usyd fringe

The Physics building has a distinctively Mediterranean character as per the persuasian of the main architect, Prof. Leslie Wilkinson who collaborated with R. Keith Harris. The land used to accomodate the Physics building had previously been in the possession of St. Paul’s College. The College stipulated as a condition of the exchange that the NE vista from the college to the Quad was not interrupted.

The building was constructed between 1923 and 1926 at a cost of 77, 000 pounds. It represented a significant dent into the 300,000 pounds granted by the State Government in 1920 to accomodate a swelling of student admissions. Between 1917 and 1920 the student body had almost doubled, placing strain on the existing infrastructure.

Marsh Lawson Mushroom Research Unit, University of Sydney, Darlington Campus. An experimental facility for testing chemicals used in the mushroom growing industry to minimise fungicide degradation and control the effects of pest and disease. View high resolution

Marsh Lawson Mushroom Research Unit, University of Sydney, Darlington Campus. An experimental facility for testing chemicals used in the mushroom growing industry to minimise fungicide degradation and control the effects of pest and disease.

The Blackburn Building proudly exhibits the influence of the American Art Deco tradition on the architectural flavour of the University. Constructed in 1933 to house the new medical school, the building was financed by the Rockefeller Foundation to the sum of 100, 000 pounds. This support enabled the establishment of laboratory facilities to support a medical curriculum and it represented the first facilities provided at the University for medical research.  

The building is structured around a central octagon that boasted a library, pathology museum and animal house. The pathology museum remains in the present day as a teaching resource to students from the University. A steel and reinforced frame forms the inner structure of the building which is clad with dark red brickwork and sandstone embellishments. The brickwork is attractively set off by copper downpipes and roof guttering which frame the slate clad mansard roof. The building was designed by Evan Smith, NSW Government Architect (1931-33) and Kell and Rigby (1932-3).  

At the moment there appears to be some extensive work being down on the building, laying down new electrical lines throughout.

The Pharmacy Building was built between 1888 and 1889 and is significant in Australia for being one of the oldest scientific laboratories in continuous use. It was originally used by chemists at the University, being designed as a purpose-built facility by then Professor of Chemistry, Archibald Liversidge.  Liversidge had travelled extensively through Europe, America and Japan to encounter the best laboratory practice in use worldwide at that time, and this knowledge was brought back to Sydney where he designed the fittings and equipment for the laboratory. The building was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet, an individual with an illustrious career that included the design of the Macquarie Lighthouse at South Head, Garden Place (the Sydney International Exhibition Building, 1879), defence works at Port Jackson and Botany Bay, a large number of police stations and post offices throughout the state as well as the Medical School at the University, amongst other accomplishments.

In the 1920s the laboratories were significantly altered by Leslie Wilkinson, who was responsible for the redesign of buildings lining Science Road. The building converted to a double-storey structure and the frontage to Science Road took on a neoclassical style. A balance room was also added between 1923 and 1924.

Character Sketches from a Distracted Fisher Library Patron
Today we take a look at the Fisher Library, but not the one you may be familiar with, standing proudly next to the monolithic “stacks”. The former Fisher Library, now the MacLaurin Hall, was located in the neo-Gothic building at the south-west corner of the Quadrangle. The upper floor, with its grand chamber used as the reading room was a bright setting with large, multi-panelled windows filtering in light from each wall. In the northern arm of the building (where the grand entrance staircase is now situated) stood five floors of book stacks.
There was a rife tradition of students complaining about the noisy reading room, but the librarians were the most incensed, continually posting less than discrete messages for students to be quiet or leave.
But to get the best sense of the queer creatures who inhabited the Fisher, we only have to go so far as the Hermes publication of 1924 where a distracted student writes about the characters there.

