toastracks and air-raid shelters
Main Building and Great Hall, sketch by Allan Gamble, 1975
The University's great East Range was built in the 1850s. Yet, when lectures moved there from the City, the total student enrolment was only 50 and there was no guarantee when (or if) the number would get much bigger. The whole enterprise has been called "an audacious act of Victorian optimism" and it was certainly that.
At the top of this page, the drawing, of the Main building and Great Hall, is unmistakably the work of Allan Gamble who was on the University's staff for many years, first as a Senior Lecturer in Architecture, later as a member of the Administrative Staff and Director of the War Memorial Art Gallery. More of his evocative sketches are to be found in the first of the articles presented here.
Among the pieces that follow, the students at the University a hundred years ago are recalled and so too the "toastracks" that once carried Sydneysiders around this City. There is an article on the University during two World Wars, a look at three photos from the University Archives that span almost half a Century and a piece on the University in the 1960s, a time of Brutalist architecture and massive anti-war demonstrations. The collection concludes with glimpses of Sydney at the turn of last Century.
My thanks to the Chemistry School's Anne Woods and to the people at the University Archives.
Dr Jim Eckert