Women's College Group, University of Sydney Incl. Building Interiors & Grounds | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Women's College Group, University of Sydney Incl. Building Interiors & Grounds

Item details

Name of item: Women's College Group, University of Sydney Incl. Building Interiors & Grounds
Other name/s: Including Main Building and Williams Wing
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Education
Category: Tertiary College
Primary address: 15 Carillon Avenue, Camperdown, NSW 2050
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
15 Carillon AvenueCamperdownSydney  Primary Address
25-35 Briggs StreetCamperdownSydney  Alternate Address
15 Carillon AvenueUniversity of SydneySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The Women's College within the University of Sydney, opened in 1892, was the first university college for women in Australia. The earliest section of the College, designed by the architectural firm of Sulman & Power and completed in 1894, is a fine example of an institutional building in the 'Federation Free Classical' style of architecture. This original wing of the college exhibits a high quality of workmanship and retains the intended relationship with its terraced landscape. The integrity of this part of the College, which retains many original or early fittings and items of furniture, contributes substantially to its rarity value. Substantial additions to the original College throughout the twentieth century demonstrate the growth of the institution, changing architectural styles, social mores and teaching requirements. The College contains many items of moveable heritage - furniture, commemorative objects and works of art that contribute to the aesthetic significance of the place. The college is the only non-denominational affiliated college established under the 1854 University of Sydney Affiliated Colleges Act and has occupied its present site since 1894. The Women's College is of State significance for being in continuous use as a university college for women for over one hundred years and for its high standard of academic excellence and achievement in collegiate activities including sports and the arts. The Women's College is significant for its role in raising the status of women through higher education and by actively promoting a broader role for women in public life. It is held in high esteem by its alumnae and is also significant to the broader university community's sense of place.
Date significance updated: 05 Aug 05
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Sulman & Power, Architects Construction Years: 1892 - 1924
Builder/Maker: Builder: Bignell and Clark
Construction years: 1892-1924
Physical description: Womens College Group includes:
Main Building - three storey Federation building with later additions, c.1894.
Williams Wing - three storey Inter-War building c.1937 and site with landscaping The Women's College comprises a collection of brick buildings set within landscaped gardens adjoining the grounds of other affiliated colleges of the University of Sydney. For detailed description see www.heritage.nsw.gov.au and search State Heritage Register listing.

Seven phases of institutional building, carried out between 1892 and 1996, are represented on the site, demonstrating the growth of the College and changing architectural styles over more than a century. The original building was designed to accommodate 26 students and the College now houses over 280 students.

Phase 1: Main Building 1892-1894: architects Sulman & Power
The original (Main) building was completed in 1894 to the design of John Sulman and his partner, Joseph Porter Power and consists of an entrance hall, staff offices, Principal's accommodation, common rooms, meeting rooms, and student accommodation.
It is a three-storey brick and stone building planned along an elongated north-south axis, terminating in a projecting wing with bay windows at the northern end and a four-storey Italianate tower at the southern end. Decorative sandstone elements on the sills, pediments, chimneys and column capitals are used as ornamental features The red brickwork is laid in Flemish bond with tuck pointing. The Principal's Flat forms a small wing to the south west of the tower. The main building sits prominently and dramatically at the top of artificially constructed grassed terraces, affording views to the surrounding gardens.

The building was designed in the 'Free Federation Classical Style', a free interpretation of the Italian Renaissance style adapting elements from the Queen Anne period. The stylistic details of this original building are predominantly neo-Italian Renaissance. Although the original building has had many additions and alterations over the years it is still possible to identify the early fabric and components of the original design.

The high quality of workmanship and building materials of the original building contribute to its aesthetic and technical significance. These materials include the dressed sandstone detailing, brick chimney details, French doors and timber shutters on the exterior. Interior elements include the timber panel joinery and plaster details of the original entrance hall, original timber doors, architraves and pediments, circular feature windows, and the details of the staircase including carved timber balusters newel posts and handrails, the four stained glassed windows within the stairwell.

