University of Sydney Quadrangle

University of Sydney Quadrangle

University of Sydney Quadrangle is a prominent sandstone building located within the University of Sydney Camperdown Campus. Taking over 100 years to complete, the Quadrangle was designed and developed by numerous contributors including Edmund Blacket, James Barnet, and Leslie Wilkinson.The original building included the Great Hall and was constructed between 1855 and 1862. Construction on the quadrangle began in 1854, it had four sides by 1926,and was completed in the 1960s after several stages of development. It comprises the Great Hall, MacLaurin Hall, Faculty of Arts office and the Nicholson Museum. MacLaurin Hall was constructed from 1902-1904 and was designed by Walter Liberty Vernon. The architectural style of the Quadrangle is gothic revival. The building is mostly constructed of sandstone and is unique in the Australian architectural landscape. At the time of its completion, the Quadrangle was ‘the largest public building in the colony.’ The Traditional Indigenous owners of the land on which the Quadrangle was built belonged to the Cadigal and Wangal tribes of the Eora people.The main entrance – constructed first along with the Great Hall – is underneath the clock tower, which hold one of only two carillons in Australia.

Robert Strachan Wallace, the university’s vice chancellor from 1928 to 1947, upon taking up his position found the quadrangle to be “overgrown, and the grounds beyond…in much worse repair”. He embarked on a restoration program, for which he became known as the “building vice chancellor”.

The Quadrangle design is based on those of Oxford and Cambridge. It contains one of only two carillons in Australia, the other being the one on Aspen Island in Canberra.

The Quadrangle is categorised under Sandstone Universities which are informally known as Australia’s oldest universities. Commonly known as the first building for Australia’s first university, the Quadrangle itself is built in an anachronistic style, which was already outdated by the time it was built. Edmund Blacket , one of the architects responsible for the design of the Quadrangle, was also known for other works in Sydney such as St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Blacket primarily focused on Victorian Gothic Revival architecture, which influenced James Barnet’s design of Sydney University’s Andersen Stuart Building. In 1924, the Quadrangle comprised four walls, in which are included bronze pipes which state the year they were placed. The final completion of the Quadrangle’s exterior display was during the 1960s, which included work on the West Tower.