… The books drops again, and I look around for enlightenment.
Close by, is a classmate who, I know, is preparing the same awful essay, but, what a difference! Apparently quite happy and unconcerned she writes page after page of notes, oblivious to all else. I shake my head in awe and admiration of one who does not understand, and pass on. Essays are evidently very pressing just now- most heads are bent and motionless in the effort of perfect concentration ; legs offer much more variety, I think.
There is a gentleman perched on the extreme and perilious edge of his chair, with his lower limbs extending marvellously before him ; his head is thrown back, and his expression is one of rapt and profound cognition, evidently a perfect specimen of the student species. At length he sies and his hand fumbles for and in, his waistcoat pocket. Breathless, I gaze- the plan of some new invention, perhaps? The data of a new discovery? Alas! the sporting column of a “Daily Guardian.”
Dissolusioned, disappointed, I turn away and resume my observation of the attitudes of study. There, is a pair of legs encircling in wondrous wise the legs of a chair, there- another stretching far behind and beneath their apparent owner, and so on, as far as the eye can reach continues this pageant of positions.
I select the most effective looking and prepare to copy it, but my chair scrapes and all the library looks at me, whereupon I develop a profound interest in the principles of logic. But before I find the place, I hear a low murmur  and a suppressed giggle- two girls are doing prose together…
For whatever they lack in gravity, however, their neighbour fully atones- he is what the disrespectful and irrelevant might term a “dictionary fiend.” His hair is ruffled, his brows drawn, and, despite a pyramid of books before him, he rises from time and time and, with determined tread, strides over to consult another and yet another mighty tome. Behold! a model of mental application, I reflect ; an object lesson for all, such as I. He will become a language authority- one of the epoch- making men of our time perhaps, but- how uninteresting to spend one’s glorious youth ensconsed behind a dictionary!
….Suddenly, the clock strikes one o’clock! Guiltily I grab my book, chairs are moved noisily and therre is a general stir. Shall I?- I think longingly of Manning- Ah yes! I join the procession streaming towards the door- Oh, unhappy one! a whole hour and you have learnt nothing- nothing? Ah, surely no! There are other things than books, to study in the Fisher.
View high resolution

Character Sketches from a Distracted Fisher Library Patron

Today we take a look at the Fisher Library, but not the one you may be familiar with, standing proudly next to the monolithic “stacks”. The former Fisher Library, now the MacLaurin Hall, was located in the neo-Gothic building at the south-west corner of the Quadrangle. The upper floor, with its grand chamber used as the reading room was a bright setting with large, multi-panelled windows filtering in light from each wall. In the northern arm of the building (where the grand entrance staircase is now situated) stood five floors of book stacks.

There was a rife tradition of students complaining about the noisy reading room, but the librarians were the most incensed, continually posting less than discrete messages for students to be quiet or leave.

But to get the best sense of the queer creatures who inhabited the Fisher, we only have to go so far as the Hermes publication of 1924 where a distracted student writes about the characters there.

… The books drops again, and I look around for enlightenment.

Close by, is a classmate who, I know, is preparing the same awful essay, but, what a difference! Apparently quite happy and unconcerned she writes page after page of notes, oblivious to all else. I shake my head in awe and admiration of one who does not understand, and pass on. Essays are evidently very pressing just now- most heads are bent and motionless in the effort of perfect concentration ; legs offer much more variety, I think.

There is a gentleman perched on the extreme and perilious edge of his chair, with his lower limbs extending marvellously before him ; his head is thrown back, and his expression is one of rapt and profound cognition, evidently a perfect specimen of the student species. At length he sies and his hand fumbles for and in, his waistcoat pocket. Breathless, I gaze- the plan of some new invention, perhaps? The data of a new discovery? Alas! the sporting column of a “Daily Guardian.”

Dissolusioned, disappointed, I turn away and resume my observation of the attitudes of study. There, is a pair of legs encircling in wondrous wise the legs of a chair, there- another stretching far behind and beneath their apparent owner, and so on, as far as the eye can reach continues this pageant of positions.