The strong form of the grass embankments and terraces is an important component within this setting, as these were designed and constructed at the same time as the main building and complement the scale and simplicity of the architecture. The terracing is important in maintaining original views to and from the main western elevation. The wisteria on the main western elevation, the oak tree on the lower grass terrace and the continuous tree canopy along the western boundary are all individual landscape plants of considerable significance. The trees on the western boundary provide a sense of enclosure to the western terrace and main building.

Phase 2; Additional student accommodation and the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall 1923-1924: architects Power & Adam

In 1923-1924 an addition to the original building designed by Power & Adam was built on the east side of the main corridor, formerly occupied by the eastern verandah to provide 15 student rooms. In order to accommodate the increased number of students and to create a memorial to the work of the first principal, the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall, designed by Joseph Porter Power of Power & Adam was added to the southeast of the main building. Accessed via a second staircase leading off the original entrance hall the building consisted of a dining room, kitchen, utility rooms, offices and some student accommodation.

The most striking feature of the Dining Hall is the extensive use of timber, particularly in the elaborate roof consisting of substantial beams with truss detailing in curved and circular timber sections. Timber panelling on the walls directs the eye to the bull's eye clerestory windows featuring elaborate timber surrounds, along the north and south walls. There is also a timber 'minstrels' gallery' at the west end of the dining room. The moulded timber skirting and the timber floor are original, with the exception of the narrower floor boards. Other original or early details include the large double-hung windows with original hardware located under the circular windows and the plaster-battened mansard ceiling with circular vents. The hall was enlarged in 1965-1969 and the southern wall removed and replaced by a series of columns. The original windows were used in the south wall of the later extension.

The Maples, a Victorian house on an adjoining lot, was leased before being purchased in 1918. Major alterations and additions occurred in 1928 with surplus funds from the government endowment funding the partial demolition of the back wing of the Maples and the addition of a three-storey wing providing accommodation for seventeen undergraduates, two graduates, a tutor, the gardener and a maid. In the summer vacation the Maples was used by staff and students who chose to remain in residence while the main College building closed for the holidays.

Phase 3: The Susie Jane Williams Wing: architect R. G. Simpson 1936-1937
A two-storey brick addition with tiled roof, linked by cloisters to the south side of the entrance to the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall with 14 student rooms and associated facilities. (This building was later extended in 1959-1960). The building incorporates many details that complement the original design, including the decorative sandstone details, face brick construction, double hung windows and terracotta tiled hip and gable roofs.

Phase 4: The Reid Wing: architect Ellice Nosworthy 1957-1958
A two-storey face brick addition with aluminium windows and sandstone sills and a hipped roof of terracotta tiles adjoining the north end of the Main building with 31 students rooms, a small flat for the Vice Principal, a common room and music rooms. [Part demolished and the remainder adapted in 1994-1996 as part of the Vere Hole Resource Centre]

Phase 5: Additions to Williams wing and to the staff accommodation at the back of the kitchen [Back Alley] 1959-1950: architect Ellice Nosworthy
Two-storey brick additions with tile roof to north and south ends of the kitchen wing staff quarters [Back Alley] and two and three-storey brick additions with tile roof to east and west ends of the Williams Wing for student and staff accommodation.

Phase 6: Langley wing & connecting walkway, the Menzies Common Room and an addition to the dining hall: architects Fowell, Jarvis, Mansfield and Maclurcan 1965-1969
The College doubled in size with the help of AUC funding in the 1960s. The main elements of this expansion were: a four-storey residential block of brick with metal roof, in Y-shaped configuration with central staircase providing student and staff accommodation (Langley wing) and connecting walkway to Main building; a large students' common room and all-purpose hall (Menzies Common Room) and; a single-storey flat roofed addition to the 1924 dining hall, reusing some elements of the original (windows and frames).

The Menzies Common Room is two storeys high internally and is linked to the north side of the Dining Hall and to the Main Building by means of a corridor which blocks off all natural light from the main staircase and obstructs the lower stained glass windows.

Phase 7: The Vere Hole Resource Centre; architects Gerry Rippon & Ken Reynolds
Part of Reid wing demolished (laundries and music rooms) and remainder refurbished. With additions to provide library and archive offices, storage and reading room, computer rooms, common rooms, teaching rooms and student accommodation.

