the Senate appointed by proclamation of the Governor. (1851)

Edmund Blacket (former NSW Colonial Architect) - First architect for the University of Sydney and responsible for the core buildings the Quadrangle Building. (1854-62)

Charles Moore - First Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens - responsible for the design of the plantings in Victoria Park and University Place in front of Quadrangle (1880)

James Barnet (NSW Government Architect) - Architect for the University of Sydney and part of the Anderson Stuart Building. (1883-92)

Edmund Barton - Graduate of the University, Senate member and Member of the NSW Parliament, representing the seat of the University of Sydney (1879-80). Later, Prime Minister of Australia

Walter Liberty Vernon (NSW Government Architect) - Architect for the University of Sydney and responsible for the first whole of site plan for the place.

George McRae (NSW Government Architect) - Architect for the University, developed a plan for the whole of the place (1914), resulting in the formalising and development of Science Road.

Walter Burley Griffin - Architect who developed a whole of site plan for the University focussing on landscape and visual and planning axes. (1915)

Leslie Wilkinson - First chair of the Faculty of Architecture and architect for the University of Sydney whose campus plan (1920) further developed Griffin's ideas for the place, many aspects of which survive today. Also integrated a diversity of buildings in Science Road.

Eben Gowrie Waterhouse - A linguist, landscape designer and international camellia expert, Waterhouse worked in collaboration with Wilkinson. The pursuit of beauty, a guiding Interwar philosophy, informed their selection and placement of courtyard planting schemes, street tree avenue planting and character trees. (1920s-1930s)

Mary Elizabeth Brown and Isola Florence Thompson - The first women to enrol (1882) at and graduate (1885) from the University of Sydney

Helen Phillips, Jane Foss Russell, Isabel Fidler - The Tutors to Women Students: (Phillips, 1891-92) (Russell, 1892-99) (Fidler, 1899-1939) The position was established to assist women students in adapting to university life.

Charles Perkins - a key member of the University of Sydney Student Action for Aborigines that was formed in 1964 to organise the Freedom Ride and was the first university student body in New South Wales dedicated to support Aboriginal rights. Perkins was the first Aboriginal person to head an Australian government department.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park is of state significance for a number of fine examples of architecture and landscape design. These aesthetic values relate to:

The Main Quadrangle Building, Anderson Stuart Building, and Gate Lodges, together with St Paul's College, St John's College and St Andrew's College, comprise what is arguably the most important group of Gothic and Tudor Revival style architecture in Australia, and the landscape and grounds features associated with these buildings, including Victoria Park, contribute to and support the existence and appreciation of their architectural qualities and aesthetic significance;

The cultural landscape reflecting directly the influence of E.T. Blacket (1850s), W.L.Vernon (1890s), W.B. Griffin (1910s), Professor L. Wilkinson (1920s) and the Government Architect's Office (1960s) in shaping the place. In particular, Blacket's location of the Great Hall and East Range of the Quadrangle (1854-1862) utilised the site's topography to provide a dramatic presentation of the University on approach from the city, a setting with planning axis that still remains. The site retains many of Blacket's and Wilkinson's planned spatial relationships between the buildings experienced via views, vistas, planned and visual axes as well as roads and paths, along with Wilkinson and Professor E. G. Waterhouse's work in beautifying and unifying buildings and their settings;

The University of Sydney and Victoria Park as connected landscapes, with planted features, including individual specimen trees, avenues of mature trees, open lawns, designed gardens and courtyards. The open spaces and roadways contribute to the aesthetic significance of the place and significant axial views. Across the site there are landscapes and gardens which demonstrate Picturesque (1850s-1890s), Arts and Crafts (1890s-1917) and Georgian Revival/Mediterranean (1915-1940s) aesthetic characteristics;

Victoria Park for its landmark location on the intersection of two major thoroughfares (Parramatta Road and City Road), as an "Approach Reserve" to the University of Sydney and its visual relationship to the University of Sydney. The Park retains substantial components of its formative 19th century 'picturesque' planning and design including fabric, spaces, layout, its Victorian character and importantly, the grand avenue linking City Road and the remaining original gate lodge to the tower of the Main Building of the University;

