University of Sydney Brief History
For illustrated list of buildings click here.


University of Sydney Crest

The University of Sydney

Motto Sidere mens eadem mutato (Latin: "The stars change, [but] the mind [remains] the same") 
Established 1850 
Type Public 
Staff 2,451 academic staff 
Chancellor Justice Kim Santow 
Vice-Chancellor Professor Gavin Brown 

Undergraduates 31,357 (2005) 
Postgraduates 14,609 (2005) 
Doctoral students 
Location Sydney, NSW Australia 
Campus setting Urban, parks 

The University of Sydney, established in Sydney in 1850, is the oldest university in Australia. It is a member of Australia's "Group of Eight" lobby group and remains one of the country's largest and most prestigious educational institutions. In 2005, the University of Sydney had 45,966 students and 2,300 (full-time equivalent) academic staff [1]. In November 2005, the University of Sydney was confirmed as one of Australia’s leading research universities, when it was again the recipient of the most grants of any Australian university from the Australian Research Council [2].

Centred on the Oxbridge-inspired grounds of the University's Main Campus on the south-western outskirts of the Sydney CBD, the University of Sydney now possesses a number of campuses as a result of mergers in recent years.


Enrolments at the University of Sydney
During 1848, William Wentworth proposed a plan to expand the existing Sydney College into a university in the Legislative Council. Wentworth argued that a state university was imperative for the growth of a society aspiring towards self-government, and that it would provide the opportunity for 'the child of every class, to become great and useful in the destinies of his country'. It would take two attempts on Wentworth's behalf however, before the plan was finally adopted.

The University was established via the passage of the University of Sydney Act, which was signed on October 1, 1850. Two years later, the University was inaugurated on October 11, 1852. On February 27, 1858, the University received its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria, giving degrees conferred by the University equal rank and recognition as those those given by universities in the UK [3]. By 1859, the university had moved to its current site in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown.

In 1858, the passage of the Electoral Act provided for the university to become a constituency for the Legislative Assembly as soon as there were 100 graduates with higher degrees. This seat in Parliament was first filled in 1876, but was abolished in 1880 one year after its second Member, Edmund Barton, was elected to the Legislative Assembly.

The University has a number of campuses and has continued to expand over the years. Until recently, the University also operated the Museum of Contemporary Art.

As of 2005, the campuses are:

Camperdown/Darlington (main) campus

The Main Quadrangle of the University of Sydney
Originally housed in what is now Sydney Grammar School, in 1855, the government granted the university land in Grose Farm, three kilometres from the city, which is now the main Camperdown campus. The architect Edmund Blacket designed the original Neogothic sandstone Quadrangle and Great Tower buildings, which were completed in 1862. The great expansion of the university in the mid-20th century resulted in the acquisition of land in Darlington across City Road. The Camperdown/Darlington campus houses the headquarters of the University, and the Faculties of Arts, Science, Education and Social Work, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, Economics and Business, Architecture, and Engineering. It is also the home base of the large Faculty of Medicine, which has numerous affiliated teaching hospitals across the State.

The main campus is also the focus of student life at campus, with the student-run University of Sydney Union (also known simply as the Union) in possession of three buildings on-site - Wentworth, Manning and Holme Buildings. These buildings house the large proportion of the university's catering outlets, and provide space for game rooms, bars and function centres. One of the more prominent activities organised by the Union is the Orientation Week (or 'O-week'), centering on stalls set up by clubs and societies on the Front Lawns.

The University is currently undertaking a large capital works program, which will see the amalgamation of the smaller science and technical libraries into a larger library, and the construction of a central administration and student services building along City Road. A new building for the School of Information Technologies is under construction.

Mallett Street campus

Eastern Avenue in the Main Campus
The Mallett Street campus is home of the Faculty of Nursing. As of 2005, the Faculty no longer offers undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing programs.

Cumberland campus
Formerly an independent institution (the Cumberland College of Health Sciences), the Cumberland campus in the Sydney suburb of Lidcombe was incorporated into the University as part of the higher education reforms of the late 1980s. It is home to the Faculty of Health Sciences, which covers various allied health disciplines, including physiotherapy, speech therapy, radiation therapy, occupational therapy, etc.