Landscape and Gardens
The Women's College was built on a treeless paddock immediately to the west of St Paul's College. Although the site had a frontage to Carillon Avenue the building with its main axis at right angles to the street, facing west towards St Andrew's College. The original entry road from Carillon Avenue was a gravel driveway terminating in a circular turning area outside the front steps. This has now been replaced by a bitumen roadway.

The grounds of the main building comprise three (of the original four) distinct levels with steep, grass embankments in between that were constructed in 1893 and which formed the most significant feature within the original landscaping. These embankments, combined with the layout and design of the building facilitated the passive cooling of the building by cross ventilation, a feature characteristic of the work of Sulman and Power.

From the 1890s, when many plants were donated by well wishers, the gardens developed through to the 1940s reflecting a gardenesque landscape more commonly seen in grand residential properties. The existing garden bed at the base of the upper embankment includes small flowering trees and shrubs: crab apples, cherry, azaleas and assorted annuals.

Under the influence of Professor Wilkinson in the 1920s and 1930s, flags of stone and cement gradually replaced asphalt paths but in later years discordant paving materials were used diminishing the unifying elements of the whole landscape.

When the College was first built, the scale and simplicity of the building and its dominant roofline were accentuated by the open nature of the surrounding landscape and absence of any soft vegetation close to the building. Today, the mature trees around the north, east and west boundaries enhance the sense of enclosure and privacy within the College grounds.

By the 1940s Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila) nearly covered the front walls, bay window and tower. This created a dramatic leafy effect, particularly combined with the maturing flowering shrubs in the lower gardens. In 1947, the creeper was removed and a mauve-flowered wisteria (Wistaria sinensis) retained and this is now a significant feature of the College each spring.

The different architectural styles of the associated buildings within the Women's College contribute to the similarly disparate treatment of green spaces with the introduction of native plants, large areas of garden beds and the increased use of a variety of paving materials. The principal courtyards at the Women's College include: the Central Courtyard located behind the main building, which contains a sundial; the two courtyards adjacent to the Williams Wing comprising the Upper Level Courtyard which is enclosed to the west by a covered walkway and to the east by a densely planted garden bed including a mature jacaranda, and the Lower Level Courtyard which features a brick wall at the base of a covered walkway. The small brick paved courtyard located between the Principal's Flat and the Main Common Room was built in 1933 and designed by Miss Peggy MacIntyre.

Significant Trees
In 1894 trees were planted by friends and supporters of the College including: Lady Duff, Mr Walker, Miss Woolley, Mrs W. R. Campbell, Miss Deas Thomson, Mrs Badham, Sir William Manning, Miss Windeyer, Lady Darley, Mrs Gurney, Miss Eadith Walker, Miss Jane Russell, and Miss Fairfax. Lady Duff planted an oak, possibly the existing Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) which is located about the centre of the western boundary tree plantings.

Front Gates
The front gates on Carillon Avenue are wrought iron and were a gift to the College from Mr S. S. Cohen in 1936. The original gates were timber. The existing gates are supported by stone piers which contrast with the adjacent brick wall piers.

Memorial Seat
The sandstone seat on the lower grass terrace was designed by Leslie Wilkinson in the 1920s as a memorial to Miss Mary Dunnicliff, a student of the College from 1895-1897 and afterwards a teacher at Sydney Girls' High School and Fort Street Girls' High School. The Sydney yellow block stone seat rests on a stone foundation and bears the carved initials 'M.C.D.' and the dates '1895-1897'. The stone was supplied from the Harbour Bridge excavations by J. J. C. Bradfield who was a member of Council. The hedge surrounding the seat comprises a number of species including privet (Ligustrum ovalifolium) which may have been planted later and which has been clipped into a high hedge and now provides an intimate but restricted space around the seat.

