Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University

Botany Lawn


Leslie Wilkinson and Eben Gowrie Waterhouse.


Science Road








Successful as a background feature.

1924 Professor Leslie Wilkinson

Part of Leslie Wilkinson's Masterplan for the University and its grounds, to bring into unity previously disparate elements of various periods, the Botany Building is substantial and notable example of Wilkinson's work in the style of the original University buildings. The building is also an example of those aspects of Wilkinson's work which brought him into conflict with the University, a building whose plans were not submitted for approval to the Building and Grounds Committee and which provided comparatively little accommodation for considerable cost. Designed to be viewed from both Parramatta Road and to complement the Great Hall, the Botany Building, built to screen the utilitarian Macleay Museum, continues the Gothic Revival style within the main building precinct of the University of Sydney. Indicating further diversification of the teaching within the university and the need to purpose built laboratories. An example of the Gothic revival buildings designed and carefully detailed by professor Wilkinson.

In November 1923 the Building and Grounds Committee recommended that a Botanical laboratory be built at the east end of the Macleay Museum (part of which was already used by Botany) in line with the 1920 Master Plan for the University. Plans prepared in 1924 by Professor Leslie Wilkinson provided for the style of the Main Quadrangle to be continued in the new building, hiding the bulk of the Macleay Museum, with a connecting archway across Science Road. Of elaborate external design the addition was only one room deep, with a 1st year laboratory and room for collections on the ground floor and 2nd and 3rd year laboratories and herbarium on the first floor. Only the unfinished buttresses of the archway over Science Road were built in 1924-1925. The bridge was built in 1956-1958 as the War Memorial Gallery and the Roll of Honour placed beside the Botany entrance.

James Kerr described the building as being brick with a sandstone skin and slate roof. The north east gable window has perpendicular tracery. Elsewhere mullion and transom detailing of the windows has been used, and together with the oriel presents a Late Gothic/Elizabethan character. The building is only one room thick across the facade of the Macleay Museum. There are no interiors of special merit, although the entrance lobby on the south east corner has a modest late medieval atmosphere with a chamfered beam and joists. The former supported by a simple stone corbel. The walls are rendered and there is a Tudor Revival fireplace. The floor has been quarry tiled.

1956-58 Science Road Bridge added.