Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University

Manning House former Women's Union


Bertrand James Waterhouse and Hugh Venable Vernon, 1914, Leslie Wilkinson 1919, Cobden Parkes 1939, Lindsay Thompson (NSWGA) 1956-63, Scott Carver 2000.


Manning Road




Federation Arts and Crafts


brick, etc.


Student Union building, housing bar, cafeteria, etc.
The first permanent facilities built for women students. Important in the development of facilities for students. Run by its own Board of Directors. Associated with many notable women, some of whom were commemorated in the naming of rooms in the building. Continuing the Gothic Revival vocabulary established in the 1850's by Blacket and continued by the Colonial and subsequently the Government Architects.

The first women students were admitted to the University of Sydney in 1882 and in 1889 a temporary building in the south-east corner of the quadrangle was made available as a women's common room. When plans for a new union building for men were under discussion in 1913 the Senate recommended that a union building also be constructed for women and that the two unions share a dining room. The latter proposal was firmly opposed by the men. The site for a women's union was chosen in 1914 and funds voted by the Senate. Part of a design by the architectural firm of Waterhouse & Vernon was built in 1916-1917, providing a common room, reading room and assembly hall with a temporary dining hall in a weatherboard extension. Manning House, named after Sir William Manning, the Chancellor who had initiated the opening of the University to women, was opened on 26 March 1917. Additions in 1941 by the Government Architect and 1956-1957 and 1962-1963 by Thompson, Spooner & Dixon provided much enlarged accommodation, in particular dining and refreshment facilities. These additions were demolished in 1999 prior to redevelopment. On 1 January 1972 the men's and women's unions amalgamated as the University of Sydney Union.

Manning House is a two storey Gothic Revival style building with sandstone dressings. The details of the building are quite eclectic. The overall form and the majority of the detailing appears to be inspired by English vernacular Gothic Buildings such as manor houses and is domestic in scale and character. The porch is two storey with a curved oriel window over it, supported on a bracket occurring over the arch to the porch. The oriel and bay windows feature very plain sandstone transoms and mullions. The sashes are metal (confirm). The gable does not feature a traditional stone coping, rather a brick detail has been employed. It is now known if the detailing was changed due to wartime constraints. Recently the modern accretions to the building have been removed, leaving the c.1917 portion.