Sundial
Located in the central courtyard is the sundial, the plinth for which was designed by Professor Leslie Wilkinson and installed in memory of Miss Marjorie Gladwin who was a student in College from 1925 until her death from diabetes in May 1927. Donated by her mother and brother, the sundial was erected in the quadrangle on 5 November 1928. The bronze dial bears the date 1720, the maker's name 'T. Mills LONDON', and the inscription Use well the present moments as they fly. The sandstone plinth bears the inscription 'Love alters not with his brief hours and week'.

Moveable heritage
An 'Asset Register' (furniture, paintings, objets d'art etc.) has been compiled and is held at the College. (This inventory does not include all original or early fittings and furniture in student rooms.)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Site inspections by Otto Cserhalmi & Partners Pty Ltd in 1998-1999 found the Main [Sulman and Power] building generally to be in very good condition. A Conservation & Management Plan for the Sulman & Power building was prepared in 1999 and a substantial restoration programme was carried out in 1999-2000 by Otto Cserhalmi & Partners. The grounds were surveyed by landscape consultant James Pfeiffer in December 1998 and January 1999 in order to prepare an analysis of the landscape and conservation and management policies for inclusion in the Conservation & Management Plan. The other parts of the College namely: the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall 1923-1924 with 1959-1960 additions to staff quarters & 1965-1969 additions to dining hall; Williams wing 1936-1937 with 1959-1960 additions; Reid wing 1957-1958 remodelled in 1994-1996 as part of the Resource Centre; Langley and the Menzies Common Room 1965-1969 and; the Vere Hole Resource Centre 1994-1996 have not been inspected and assessed. Major refurbishment and some structural repairs have been carried out over recent years in the Langley wing. Renovation of the Williams wing is in progress (January 2005).
Date condition updated:05 Aug 05
Modifications and dates: 1909 One and a half acres added to the College land on north side of existing site April 1916 A 'garden pavilion' to house six students built to the east of original building, known as ‘The Cottage’. Architects Power & Adam 1919 College purchases The Maples a house on Bligh Street [Carillon Avenue] 1924 Additional students' rooms and a new dining hall [the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall] built; 53 students in residence. Original dining hall converted into common room and original common room used as extension to library. Architects Power & Adam. Builders L Shaw & Co. 1929 Brick wall built along Carillon Avenue frontage 1936 Williams Wing built to south of Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall with accommodation for fourteen students and cloister (walkway) connecting it to the Main building. Architect R G Simpson. College accommodated 85 students. 1958. Reid Wing built to east of Main building with rooms for 31 students, a small flat for the Vice Principal, common room and music rooms. Architect Ellice Nosworthy 1959 Second entrance made to College grounds from Western Avenue 1959-1960 Additions to kitchen wing staff quarters [Back Alley] and to the Williams Wing. 130 students in residence. Architect Ellice Nosworthy 1965 Rooms on ground floor of Main building converted for use by administration. Architects Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & Maclurcan 1965-1969. Langley Wing, the Menzies Common Room and an extension to the Dining Hall constructed, with connecting walkways. Architects Fowell, Mansfield & Maclurcan. College accommodates 280 students. 1970-1971 The Maples refurbished for postgraduate accommodation. Architects Joseland & Gilling 1972 Replacement of balcony on top floor of Main building. Architects Joseland & Gilling 1978-1991 Installation of fire detection and suppression systems including smoke doors. Additional fire stairs, emergency lighting, sprinkler systems. Architects Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners 1989 Fire in box room and dry store underneath Dining Hall. Reinstatement of part of dining hall floor and some panelling 1994-1996 Vere Hole Resource Centre built. Part of Reid wing demolished and remainder refurbished. Architects Gerry Rippon & Ken Reynolds 1996 Remodelling of rooms in Main previously used for library; renamed the Miss Mary Elizabeth Fairfax Rooms. Architect Howard Tanner & Interior Designer Leslie Walford 1996 New landscaping in courtyard between back of Main building and Menzies Common Room. Designers David Wilkinson & Gay Stanton 1998 Installation of telephone and data access points in all student rooms 1999-2000 Restoration program for the original Sulman & Power building. Repair and conservation of brickwork and stonework; restoration of early rainwater goods and conservation of roof of Main Common Room; restoration and repair of front steps and landings in slate; removal of bronze entry doors and making good the front entry porch; replacement of floor and lights in entrance hall and installation of new reception office; replacement of floor and lights in Main Common Room; refurbishment of study bedrooms. Architects Otto Cserhalmi & Partners
Further information: Listed on the State Heritage Register - Gov Gazette 1/4/2005 - SHR No 1726

