Inauguration of the University

The University of Sydney was inaugurated on 11 October 1852 in premises formerly belonging to Sydney College, now Sydney Grammar School. The ceremony was reported in detail in the Illustrated London News on 29 January 1853.

Inauguration of the University

The Governor of New South Wales' chair had a shield bearing the Royal Arms above it, with the arms of Oxford University to the right and those of Cambridge University to the left. Above the chair of Dr Woolley, Principal of the new university, were the arms of his old college, University College, Oxford.

The new university was represented by a blank white shield, bearing the motto "I will achieve." This, in the best traditions of heraldic puns, plays upon the notion of an achievement of arms as well as the idea of attaining a goal. The hope and expectation of achievement is enhanced by the white shield, as if it were a blank canvas ready to be filled.

A common seal, pictorial in nature, had been adopted in 1851, and served as a symbolic representation of the institution until the granting of the arms.