St Paul's College Group, University of Sydney | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


St Paul's College Group, University of Sydney

Item details

Name of item: St Paul's College Group, University of Sydney
Type of item: Built
Category: Other
Primary address: 9 City Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
9 City RoadCamperdownSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

St Paul’s College is of exceptional significance as Australia’s oldest university college and as one of three foundation colleges affiliated with the University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest University. St Paul’s College is historically significant for its role in the establishment and development of tertiary development in Australia, and its association with many eminent Australians.

St Paul’s College is a remarkable college with its buildings and grounds, and includes the best Gothic revival college quadrangle in Australia, including the buildings of Ernest Blacket (1817-1883).

The site, buildings and grounds together with the St Paul’s College archives held on the site provide unique resources into the history of the place as well as the history of the University of Sydney and of tertiary education and collegiate life in Australia more generally.

The college is held in high esteem by current and past students.
Date significance updated: 24 May 13
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.


Designer/Maker: Various including: Edmund Blacket (1856), Cyril Blacket (1914) Stephenson & Turner (1947)
Construction years: 1856-1864
Physical description: The site located at 9 City Road, Camperdown, contains the college buildings, Warden’s Lodge, the College Chapel, Gatekeepers Lodge, an oval, and associated recreation and landscape areas.

The layout of the college is based on the English Quadrangular type. The Old Quadrangle was begun in 1856. It is now has a complete four-sided quadrangle of building’s executed in Sydney sandstone with state roofs. Its architecture is in the main Early Gothic with some Perpendicular Gothic and later additions in various alterations of the Gothic style.

Closer to City Road is the second quadrangle, which is built on three sides, includes the Warden’s Lodge, and is open to the driveway. Projecting into the centre of the modern quadrangle is the College Chapel constructed in clinker brick with a low pitch copper roof and needle spire. It presents a dramatic large set of stain glass windows held in re-enforced concrete mullions.

Both quadrangles are arranged around steep level lawns. The general scale of building is two storeys, although in some places the buildings attain as much as four levels by the use of attics and basements.

The college also has a number of other interesting minor buildings, the Edwardian Gothic Revival style Gatekeeper's Lodge, attirbuted to W.L. Vernon in the south- west corner, the cricket pavilion, score board and Max Lawrence Tennis Pavilion. There are currently two tennis courts and a basket ball court to the lower northern side of the two quadrangles.

To the east of the drive way is the large oval bounded to the east by a large hedgerow of Hills Weeping Figs, Lombardy Poplars and Eucalypts dating from the 1950s.

There are also a number of other main plantings including a row of brush box along the drive way, large trees inside the quadrangle and a stand of eucalyptus and other trees on the north side of the oval.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Overall well maintained .
Date condition updated:24 May 13
Modifications and dates: 1858 ( Radford and Blacket Wing, E Blacket) , 1859 ( West Blacket Wing, E Blacket) 1864 ( Three bays of Cloister added to common rooms to design of E. Blacket) , 1887 (Wardens Lodge, Blacket Brothers) , 1915( West Wing Remodelled, Blacket Brothers), 1921 ( Garnsey Wing, Cyril Blacket) , 1947 (Denison Wing, Stephenson & Turner), 1961( Chapel Wing, Fowell Mansfield Jarvis & Maclurcan) , 1962 (Arnott Wing, Fowell Mansfield Jarvis & Maclurcan), 1966 (Tower Wing,. Fowell Mansfield Jarvis & Maclurcan) , 1968( Mansfield Memorial Library, Fowell Mansfield Jarvis & Maclurcan); 1985( Southern Cloister of the West Wing, Peter Reid); 2000 (Albert Wing, Clive Lucas Stapleton and Partners).
Further information: Under Sydney LEP 2012 the name listing of the college in Schedule 5 is described as "St Paul's College Group, University of Sydney, buildings and their interiors, quadrangles, oval and score board, cricket pavilion and grounds."

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 College of Residence
Former use: University College of Residence


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.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today.

In 1854, land comprising 120 acres was chosen at Grose Farm for the University and four affiliated colleges, with 16 acres sub-granted by the University for the site of St Paul's College in 1855.

Edmund Blacket's design for the College was approved in January 1856 and the foundation stone was laid that month. The design for the structure drew on the Oxbridge tradition and incorporated a quadrangular college arrangement, similar to that proposed for the University's Main Building. Three wings ( Radford Wing, Blacket Wing and West Blacket Wing), were completed by 1859.

The Wardens Lodge was completed in 1887 to a design by the Blacket Brothers and the East Wing (Radford Wing) was remodelled by the Blacket Brothers in 1915.

The oval was built on formerly low lying swampy ground in 1916 and was first used for sporting events in the 1920s. A dressing pavilion was constructed in 1927, and in 1932 a scoreboard was donated and erected at the end of the oval.

The sandstone Gothic revival style Gatekeeper's Lodge located on the edge of St Paul's Oval, attributed to the design of Walter Liberty Vernon, was completed in 1898. It is associated with the gates leading from City Road into the main campus of the University. In 1961 ownership of the lodge was passed to St Paul's in exchange for a small parcel of land in which an extension to the Physics Building was constructed.