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: University Residential College for Women Students
Former use: As above

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani)

Significant dates in the history of the Women's College (extract from State Heritage Register listing - see www.heritage.nsw.gov.au State Heritage Register for further detailed history)
1850 Establishment of the University of Sydney, the first university in the Australia colonies
1854 Affiliated Colleges Endowment Act: provides for the establishment and endowment of independent, denominational colleges within the University. Colleges to provide for their students 'systematic religious instruction, and domestic supervision, with efficient assistance in preparing for the University lectures and examinations'.
1855 University granted 126 acres of land at Grose Farm for the university buildings and for sub-grants for affiliated colleges of the four major religious denominations (Church of England, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Wesleyan)
1877 University of Adelaide admits women students
April 1881 Admission of women to the University of Sydney 'on an equal footing with men' agreed to by the University Senate
[1881] Admission of women to the University of Melbourne
1882 First two women pass the University matriculation examinations
1885 First women students graduate from the University of Sydney
1886 Trinity Women's Hostel opened in the University of Melbourne
May 1887 Public Meeting held to discuss the establishment of a non-denominational college for women within the University of Sydney. Committees formed to raise funds and to attend to the legal aspects of establishing a college.
1889 Act to establish and endow a College for Women
1891 Sufficient funds raised for the subscribers to elect the first College Council
1891 Opening of permanent building for Trinity Women's Hostel, Melbourne [later named Janet Clarke Hall]
July 1891 First meeting of the College Council
October 1891 College Council appoints committee of three Councillors to invite sketch plans for new college from no more than eight architectural firms
February 1892 Committee recommends acceptance of design by Sulman & Power. Decision deferred pending the arrival of the new Principal, Louisa Macdonald from London
March 1892 Arrival of Louisa Macdonald, the first Principal. Sub-committee formed (Sir William Windeyer, the Principal and Professor Scott) to confer with the Government Architect and Sulman & Power concerning further designs for the College.
March 1892 The Women's College opens in temporary premises in 'Strathmore', Glebe
April 1892 Sulman & Power appointed architects to the College
September 1892 Senate authorises the Women's College to take up the site formerly promised to the Teachers' College
November 1892 Council agrees to accept the site
December 1892 Work begins on site: Bignell & Clark builders
Winter 1893 First trees planted bordering the lawn on the western boundary by men and women closely associated with the University and the foundation of the College. Asphalt tennis court formed at back of building.
February 1894 Building work completed: college designed to accommodate twenty-six students
March 1894 Principal and six students move into the new building [later known as the Main building]
April 1894 College coat-of-arms designed
5 May 1894 Official opening of the Women's College by Lady Duff
August 1896 Casts of the Parthenon frieze in place in the College dining hall
1906 College fully occupied for the first time
November 1908 Senate agrees to grant additional land to the College
1909 One and a half acres added to the College site on the north side: known as the paddock
1914 The Women's College of the University of Queensland opened
1914 College seeks additional endowment from the Government for extensions, to designs of Mr Power
1916 Balance of endowment funds secured
April 1916 A 'garden pavilion' to house six students built to the east of Main building, known as 'The Cottage'. Architects Power & Adam
1918 College leases The Maples, a house adjacent on Bligh Street [Carillon Avenue]
1919 College purchases The Maples
April 1919 Council resolves to erect an additional building 'in recognition of Miss Macdonald's services to the College and to the cause of women's education in Australia'
1921 Original plan for the extension of the College abandoned. Extra accommodation to be provided by building rooms on the east side of the main corridor; a new Dining Hall to be the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall
1921 Tower converted into student room[s]
October 1922 Tenders called for new work
1922 Addition to original building: 15 rooms built on the east side of the Main corridor. Removal of most of eastern verandah of original building but small portions left in centre and at south end. New dining hall [the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall], kitchen and maids' quarters built over site of original kitchens. Part of original servants' quarters remodelled. Original dining hall converted into common room and original common room to be used as extension to library. Architects Power & Adam. Builders L Shaw & Co.
11 April 1923 Foundation stone laid for the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall
1923-1924 Installation of electricity in Main building
October 1924 Official opening of the Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall with specially commissioned portrait of Miss Macdonald above High Table
1924 College now accommodates 60 students
1926 Small pantry built next to the Main Common Room [the original dining hall]
1928 Back wing of The Maples demolished and three-storey wing added to accommodate seventeen students, two graduates, a tutor, the gardener and a maid
1929 Construction of brick wall along Carillon Avenue boundary
1931 Maplewood dado added to small vestibule and up staircase leading to dining hall
1935 Maplewood dado panelling added to entrance hall
1936 Wrought iron gates replace timber gates on Carillon Avenue entrance
1936-1937 Construction of new wing, to south of Louisa Macdonald Commemoration Hall with accommodation for fourteen students and cloister (walkway) connecting it to the Main building. Architect R G Simpson
6 July 1937 Official opening of the Susie Jane Williams Commemoration Wing
1937 University Women's College in Melbourne opened
1943 College over crowded; some students living three to a room
1946 St Catherine's College in Perth opened
1947 St Ann's College in Adelaide opened
1947 Roof damaged by violent hail storm
1947 Sketch plans prepared for appeal for funds for additions to College
1950 Loggia in tower converted into rooms. Kitchenette installed in Principal's flat.
Ground floor room in Main converted into Senior Common Room and another room as common room for resident staff
1951 Additional small staircase added to north end of Main building with new bathrooms on mezzanine levels. Small lecture room & adjacent student rooms on ground floor incorporated into the library [the original common room]. Architect Ellice Nosworthy
June 1952 The Mary Fairfax Library opened
1954 Eighty-nine students in residence and 14 in hostels in Carillon Avenue owned by Moore College
