Sydney Architecture Images-  Sydney University

Vice Chancellor's Quadrangle, University of Sydney


Wilson, Neave & Berry 1923-24, Leslie Wilkinson 1926, E G Waterhouse 1927


To the north-west of the Main Quadrangle, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006 Science Road




Victorian Tudor




  very important "in between" space. Successful.
The Vice Chancellor’s quadrangle is an excellent example of a quadrangle continuing the collegiate model established by the main quadrangle. It is an integral part of the extensive collection of Gothic Revival buildings, probably the finest in Australia. 
Retaining evidence of its landscaping and planting, the garden is a fine example of the work of E. B Waterhouse, a camellia expert and staff member who made substantial contributions to the improvement of the Campus. 
Containing the statues of Mercury and Fortuna, part of one of the most notable collections of art to be sold in Sydney in the late nineteenth century, acquired for the University by Allan Gamble. 
The quadrangle continues to be used for the exhibition of art works.

A landscaped quadrangle surrounded by the roughcast elevations designed or substantially modified by Professor Leslie Wilkinson. 
The character of the plantings, the mature trees, the paving & sculptures all contribute to making this area one of the most pleasant landscaped areas of the campus.


Leslie Wilkinson's work in the early 1920s brought into a semblance of unified design the small area surrounded by buildings of different periods and architectural styles, which was to become known as the Vice-Chancellor's quadrangle. This was further enhanced in the later 1920s by planting and paths. Proposals for the creation of small scale areas of visual interest or 'courts' were advocated by the University Architect, Professor Leslie Wilkinson in the early 1920s as an integral element of his concept for the improvement of the grounds. Plans by Wilkinson for the layout of the grounds at the east end of Science Road were approved in October 1926 and paths of re-used stone (probably from Darlinghurst Gaol) were laid in the small quadrangle in about 1927. At the request of Sir Mungo MacCallum, the Vice-Chancellor, a garden was designed by Professor E G Waterhouse and included azaleas, fuchsias in black and white tubs, camellias, hydrangeas, oleanders and Christmas bush. The design had many features in common with Waterhouse's own garden at Eryldene (itself influenced by his mentor W Hardy Wilson) and with sketch plans prepared by Leslie Wilkinson with Wilson, Neave & Berry when designing the north-west corner of the main quadrangle in 1923-1924. 

Two statues of Mercury and Fortuna were added to the garden in 1952. These had previously stood on the parapet of a row of shops on George Street West and were acquired for the University by Allan Gamble when the shops were to be demolished. The statues, both signed 'Jean Bologne' are probably French copies of the work of the Italian Renaissance sculptor Giovanni Bologna and were auctioned in Sydney by Lawsons in December 1887 as part of a sale of works of art from Irish country houses. Other works of art have been added to the quadrangle subsequently. 

The fours sides of the Vice-Chancellor's quadrangle are formed by: 
- the chemistry laboratory built in 1888 (west side) and altered in 1924 
- the organic chemistry department built in 1915-1917 and altered in 1921 & 1923-1924 (north side) 
- the organic chemistry lecture theatre and laboratory built in 1921-1922 (south side) 
- the north-west corner of the main quadrangle built in 1923-1924 (east side) 
Within the quadrangle is the balance room, built in about 1905 for the chemistry laboratory.

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