gargoyles and curtain walls


Sydney University, photo by Frank Hurley, late 1940s


Chemistry has been at Sydney University from the start, that is, for 160 years, and in that time has had three long-term homes. First, there were rooms at the southern end of the Main Building and then, from 1890, a specially designed building in Science Road. With additions, the Science Road complex served Chemistry for the next 68 years. By early 1959, the present building was ready for occupation and was officially opened at a ceremony held in June the following year.

Among the articles in this collection is an account of the construction of the building, printed here with Frank Hurley's fine aerial photo of the University taken in the late 1940s (above) and, on the inside front cover, a bird's-eye-view map drawn in the early 1950s, not long before planning began on the new building.

Much has changed in the past half-century. Mainly, what was open space then is now largely covered by buildings, reflecting a 5-fold increase in student numbers and a massive expansion of the courses on offer. It has been a challenging time, for staff and students alike – and the challenges continue.


Dr Jim Eckert


plan of sydney university and grounds, 1951

Click on map to enlarge