1955 Mrs Mary Reid offers donation over four years that enables new building to be planned. Council decides that size of the College will be limited to 150 'at the present' following discussions at Heads of Colleges Conference in Melbourne where the economic size of colleges was discussed.
1956 Former balcony areas in centre of east side of Main building (first and second floors) converted into student rooms, known as the Fitzhardinge rooms. Architect Ellice Nosworthy
1956-1958 Construction of new wing to east of Main building with rooms for 31 students, a small flat for the Vice Principal, common room and music rooms. Architect Ellice Nosworthy
1957 Murray Report on the future of Australian universities
12 April 1958 Reid Wing opened
1958 Senior Common Room enlarged by combining two rooms on ground floor of Main building [formerly students' rooms]
1958 Student's room in former loggia of tower incorporated into the Principal's flat as private sitting room
1959 New entrance made to College from Western Avenue
1959-1960 Additions to north and south ends of kitchen wing staff quarters [Back Alley]
Additions to east and west ends of Williams wing for additional student accommodation. Architect Ellice Nosworthy
1960 College reaches target size of 150 students and tutors
1960-1961 Window in south wall of Main Common Room [original dining room] removed and opening lengthened to give a garden view, as a memorial to former Principal, Camilla Wedgwood. Installation of Wedgwood plaque. Architects Ellice Nosworthy and Leslie Wilkinson
1962 Council resolves to double the size of the College
April 1963 JLS Mansfield of Fowell, Mansfield and Maclurcan formally requested to submit sketch plans and estimates for new student accommodation and for extension to dining hall
1964 New accommodation to Y-shaped plan to be built in two stages in 'the paddock', to the north of Main building
1965 Addition to Dining Hall & works in kitchen. Architects Fowell, Mansfield & Maclurcan
13 March 1965 Foundation stone laid for Stage 1 of new residential wing [Langley wing]. Architects Fowell, Mansfield & Maclurcan
1965 Alterations to rooms on ground floor of Main building [original students' rooms] for use by administration (offices for Principal, Vice Principal, Secretary, Household Manager, Housekeeper). Architects Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & Maclurcan
1966 Stage 1 of new residential wing completed and fully occupied
1966 Installation of bronze framed glass doors to enclose front porch. Architect Ellice Nosworthy
1967-1969 Construction of Stage 2 of new residential wing [Langley]. Architects Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & Maclurcan
1967 Construction of covered walkway between Reid & new wing [Langley] and enclosure of existing 'cloister' between Williams and Main building. Architects Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & Maclurcan
1967 Modifications to Main building for construction of Menzies Common Room and demolition of The Cottage. Architects Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & Maclurcan
1967-1969 Construction of New Common Room [Menzies Common Room]. Architects Fowell, Mansfield, Jarvis & Maclurcan
1967 Former visitors' room on ground floor of Main building converted into enquiry office at main entrance
1969 New residential wing [Langley] completed. College accommodates 251 students and is now the largest residential college within the University of Sydney
5 July 1969 Langley wing and the Menzies Common Room officially opened by Sir Robert Menzies
1970-1971 The Maples refurbished for postgraduate accommodation. Architects Joseland & Gilling
1972 Replacement of balcony on top floor of Main building. Architects Joseland & Gilling
1972 Floor of front verandah on ground floor of Main building lifted to replace broken pipes from roof drainage, to remedy damp. Front steps replaced. Renovation of fireplace and chimney in Main Common Room
1974 Alterations to Principal's flat. Architects Joseland Gilling & Assocs
1976 Refurbishment of Main Common Room: heating system installed; new lighting with spotlights, dimmers & sidelights; plaster casts removed, room repainted including the timber ceiling
1977 Overhaul of accommodation behind kitchen [Back Alley], previously used for resident domestic staff, converted for student use
1977 The Women's College Act amended to include the admission of men to the College and the appointment of a male Principal
1978 Installation of thermal and smoke detectors
1981 Installation of fire detection system in main body of College
1982 Installation of fire detection system in The Maples
1988 Installation of smoke doors, smoke seals, door closers etc. in Menzies, Main and Reid wing. Architects Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners
1989 Fire in box room and dry store underneath Dining Hall. Reinstatement of Dining Hall timber floor, some damage to panelling
1990-1991 Installation of new fire stair Main, Reid and Menzies, emergency lights etc. Architects Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners
1990-1991 Installation of sprinkler system
1990 Installation of new fire stair in Williams wing, emergency lights etc. Architects Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners
1991 Installation of emergency lighting etc. The Maples. Architects Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners
1991 Installation of emergency lighting etc. Langley wing. Architects Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners
1994-1996 Resource Centre built. Part of Reid wing demolished and new library, computer rooms and basement storage constructed. Remaining section of Reid wing remodelled with additions, as computer rooms, library and archives rooms and tutorial rooms on ground floor with student accommodation on upper floors. Architects Gerry Rippon & Ken Reynolds
23 March 1996 Vere Hole Resource Centre officially opened by the Chancellor Dame Leonie Kramer
1996 Remodelling of rooms in Main previously used for library; renamed the Miss Mary Elizabeth Fairfax Rooms. Architect Howard Tanner & Interior Designer Leslie Walford
1996 New landscaping in courtyard between back of Main building and Menzies Common Room. Designers David Wilkinson & Gay Stanton
1998 Installation of telephone and data access points in all student rooms
1998-1999 Conservation Management Plan for the Sulman & Power building [Main building] prepared by Otto Cserhalmi & Partners
1998 College applies for grant from the Commonwealth Government Federation Cultural Heritage Projects Program to conserve the Main building
1999 Grant received from Commonwealth government
1999-2000 Major restoration programme for Main building. Repair and conservation of brickwork and stonework; restoration of early rainwater goods and conservation of roof of Main Common Room; restoration and repair of front steps and landings in slate; removal of bronze entry doors and making good the front entry porch; replacement of floor and lights in entrance hall and installation of new reception office; replacement of floor and lights in Main Common Room; refurbishment of study bedrooms. Architect Otto Cserhalmi & Partners
2003 Installation of two wall-mounted display cases in Menzies Corridor. Replacement of old bulletin board leading to the Dining Hall with new. Handcrafting three mahogany pedestals replicating column mouldings in entrance hall. Zeny Edwards and Lewis and Lewis, Cabinetmakers.

