St John's College, University of Sydney including interiors and grounds | NSW Environment & Heritage

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St John's College, University of Sydney including interiors and grounds

Item details

Name of item: St John's College, University of Sydney including interiors and grounds
Other name/s: College of St John The Evangelist
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Education
Category: University
Primary address: 8A Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
8A Missenden RoadCamperdownSydney  Primary Address
8A Missenden RoadUniversity of SydneySydney  Alternate Address
Missenden RoadCamperdownSydney  Alternate Address
Parramatta RoadCamperdownSydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

St John’s College is the second oldest University College in Australia and has been in continuous occupation of this site since 1863. The College is a landmark building for Australian Catholic Church as a representation for equality with other denominations in NSW and as the culmination of the Catholic education system. The ambitious size and halting progress of the buildings is evidence of the tension between the aspirations of the Church hierarchy and the resources of the Catholic community. The buildings have strong associations with the many important 19th century and 20th century architects, scholars, as well as with many important figures of catholic lay and clerical history in New South Wales and Australia. The college has exceptional social significance to its large body of alumni, and present students and staff, church and community leaders.

The buildings form the grandest and most distinguished university college complex in NSW being a showcase for catholic achievement in the arts. The main building is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival Architecture in Australia and is a realisation of A.W.N. Pugin’s medieval ideas for the True principals of pointed architecture realised by leading church architects of the 19th century, William Wardell and Edmund Blacket. It has an outstanding chapel, library and great hall arranged around a spectacular stone imperial stair. With its later tower and wings developed on the "H" plan layout of Wardell, the college is complete and retains most of its original large spatial setting including a gatehouse and early trees.

The college houses an outstanding collection of original and later furnishings, pictures, liturgical vessels, missals, vestments, sacramental objects, historic archives, library of books and statues.

The buildings and contents of college have great value for research into its own history, the history of the Catholic Church in New South Wales, the history of architecture in Australia, and art history.

The grounds are important in providing an appropriate setting for the college buildings and they are one of the few remaining large undeveloped open spaces in the university. They also have historic significance as evidence of the role of sport in the collegiate tradition.

The Gate Lodge, fence and gates on Parramatta Road are of considerable significance for the contribution they make to the identity of the College Site. They were designed to be part of a group of gate lodges and fences that surround the university and have significance for their contribution to that group.
Date significance updated: 14 Mar 18
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: Original College: William Wardell and Edmund Blacket
Construction years: 1863-2009
Physical description: The main college comprises a large three storey complex built of sandstone. The original building is built in an imposing Gothic Revival style with later 20th century stone clad additions being constructed in a more modern interpretation of that style and a 2009 sandstone wing fronting Missenden Road which has created a central quadrangle. The northern wing and central section were constructed in 1862 which contain the principal internal spaces of the complex, the Great Hall, The Chapel and Brennan Hall. The tower was added in 1937. There were four storey extensions carried out in the 20th century - the 1938 Wing designed by Hennessy and Hennessy Co, the Menzies Wing (1962) by McDonnell, Mar and Anderson Architects, the Polding Wing (1967) by McDonnell and Mar Architects. The 2009 building, known as the Hintz Block, was designed by Altis Architecture.

With its later tower and wings developed on the "H" plan layout of Wardell, the college is complete and retains most of its original large spatial setting including a gatehouse and early trees.

The college houses an outstanding collection of original and later furnishings, pictures, liturgical vessels, missals, vestments, sacramental objects, historic archives, library of books and statues.

The main entry driveway to the college is from Parramatta Road. Highlighting this entry, is a sandstone Gate Lodge built in 1909-10, when Parramatta Road was widened, and stone gate piers and gates, which were reconstructed in 1916.

The principle presentation of the lodge is to the entry driveway to the college. Of single storey in scale, the exterior of the lodge comprises of course rubble stone walls with dressed quoins and sills, and a dressed stringcourse at sill level. Windows are timber casements and there is a label mould over the southern gable wall window. There are two porches, with skillion roofs, on the north and southern sides of the building. The roof has been reclad with concrete tiles and the chimneys have been removed.

The Parramatta Road entry to the college is defined by two vehicular gates affixed to two sandstone pillars with carved St John’s College Coat of Arms and decorative caps, flanked on either side by pedestrian iron gates and smaller sandstone piers. Lights to the piers have been removed. Curved sections of palisade fence with spear tops and top rails adjoin the outer piers. Phoenix palms originally lined the driveway but only one survives.