The addition to the Eastern Range of St Pauls College was designed by Cyril Blacket in 1914. Cyril Blacket prepared plans to enclose the quadrangle in 1920 and also designed the Garnsey Wing which was completed in 1921.

In the 1930s a tree planting programme was commenced.

The addition to the Northern Range, the Denison Wing, was designed in 1947 by Stephenson & Turner.

Many other additions were added in subsequent years including the Chapel Wing (1961), Arnott Wing (1962), Tower Wing (1966), Mansfield Memorial Library (1968), which were all designed by the architecture firm Fowell Mansfield Jarvis and Maclurclan and in 1985 the Southern Cloister of the West Wing was completed by Peter Reed, it was donated by Professor C Salisbury.

The Albert Wing, completing the old Quadrangle, to a design by Clive Lucas Stapleton and Partners ( Hector Abrahams Heritage Architect) was opened in 2000.

(Source: St Paul's College: CMP 2012)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Residential-
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 history of St Paul's college from its inception through today, is significance as being a part of the establishment and development of tertiary education in Australia.

Established in 1855 on land sub-granted by the University of Sydney, St Paul's College is one of the three foundation colleges affiliated with the University of Sydney, Australia's first University, and is the oldest university college in Australia. Established as a residential college it continues to operate as such on its original site.

Differentiating itself from other early colleges, St Paul's belongs to the English university tradition (spacious but homely) and this model, first introduced in Australia by St Paul's, continued to be adapted for twentieth-century university colleges.

(source: St Paul's College CMP, 2012)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
St Paul's College has associations with many scholars, Wardens and notable Australians who worked/studied at the College, as well as a number of prominent architects who were responsible for the development of the college.

(Source: St Paul's College CMP, 2012)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
St Paul’s College is of aesthetic significance as an excellent example of early collegiate architecture in Australia.

The site planning, begun in the 1850s under Blacket, and continued in the 1920s under Wilkinson, is configured in such a way as to maintain significant spatial and visual relationships between the college and the University of Sydney.

The three wings designed by Ernest Blacket are an important and fine example of the work of one of Australia's leading 19th century architects. It is distinctive among his work because of the incentive placement of principal rooms and rare use of plate tracery.

The three wings designed by Edmund Blacket are the best Gothic revival collegiate buildings in Australia. The wing added up to 1948 are notable as consistent additions to the quadrangle.

The dining hall in its original form is among the best secular Gothic interiors in Australia comparable with the University of Sydney Great Hall and St John's dining hall.

The pre- 1921 buildings and the Denison Wing are part of the Gothic revival stone buildings which set the architectural character of the campus of the University of Sydney.

The additions by Fowell Mansfield Jarvis and Maclurcan which extend the architectural form of traditional college planning are among the finest work of that important Sydney architectural practice.

The Gatekeeper's Lodge , is significant as a Gothic Revival style building attributed to Walter Liberty Vernon, which is associated with gates leading from City Road. It is also of value for being part of group of gatehouses that surround the University of Sydney.

The buildings contain furnishings which are of independent historic and aesthetic significance (including portraits in the dining hall and the chairs and table in the senior common room) and all have a connection with the history of the college.

The buildings retain an important visual relationship to the main quadrangle buildings, evocative of the important relationship between the two institutions.

(Source: Howells (2007) and St Paul's College, CMP 2012)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The college is held in high esteem by current and past students and staff as demonstrated by the membership of the College Union, The College Foundation and the Pauline's, the College Alumni.

The esteem held for past Wardens of the College is demonstrated by the traditions of naming the College buildings after Wardens including Garnsey, Radford and Arnott.

(Source: St Paul's College CMP, 2012)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
St Paul's College retains its own archival record on site and are an important resource for understanding the history of both the College and University.

The buildings and fields of the College are an important source and setting for the history of the college and it students form 1856 to the present.

(Source: St Paul's College CMP, 2012)
SHR Criteria f)
St Paul's College is rare as the first college associated with the University of Sydney established in the mid 19th century. It introduced a domestic scale and communal based college model to Australia that influenced other university colleges into the mid 20th century.

The three wings designed by Edmund Blacket are distinctive among his work because of the incentive placement of principal rooms and rare use of plate tracery.
SHR Criteria g)
St Paul's College is representative of the residential colleges established at the University in the nineteenth century in its design and continuing operations.
Integrity/Intactness: High
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 collegiate character of the site with its domestic scale buildings, quadrangles and landscaped surrounds is to be retained and conserved. All new works are to be in accordance with the policies of the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) prepared for the College. A Heritage Impact Statement is to be prepared prior to any major works being undertaken measured against the existing CMP. The principal room layout and planning configuration of the significant buildings as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations to these buildings are to be confined r in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I5214 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
WrittenClive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners Pty Ltd2012St Paul's College Conservation Management Plan
WrittenJoan Kerr1983Edmund T Blacket
WrittenRichard Morgan1981The Growth and Development of St Paul's College
WrittenTrevor Howells2007University of Sydney Architecture

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

rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2420056

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.