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. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Women's College is of State significance as the first university college for women in NSW, Australia and indeed within the British Commonwealth. It is also of State significance for being in continuous use as a university college for women for over one hundred years and for its high standard of academic excellence and achievement in collegiate activities including sports and the arts. The Women's College is significant for its role in raising the status of women through higher education and by actively promoting a broader role for women in the management of the College and in public life. The College archives provide a significant resource for the history of the place, its students, staff and Councillors.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Women's College is of State significance as the first university college for women in NSW, Australia and indeed within the British Commonwealth. It is also of State significance for being in continuous use as a university college for women for over one hundred years and for its high standard of academic excellence and achievement in collegiate activities including sports and the arts. The Women's College is significant for its role in raising the status of women through higher education and by actively promoting a broader role for women in the management of the College and in public life. The College archives provide a significant resource for the history of the place, its students, staff and Councillors.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The earliest section of the College, designed by the architectural firm of Sulman & Power, is of State significance a fine example of an institutional building in the Federation Free Classical style of architecture. It exhibits a high quality of workmanship and retains many of its original features. Despite considerable additions to the site, the original building is still clearly evident, and maintains its original relationship with its terraced setting and garden. Subsequent additions to the original College buildings include representative examples of collegiate architecture of the 1930s, 1950s, 1960s and 1990s, demonstrating changes in architectural fashion, building, engineering and technological requirements throughout the College's history.

