Winthrop Hall University of Western Australia is one of the Hackett Memorial Buildings funded by the “munificent bequest received from the first Chancellor of the University, Sir John Winthrop Hackett”.
Winthrop Hall measures 135 feet long by 60 feet wide with a height from floor to ceiling of 50 feet. The Hall features a Clock Tower, a glazed terracotta gryphon’s frieze that circles the building just under the roof eaves, an undercroft and a reflection pool at its front.It seats 1069 people in the body of the Hall and 150 or more on the dais.(The Hall, as well as other Hackett Memorial Buildings, is permanently entered into the Register of Heritage Places.
At its highest point Winthrop Hall’s clock tower measures 150 feet. As well as the clock, it has six rooms that originally accommodated staff and research students.A Melbourne company, Messrs Ingran Bros, installed the first clock in 1929. The dial was made of ‘opus sectile’, an enamel finish on tile. After 1945 Ennis and Sons rebuilt the master clock. The dial was replaced in 1953 with one made of terracotta. In 1964 Mr Ron Ennis installed a new electric master clock.
The Hall was designed to ensure optimum acoustics for events such as public speaking and concerts.
Architectural design features including layered walls and the use of sound absorbing materials, particularly Australian Coogee stone, were used to ensure the best sound quality. It included a specially designed ceiling that allowed sound waves to escape and not reflect back into the building. This was achieved through the use of strips of matting placed between the ceiling beams to allow the sound waves to escape.
Other features used to enhance acoustics, particularly a speaker’s voice, were a reinforced jarrah screen and the use of pine-wood as the construction material for the dais floor. The jarrah screen, within which the Henry Holiday’s Cartoons were framed, sat on the dais but was later replaced by the Winthrop Hall Organ in 1965.