Sydney Law School
Near St. James Railway Station in the centre of Sydney's business and legal district, the Sydney Law School is located across the road from the Supreme Court of New South Wales building. In 2007, the Faculty of Law will move to the main campus following the completion of the new law building between Fisher Library and the Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre and Auditorium Complex (on the site of the present Edgeworth David Building).

Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle
Main article: Sydney College of the Arts

The Sydney of the College of the Arts (SCA) is based in a former sanitorium in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle, overlooking Sydney Harbour. The college specialises in the creative arts.

Conservatorium of Music
The Conservatorium of Music is located near Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens a short distance from the Sydney Opera House; it was acquired by the University in the 1990s. It is not to be confused with the University of Sydney's main campus Department of Music, which was the subject of a notable documentary called Facing the Music.

Orange Agricultural College
Located at Orange in rural NSW, the Orange Agricultural College joined in 1994. Orange campus was principally the domain of the former Faculty of Rural Management; however other undergraduate courses from the Faculties of Arts, Science, Nursing and Pharmacy were also taught at Orange.

The Orange Campus and the Faculty of Rural Management were transferred to Charles Sturt University in 2005 amid objections from the staff and students of at the University of Sydney.

Camden campus
Located on Sydney's south-west rural fringe, the Camden campus houses research farms for agriculture and veterinary science.

Narrabri Plant Research Centre
The Narrabri Plant Research Centre is located at Narrabri, near the Queensland border.

Higher Education (Amalgamation) Act 1989

Sources of income for the University, 1900-2003, divided into three categories: government; fees; and investments, endowments and others
Under the terms of the Higher Education (Amalgamation) Act 1989 (NSW), the following bodies were incorporated into the University of Sydney in 1990:

the Sydney Branch of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music 
the Cumberland College of Health Sciences 
the Sydney College of the Arts of the Institute of the Arts 
the Sydney Institute of Education of the Sydney College of Advanced Education 
the Institute of Nursing Studies of the Sydney College of Advanced Education 
the Guild Centre of the Sydney College of Advanced Education. 
The Orange Agricultural College (OAC) was originally transferred to the University of New England under the Act, but then transferred to the University of Sydney in 1994, as part of the reforms to the University of New England undertaken by the University of New England Act 1993 and the Southern Cross University Act 1993. In January 2005, the University of Sydney transferred the OAC to Charles Sturt University.

The New England University College was founded as part of the University of Sydney in 1938, and separated to become the University of New England in 1954.

Colleges and faculties

Proportion of enrolments by faculty, 1900-2005
The University is comprised of seventeen faculties, which have been grouped into three colleges [4]:

College of Health Sciences 
Faculty of Dentistry 
Faculty of Health Sciences 
Faculty of Medicine 
Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery 
Faculty of Pharmacy 
College of Humanities and Social Sciences 
Faculty of Arts 
Faculty of Economics and Business 
Faculty of Education and Social Work 
Graduate School of Government 
Faculty of Law 
Sydney College of the Arts 
Sydney Conservatorium of Music 
College of Sciences and Technology 
Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources 
Faculty of Architecture 
Faculty of Engineering 
Faculty of Science 
Faculty of Veterinary Science 

University of Sydney Library

Fisher Library, the main building of the University of Sydney Library.
Main article: University of Sydney Library 
The University of Sydney Library consists of numerous individual libraries with the main building, Fisher Library, named after an early benefactor. The University library is the largest in the southern hemisphere, with a collection of over 5.1 million items. It possesses many rare items such as one of the two extant copies of the Gospel of Barnabas, and a first edition of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Sir Isaac Newton.

Museums and galleries
Nunerous museums and galleries are part of the university.

Nicholson Museum
Main article: Nicholson Museum 
Nicholson Museum of Antiquities contains the largest and most prestigious collection of antiquities in Australia. It is also the country's oldest university museum, and features ancient artefacts from Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, Rome, Cyprus and Mesopatamia, collected by the University over many years and added to by recent archaeological expeditions.