The College contains many items of furniture, commemorative objects and works of art that contribute to the aesthetic significance of the place. Many of these were donated by individuals and families who have had a long association with the history of the College since its establishment.

The architectural style originally chosen for the Women's College broke away from the traditional sandstone Gothic Revival style typical of early University of Sydney buildings, to establish an alternative architecture appropriate to the needs of women students.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Socially the Women's College is of State significance for its long-term function as a residence for women students of the University of Sydney and more recently as a site for academic conferences and seminars. The buildings and landscape of the Women's College suggest the influence of the 'Oxbridge' ideal of university architecture. The Women's College is held in high esteem by its alumnae for whom the original building remains the most identifiable and iconic element of the place. It is also significant to the broader university community's sense of place.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Sulman and Power building within the Women's College is of State significance for providing evidence of the innovative constructional techniques develioped by John Sulman and his attempts at developing an Australian style of architecture. The original building of the Women's College is also significant for providing evidence of the way of life of early women students of the University of Sydney and in particular of their domestic and social arrangements and has the potential to demonstrate this to future generations. The building is complemented by items of moveable heritage that enhance this understanding and by archival holdings that provide documentary and pictorial evidence of this way of life. Subsequent additions to the College have the potential to demonstrate fashions in institutional architecture and changes in the social and domestic life of students throughout its history. Further research, including oral history and landscape analysis may yield additional information about the buildings and grounds of the College and their use over time.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Women's College is of State significace as the first university college for women in Australia and in the British Commonwealth. It remains the only non-denominational college within the University of Sydney. The Women's College is a rare example of an educational institution designed specifically for the accommodation of women university students in the late 19th century. The integrity of the original building contributes substantially to its rarity value.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Women's College is of State significance as the best and most intact example of the educational and institutional works of Sulman and Power in Australia. Other examples of their work include The Armidale School (opened 1 February 1894) and the New England Ladies College (1888). The architectural style and features of the Women's College, specifically defined by the Italianate tower, bear striking similarities with the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital (1893) and Upton Grey (1894). The expansion of the Women's College in the later 1950s and 1960s is representative of the impact of the Murray Report on Australian universities and residential colleges at this period and of the significance of AUC funding to their development.
Integrity/Intactness: The original building is notable for its integrity, which contributes substantially to its heritage value.
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.

Recommended management:

The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I4514 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenNSW Heritage Office2005Heritage Register Listing at www.heritage.nsw.gov.au

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: Local Government
Database number: 2420053


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