McMaster Laboratory | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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McMaster Laboratory

Item details

Name of item: McMaster Laboratory
Other name/s: The F.d. McMaster Animal Health Laboratory
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Scientific Facilities
Category: Laboratory (scientific/ research)
Primary address: Parramatta Road, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006
Local govt. area: Sydney

Boundary:

The University of Sydney: Camperdown Campus
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Parramatta Road, The University of SydneySydneySydney  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
University of SydneyUniversity 

Statement of significance:

The McMaster Laboratory enjoyed an international reputation as a centre for research into the diseases of sheep and important connections with the scientific community both in Australia and overseas. A considerable body of documentary evidence and other historical evidence complements the surviving physical fabric of the institution.
The laboratory played a significant part in the early history of the CSIRO and was one of several co-operative ventures between the CSIRO and the University in a range of scientific disciplines. The laboratory was directly associated with Sir Frederick McMaster, a noted pastoralist, foundation member of the State committee of CSIR and an exponent of up-to-date scientific practice in the running of his own pastoral properties. The building is an exemplar of the work of the architect Samuel Lipson and is one of a significant group of CSIR buildings within the University built in the Depression years of the early 1930s.
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: Samuel Lipman - 1930, Stephenson & Turner - 1956
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1930-1931
Physical description: The Master Laboratory is neoclassical in style and appears to be influenced by the work of contemporary American designers such as McKim Mead and White. This main facade was designed to be symmetrical about the central portico. The portico is recessed with a central archway containing a panelled door flanked by a pair of Ionic columns with an entablature and a fanlight in the form of a diocletian window. These elements are sandstone as are the two carved medallions that flank the archway and the cornice. The symmetry of the composition is reinforced by the quoins of the side winds, sandstone urns in front of the quoins and cedars which occur in the centre of each wing. The voussoirs to the central archway and the quoins are constructed of brick which projects to create a shadow line. The windows which were replaced in the 1950s all have horizontal divisions. The terracotta roofscape has been marred by numerous vents. The additions made in the 1950s generally follow the architectural vocabulary established by the first stage of the building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Refer to 1999 University of Sydney Heritage Fabric Survey. Interior not assessed.
Date condition updated:17 Aug 00
Modifications and dates: 1956 - Additional wing and replace windows.
Further information: An overall study of the Veterinary Precinct is recommended to analyse the unique structures.
Current use: University Facility
Former use: Animal Health Research Laboratory

History

Historical notes: Established in 1926 by the Commonwealth Government to address the problems of primary industry, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recommended in 1928 that a Division of Animal Health be organised. Responding to a challenge by the Prime Minister S M Bruce to the pastoral industry to share research costs with the government (through CSIR), Frederick McMaster offered 20,000 pounds for the erection of an animal health research laboratory at Sydney University. An agreement between the University and the CSIR (which was to fund staff and equipment) was adopted by the Senate on 14 October 1929. Designed by Samuel Lipson of the Commonwealth Department of Works, the building was constructed facing Parramatta Road on infilled land (the former Orphan School Creek) and was opened on 26 November 1931. Of simple plan but quality detailing, the building had ample natural light and ventilation.
A further donation by Sir Frederick McMaster in memory of his son funded an additional wing, at right angles to, and forward of the original building. The Ian McMaster Wing designed by Stephenson & Turner was opened on 14 November 1956. The steel windows of the original building were replaced with aluminium at this time. The laboratory was vacated by the CSIRO in 1995 and converted for use by the Department of Veterinary Pathology.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Science-Activities associated with systematic observations, experiments and processes for the explanation of observable phenomena (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The McMaster Laboratory enjoyed an international reputation as a centre for research into the diseases of sheep and important connections with the scientific community both in Australia and overseas. A considerable body of documentary evidence and other historical evidence complements the surviving physical fabric of the institution.

The laboratory played a significant part in the early history of the CSIRO and was one of several co-operative ventures between the CSIRO and the University in a range of scientific disciplines. The laboratory was directly associated with Sir Frederick McMaster, a noted pastoralist, foundation member of the State committee of CSIR and an exponent of up-to-date scientific practice in the running of his own pastoral properties. An integral part of the Veterinary Science Precinct, one of a series of purpose built facilities.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A fine example of the work of Samuel Lipson who followed contemporary overseas trends. Following the architectural vocabulary for the Science Faculties established by Wilkinson in the 1920s in Science Road. Indicating the restrained classicism favoured by the Commonwealth. The symmetry of the facades was reflected by the Landscaping, evidence of which survives.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
For its continued use as an animal health laboratory.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
As a research centre. Fabric has the potential to indicate changing research practices and changes in laboratory design generally.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
A rare example of a purpose built laboratory dating from 1930. The purpose built facilities within the Veterinary Precinct are rare if not unique.
Integrity/Intactness: Substantially intact externally with the exception of window joinery and the addition of services. Interior not assessed, refer to the CMP.
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:

Ensure that the impact on any proposal on the heritage significance of the buildings, and their setting, is assessed when planning new works. Refer to the detailed conservation policies contained within the McMaster Animal Health Laboratory, University of Sydney, Conservation Management Plan, 1995 by Jyoti Sommerville P/L for this building. Future works should aim to implement these policies. Refer to the 1999 University of Sydney Heritage Fabric Survey.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerUniversity of Sydney    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Graphic 1930 
Written  Conservation Management Plan. (October 1995)
Written  Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol. 10 Entry for F D McMaster
WrittenJyoti Somerville Pty Ltd McMaster Animal Health Laboratory University of Sydney.

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: State Government
Database number: 4726027


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