Macleay Museum
Main article: Macleay Museum 
The Macleay Museum is named after Alexander Macleay, whose collection of insects begun in the late eighteenth century was the basis upon which the museum was founded. It has developed into an extraordinary collection of natural history specimens, ethnographic artifacts, scientific instruments and historic photographs.

University Art Collection
The University Art Collection was founded in the 1860's and contains more than 2500 pieces, constantly growing through donation, bequests, and acquisition. It is housed in several different places, including the Sir Hermann Black Gallery and the War Memorial Art Gallery.

Rare Books Library
The Rare Books Library is a part of the Fisher Library and holds 185,000 books and manuscripts which are rare, valuable or fragile, including eighty medieval manuscripts, works by Galileo, Halley and Copernicus and an extensive collection of Australiana. The copy of the Gospel of Barnabas, and the first edition of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Sir Isaac Newton are held here. Regular exhibitions of rare books are held in the exhibition room.

Residential colleges
St Andrew's 
St John's 
St Paul's 
Sancta Sophia 
The Women's College 
Mandelbaum House 
International House, University of Sydney 
In 2003, the University completed the Sydney University Village, consisting of studio and apartment accommodation operated by a private company on behalf of the university. There is also a university-affiliated housing cooperative, the Stucco Co-operative.

Student organisations, clubs and activities
Politically and academically, undergraduate students are represented by the Students Representative Council (SRC) and postgraduate students by the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA) [1].

Orientation Week at the University of Sydney is organised by the Union.
The University of Sydney Union provides student services and amenities and supports the university's strong debating, dramatic, and cultural traditions, through over a hundred clubs and societies.

Sydney University Sport [2] provides sport and recreation facilities and supports over 40 sporting clubs.

The future of these organisations is under a shadow with the passage of legislation implementing voluntary student unionism in late 2005. Such legislation will prohibit the compulsory collection of fees by students who enrol for the first time in the second semester of 2006 and all students from the beginning of 2007.

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Sydney University Football Club [3], founded in 1863, is the oldest rugby union club in Australia. The club was a member of the inaugural Sydney club competition in 1874. The club currently competes in the NSWRU competition and in 2005 claimed the Tooheys New Cup, senior and colts club championships and were runners up in the Shute Shield. Current Wallabies playing for the club include Daniel Vickerman, Phil Waugh, Brendan Cannon, David Lyons, David Fitter, Alister Campbell and Alex Kanaar. In all 101 Sydney University players have been selected to play for Australia.[4]

The University fielded a rugby league team in the New South Wales Rugby League's Sydney premiership from 1920 to 1937. It currently competes in the NSW Tertiary Student Rugby League competition.

The University soccer football club [5], founded in 1946 fields teams for both elite and social players in men's and women's junior and senior competitions.

↑ Facts and Figures - About the University 
↑ Australian Research Council (ARC) - Statistical overview by research organisation 
↑ Royal Charter of the University of Sydney 
↑ Colleges - About the University 

Williams, Bruce. Liberal education and useful knowledge: a brief history of the University of Sydney, 1850-2000, Chancellor's Committee, University of Sydney, 2002. ISBN 1864874392 

University of Sydney Colleges 
St Andrews College| St John's College | St Paul's College | Sancta Sophia College | Wesley College
The Women's College | Mendelbaum House | International House

Universities in Australia
Adelaide | Australian Catholic | Australian National | Ballarat | Bond | Canberra | Central Queensland | Charles Darwin | Charles Sturt | Curtin | Deakin | Edith Cowan | Flinders | Griffith | James Cook | La Trobe | Macquarie | Melbourne | Monash | Murdoch | New England | New South Wales | Newcastle | Notre Dame | Queensland | QUT | RMIT | South Australia | Southern Cross | Southern Queensland | Sunshine Coast | Swinburne | Sydney | Tasmania | UTS | Victoria | Western Australia | Western Sydney | Wollongong

Group of Eight
University of Adelaide | Australian National University | University of Melbourne | Monash University | University of New South Wales | University of Queensland | University of Sydney | University of Western Australia