I select the most effective looking and prepare to copy it, but my chair scrapes and all the library looks at me, whereupon I develop a profound interest in the principles of logic. But before I find the place, I hear a low murmur  and a suppressed giggle- two girls are doing prose together…

For whatever they lack in gravity, however, their neighbour fully atones- he is what the disrespectful and irrelevant might term a “dictionary fiend.” His hair is ruffled, his brows drawn, and, despite a pyramid of books before him, he rises from time and time and, with determined tread, strides over to consult another and yet another mighty tome. Behold! a model of mental application, I reflect ; an object lesson for all, such as I. He will become a language authority- one of the epoch- making men of our time perhaps, but- how uninteresting to spend one’s glorious youth ensconsed behind a dictionary!

….Suddenly, the clock strikes one o’clock! Guiltily I grab my book, chairs are moved noisily and therre is a general stir. Shall I?- I think longingly of Manning- Ah yes! I join the procession streaming towards the door- Oh, unhappy one! a whole hour and you have learnt nothing- nothing? Ah, surely no! There are other things than books, to study in the Fisher.

A Timely Sketch of the Union
On the eve of a rally to save the financial viability of the Student Union (Take the Quad), we take a trip back to see what students in 1924 thought about the role of the organisation, courtesy of the student publication Hermes.
The services may have changed a bit since then;

The cinematograph lantern is available to University societies at a low rate for either films or ordinary lantern slides..
The small room off the new Exchange is now in use as a typewriting office…
Many other services have been arranged- for example, members can leave in the Exchange boots for repair and clothing for repair, dyeing and cleaning.
A Car Service enables members to obtain a motor-car at very short notice on application…
                                                                Hermes, p. 40-1

But the fiercly protective attitude of students towards their Union is timeless..

As far as the extension of the Union activities is concerned we of the present day are sometimes accused of being too commercial, and rushing too much towards American ideas. It is frequently pointed out that the Union is a social centre and a club, and that its work should be restricted to affairs that concern club life. But we have to consider that that if the Union is to fill the full purpose of a club, if it is to bind together the heterogenous collection of individuals which now forms our allegdly commercialised University, it must attract and hold all members of the University within its bounds, and provide for them material, as well as mental requirements…. [own italics]
At the same time we object to very strenously to any suggestion that the Union has departed from its old time traditions. It is not a hardened commercial organisation and we hope it never will be. Let us hope that future generations will deal with us of the present day kindly and feel towards us as we now feel towards those who helped form our Union 50 years ago. No greater reward can be given to any man working for the Union to-day than that he should be respected and looked up to in later years, as are the men of early Union days at our present day.
                                                    Hermes, p. 8-9

I, for one, would be pretty ashamed to have been at University when the oldest and strongest student-led Union in the country was brought to its knees. In 1924 the Union may have needed to reflect criticism of encroaching too far towards commercialisation, but today the resources provided to it by the University are its lifeblood, and we should do whatever it to takes to thwart this present attempt to pull the plug. View high resolution

A Timely Sketch of the Union

On the eve of a rally to save the financial viability of the Student Union (Take the Quad), we take a trip back to see what students in 1924 thought about the role of the organisation, courtesy of the student publication Hermes.

The services may have changed a bit since then;

The cinematograph lantern is available to University societies at a low rate for either films or ordinary lantern slides..

The small room off the new Exchange is now in use as a typewriting office…

Many other services have been arranged- for example, members can leave in the Exchange boots for repair and clothing for repair, dyeing and cleaning.

A Car Service enables members to obtain a motor-car at very short notice on application…

                                                                Hermes, p. 40-1

But the fiercly protective attitude of students towards their Union is timeless..

As far as the extension of the Union activities is concerned we of the present day are sometimes accused of being too commercial, and rushing too much towards American ideas. It is frequently pointed out that the Union is a social centre and a club, and that its work should be restricted to affairs that concern club life. But we have to consider that that if the Union is to fill the full purpose of a club, if it is to bind together the heterogenous collection of individuals which now forms our allegdly commercialised University, it must attract and hold all members of the University within its bounds, and provide for them material, as well as mental requirements…. [own italics]

At the same time we object to very strenously to any suggestion that the Union has departed from its old time traditions. It is not a hardened commercial organisation and we hope it never will be. Let us hope that future generations will deal with us of the present day kindly and feel towards us as we now feel towards those who helped form our Union 50 years ago. No greater reward can be given to any man working for the Union to-day than that he should be respected and looked up to in later years, as are the men of early Union days at our present day.