The large grounds provide an impressive setting for the college buildings allowing distant views, particularly from Parramatta Road.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:17 Nov 09
Further information: 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
Former use: University Residential College

History

Historical notes: This site forms part of the land of the Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of land within the City of Sydney council boundaries. For information about the Aboriginal history of the local area see the City’s Barani website: http://www.sydneybarani.com.au/

The University of Sydney was incorporated as an Act of Parliament on 1 October 1850, after much debate as to the intended secular nature of the University and fierce opposition from many religious denominations, a compromise was reached to adopt a collegiate system.

The northern wing and central section were constructed in 1862 which contain the principal internal spaces of the complex, the Great Hall, The Chapel and Brennan Hall. The tower was added in 1937. There were four storey extensions carried out in the 20th century - the 1938 Wing designed by Hennessy and Hennessy Co, the Menzies Wing (1962) by McDonnell, Mar and Anderson Architects, the Polding Wing (1967) by McDonnell and Mar Architects.

St John’s College has undertaken formal conservation planning for its culturally important site since 2001.Under the policies of the 2001 plan the Hintze Wing, to the design of Altis Architecture, was constructed in 2009. In addition, a verandah designed by Edmund Blacket was reconstructed and the grand stairs to the great hall, which were designed by college’s original architect William Wardell, have been built.

In 2008 the boundary to the University was moved to provide for the construction of the Charles Perkins Centre on original college land which reduced the size of the College grounds.

In 2015 the strategic plan of college was revised. In development of this strategy, a masterplan for the entire site has been prepared.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
St John’s College is the second oldest University College in Australia and has been in continuous occupation of this site since 1863. The College is a landmark building for Australian Catholic Church as a representation for equality with other denominations in NSW and as the culmination of the Catholic education system. The ambitious size and halting progress of the buildings is evidence of the tension between the aspirations of the Church hierarchy and the resources of the Catholic community.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The buildings have strong associations with the many important 19th century and 20th century architects, scholars, as well as church and community leaders. The grounds also have historic significance as evidence of the role of sport in the collegiate tradition.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The buildings form the grandest and most distinguished university college complex in NSW being a showcase for catholic achievement in the arts. The main building is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival Architecture in Australia and is a realisation of A.W.N. Pugin’s medieval ideas for the True principals of pointed architecture realised by leading church architects of the 19th century, William Wardell and Edward Blacket.
It has an outstanding chapel, library and great hall arranged around a spectacular stone imperial stair. With its later tower and wings developed on the "H" plan layout of Wardell, the college is complete and retains most of its original large spatial setting including a gatehouse and early trees.

St John's houses an outstanding collection of original and later furnishings, pictures, liturgical vessels, missals, vestments, sacramental objects, historic archives, library of books and statues.

The grounds are important in providing an appropriate setting for the college buildings and they are one of the few remaining large undeveloped open spaces in the university.

The Gate Lodge, fence and gates on Parramatta Road are of considerable significance for the contribution they make to the identity of the College Site. They were designed to be part of a group of gate lodges and fences that surround the university and have significance for their contribution to that group.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The college has exceptional social significance to its large body of alumni, and present students and staff, church and community leaders.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
St John’s College is an early and rare example of a University College in Australia, being been in continuous occupation of this site since 1863.
Integrity/Intactness: Moderate to 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 main building, gate lodge and entry gates are to be retained and conserved. With any new development, the landscape setting and curtilage of the main college building is to be retained. All conservation, adaptive reuse and future development should be undertaken in accordance with the Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance (The Burra Charter) and in accordance with policies of the Conservation Management Plan prepared for the site. 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 to areas of less significance, should not be visually prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls. A Heritage Impact Statement, should be prepared for the site prior to any major works being undertaken.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I6714 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 View detail
WrittenCase and Lowe Pty Ltdr2007Non- Indigenous Archaeologist Assessment, St John's, University of Sydney
WrittenClive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners2001College of St John the Evangelist, Univeristy of Sydney Conservation Management Plan
WrittenHector Abrahams Architects2016St John's College: Conservation Management Plan

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: 2420058


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