The Quadrangle

Building the Quadrangle

Stage 1: 1854 - 1862

The main phases of the Quadrangle's construction were between 1854 and 1966. This webpage covers stage 1 - the period between 1854 and 1862:


Pictures below are courtesy of the University of Sydney Archives. Click images for enlargement.


The Great Hall and East range, 1854 - 1862

Architect: Edmund Blacket
Style: Tudor Gothic


While Edmund Blacket, Colonial Architect, envisaged that an enclosed Quadrangle would eventually be built, the initial phase constructed to his designs, approved by Senate in 1854, comprised the Great Hall and East range, which were built between 1854 and 1862.

Work on ground clearing and laying part of the foundations began by January 1855. During 1855 the walls of the Great Hall were completed to a height of 21 feet. By the end of 1856 work had commenced on the whole of the East range. It was completed and brought into use between 1857 and 1862, and officially opened to the public on 18 July 1859.

View images of the Great Hall and the East range to the present.

Stage 1


All the following photos were taken by Professor John Smith:

The Great Hall with window spaces above the doorway completed.   The Great Hall from Science Road in late 1855. Building the Clock Tower in 1859 
View of the main entrance to
the Great Hall, with window spaces
above the doorway completed,
taken between 1856 and 1859.

View of the side door to the
 Great Hall (later called
the Challis door) in late 1855.

The Tower during construction in
1859, without turrets.

 Gargoyles in 1859    Builders fence
Gargoyles in 1859,
with Professor Smith on the right
and gargoyles in various stages
of completion in the foreground.
  The rear of the completed Main
Building in 1862 with the builders'
fence still in place.


— The Great Hall

The Great Hall was officially opened on 18 July 1859.

— The East range — the northern end

The northern end of the East range of the Quadrangle was completed in late 1857 and comprised the compartment between the Great Hall and the centre Tower, with the Northern Vestibule in the centre. The elaborately carved staircase was constructed about 1860.

— The Tower

In 1860 funds which were to be used to complete the battlements of the tower were used to house Sir Charles Nicholson's collection of antiquities. However, an additional grant of 5,000 pounds from the Government saw the central Tower - the turrets, the finishing work on the several floors and the flight of steps leading into the Tower gateway - completed in 1862.

— The East range — the southern end

The southern end of the East range housed two compartments: the compartment on the other side of the Tower; and the compartment containing the laboratory at the south eastern corner of the building. These were separated by a staircase and lobby (the Southern Vestibule) and were completed in late 1857, with the staircase and lobby and the landing over the lobby completed in 1862.


View the other stages