                                                    Hermes, p. 8-9

I, for one, would be pretty ashamed to have been at University when the oldest and strongest student-led Union in the country was brought to its knees. In 1924 the Union may have needed to reflect criticism of encroaching too far towards commercialisation, but today the resources provided to it by the University are its lifeblood, and we should do whatever it to takes to thwart this present attempt to pull the plug.

The Bosch Building (1A)

The Bosch Building (1A) was constructed in 1967, with a second building carrying the same name (known as Bosch Building 1B to the rear) being constructed in the following year.

The namesake for the building was Mr. George Henry Bosch (1861-1934), a merchant and philanthropist who was born at Osborne’s Flat near Yackandandah, Victoria. Bosch was a generous benefactor to the university, personally donating large sums of starting capital in addition to lobbying the Rockefeller Foundation during a visit the the USA in 1930 to provide a grant for the establishment of a new medical building at the University (the Blackburn Building).

Bosch’s contributions in 1928- a sum of £200,000 comprising property and securities- enabled the creation of chairs of medicine, surgery and bacteriology at the University.

The Transient Building emerged in the post-war reconstruction phase of the university’s history, where hastily built, austere buildings were constructed in a creep to Redfern and Newtown. The influx of returned soldiers to the university forced a new program of construction, which was supported by the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme. In the following decade the university crossed City Road to acquire vast tracts of the Darlington suburb.

The building has a timber frame and is clad by corrugated iron sheets that replaced the earlier sheet asbestos outer cladding. The transient building has been regularly condemned as a blight on the univeristy’s landscape, but the sentiment is not universally shared. The building invokes the utilitarian functionalism of the war period and should be celebrated as an unassuming, industrial gem.

The Botany Building was recommended for construction in late 1923 to provide for a laboratory, herbarium and teaching space located adjacent to the Macleay Museum. The Gothic Revival building displays the sensibility of Professor Leslie Wilkinson (Professor of Architecture between 1919 and 1947) who was responsible for supervising a the architectural masterplan of the university during the years 1919 and 1925.

In 1918 Wilkinson was appointed to the Chair of Architecture at the University of Sydney. Upon arrival, Wilkinson encountered what he saw as disorder in the arrangement of buildings and unsatisfactory banality in terms of their design. His vision was for the university’s architecture to celebrate harmony, balance and order and this outlook was grounded by his conviction that the appearance of the university shaped the experience of learning there. Wilkinson rallied against the early reliance on cheaply designed, utilitarian architectural forms.  

This outlook foreshadowed the reason for his falling out of favour with the university’s administration. Though aware of the tight budgets available for the building efforts, Wilkinson persisted with the architectural embellishments that would bring his vision faithfully to fruition. Wilkinson’s legacy is best seen in the streetscape of Science Road, which is noted as having heritage significance by the National Trust and also by its inclusion in the Register of the National Estate.   

The namesake for the John Woolley Building was a professor and clergyman who was a vocal advocate for providing a liberal education to the Sydney public. Woolley lectured at the University for a time, and later held a post as a trustee of the Australian Museum. Woolley was also a councillor of the Philosophical Society of New South Wales.

The building was designed by Government architects under the guidance of Walter Liberty Vernon (widely known for designing the Art Gallery of NSW and also renovations c. 1902 of the Fisher Library). At the time of the opening on 20 September 1909, the building was occupied by the engineering school who utilised the detached workshops to the West for their studies. When, in 1968, the engineering school was relocated to a site in Darlington, the facility came to be used by Arts and Agriculture. In the present day the eastern part of the building is occupied by the School of Letters, Art and Media and the western workshops by the United States Studies Centre. 

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