Individual buildings that demonstrate high quality architectural design and contribute greatly to the overall aesthetic character of the University as a whole including: R.D Watt Building (1912-16); Heyden-Laurence Building (1899); Holme Building (1910-12); Union Refectory (1922-24, 1939-41); Old Geology Building (1895); Macleay Building (1887); Botany Wing (1925); War Memorial Art Gallery (1953-1958); Main Quadrangle Building (1854-1924, 1966); Pharmacy (1888-1890); Bank Building (1854); Badham Building (1888); John Woolley Building (1908), Manning House (1917); Edward Ford Building (1930); Physics Building (1925); J.D. Stewart Building (1910-12); Round House (1920-21); Baxter's Lodge (1939-40); Fisher Library (1958-62); Fisher Library Stack (1967-1971); Chemistry Building (1958); Anderson Stuart Building (1885); and Gate Keeper's Lodge (1898); and St Paul's College (1859), St John's College(1862), St Andrew's College (1876), The Women's College (1892), Wesley College (1917)and Sancta Sophia College (1925);

The sporting facilities at the University and Colleges contributing significantly to the retention of open space and green buffers between the built forms of the campus. They are traditional open spaces that are readily associated with university and college life, and they form a strong element of the traditional campus form; and

Site features such as the boundary treatments, gateways, artworks (sculptures) and memorials that individually and together contribute to the overall aesthetic and historic character of the University as a whole.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park has substantial social values at state level for a range of affiliated communities and groups. These values are attached to the whole of the University, each of the colleges, campuses and individual faculties, Victoria Park, as well as smaller precincts, vistas, buildings and features in the grounds. These values may be associated with experiences and memories that these places may hold and include:

Association as a major place for academic and professional groups and events;

Association as a major place for sporting groups and events;

Association as a communal cultural space known for its museums, cultural groups and events;

The University as a place of social protest eg. Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, and the 1965 Freedom Ride;

The amount of cultural material that exists for the place e.g. the number of artworks, media stories and publications with the University as a subject matter;

The Park's sense of place, as a landmark major open space within inner-Sydney, a passive recreation area, and for the active use of the Victoria Park Swimming Pool;

The swimming pool as a focus of over 60 years of water-based recreational activity within the Park for the local and broader community;

The Park being used for major events and gatherings including an unofficial Aboriginal tent embassy (2000-2004), the Yabun Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures held annually on 26th of January, and the annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day;

Over 130 years of children using Victoria Park as a place of play; and

Eminent men and women who are University graduates, academics and chancellery demonstrating a major association to all aspects of Australian society and the nation's development.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The cultural landscape is of state heritage significance for its ability to demonstrate activities of the colonial era (1792-1855) associated with Grose Farm, convict stockade and orphan school. The potential for significant archaeological evidence of the post-European settlement period relates to the pre-university land use of Grose Farm, and the early development of the
University and Park.

The heritage significance of the place from a heraldic perspective is paramount within New South Wales and probably Australia. The cultural landscape features such a wide array of coats of arms and crests installed over such a broad period of time; and as such provides a unique prism for research and analysing the history of Sydney, of New South Wales and of Australia.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park contain a number of buildings and landscapes that are rare or unique and of state significance. These include:

The Main Quadrangle Building, the Anderson Stuart Building and the Gate Lodges, together with St Paul's, St John's and St Andrew's Colleges, as a rare composition, comprise what is likely to be the most important group of Gothic and Tudor Revival style architecture in New South Wales and potentially Australia;

The structure of the University as a non-denominational, non-residential institution with provision for residential colleges to be located on the ridges, viewed across the valley from the Main Buildings by the four religious denominations represented a unique approach to the institution's design;

The long axis and grand triple avenue (of which major remnants remain) linking City Road to Edmund Blacket's Main Building tower being a rare example of a Blacket landscape design;

Victoria Park as a contemporarily planned setting for a major 19th century university campus, being a reserve associated from its beginnings with the first university in Australia;

Landscape and planted features from the early 1880s of individual specimen trees and avenues of mature trees, including rare plantings in cultivation in Sydney (e.g. Combretum erythrophyllum, Ficus superba var., Muelleri and, possibly, Ficus macrophylla subsp. columnaris and Quercus acutissima);

Botanical collections such as camellia plantings by E.G.Waterhouse and rare cultural landscape groupings of significant trees;

The intactness of the groupings of buildings across the history of the development of the site (i.e few have been demolished);
All the above, that individually and together contribute to the overall unique and historic character of the site as a whole.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The University of Sydney, University Colleges and Victoria Park is of state significance as an item that demonstrates principal characteristics of a class of NSWs cultural place or environment as the site:

Is one of the finest examples of connected landscapes in NSW with a continuous history from pre-colonial times to today. The University grounds are inextricably linked to Victoria Park and reflect Governor Phillip's designated land reserve (1789) for school, Crown and church purposes, with an allowance for the "formation of a park and garden in connection therewith". The developed landscapes having retained the topography and much of the original landform. The site retains elements of the early colonial Grose Farm, the establishment of the University and the colonial landscaping;

Contains what is likely to be the most important group of Gothic and Tudor Revival style architecture in New South Wales and potentially Australia;

Demonstrates the aspirations of colonial Sydney to shape its own society, polity and ideals, which ultimately led to the establishment of the University of Sydney and University Colleges by Acts of Parliament in 1850 and 1854 respectively. The University is a tangible representation of the early development of NSW and the development of the state and nation. It represents an important part of the development of NSW and Australia into the country that we see today. It is a significant example of the influence of government-funded education. The distribution of the University colleges around the periphery (separating the teaching buildings from the residential), stressed the communal nature of the University as a whole;
Represents a microcosm of the development of architectural design, town planning and landscape design in New South Wales and Australia;

Has been a major landmark of Sydney and NSW since its inception and reflects a fulfilment of Governor Phillip's designated land reserve (1789) for school, Crown and church purposes, with an allowance for the "formation of a park and garden in connection therewith". Prominence of the University was created with the placement of Edmund Blacket's Main Quadrangle Building on the crest of Petersham Ridge, with sweeping views up to it from the main artery leaving the city, Parramatta Road. The positioning of the building was a conscious statement of the importance of the University. Victoria Park is unique within NSW as a contemporarily planned setting for a major 19th century university campus. Overall, many features of this large site retain their integrity from the date of their establishment. Such features include the alignment of the site boundaries and their treatments, the internal layout of many of the roads, the configuration of buildings and gardens and the uses of the buildings and precincts; and

Is held in high esteem by the local community, local council, students, graduates, academics, staff, benefactors and sporting club members as an iconic place of historic, academic, cultural, sporting, recreational and social pursuits and events.
Integrity/Intactness: Overall, many features of the University of Sydney and University Colleges retain their integrity from the date of their establishment. Such features include the alignment of the site, boundaries and their treatments, the internal layout of many of the roads, the configuration of buildings and gardens and the uses of a number of the buildings and precincts.

The remnant Victoria Park is one of Sydney's more intact Victorian landscape designs and still conveys a sense of the skill with which it exploited the natural drainage system and topography. It retains substantial components, including fabric, spaces, layout and Victorian character of its formative 19th century planning and design.

Despite being complicated by continuous redevelopment and re-interpretation of its cultural heritage elements, study of the fabric of the place and the related documentary evidence indicates that most of the components of the place could be restored or reconstructed to an earlier known configuration if this was considered appropriate.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementGrounds Conservation Management Plan (2013) Camperdown - Darlington Campus  

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - Under consideration for SHR/IHO listingThe University of Sydney and Victoria Park    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenDr Michael Pearson, Duncan Marshall, Dr. Donald Ellsmore, Dr.Val Attenbrow, Sue Rosen, Rosemary Kerr, Chris Betteridge2002The University of Sydney Grounds Conservation Plan - Volume 1
WrittenGeoffrey Britton Environmental Design & Heritage Consultant2009Conservation Assessment for Victoria Park, City Road, Camperdown, NSW
WrittenThe University of Sydney, Campus Infrastructure Services2016The University of Sydney Grounds Conservation Management Plan (Revised)
WrittenTrevor Howells (1949-2015)2006University of Sydney Architecture

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5056444
File number: EF14/10022


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