The Quadrangle

The Nicholson Gateway and Vestibule

The East range and Fisher Library were linked by the South range, which included the Nicholson Gateway and Vestibule, between 1913 and 1918.

Images are courtesy of the University Secretariat unless otherwise indicated.

The Nicholson Gateway

The ornately carved south face of the Nicholson gateway, part of the South range, was constructed between 1913 and 1918 and at the time was the only main entrance to the Quadrangle other than that in the East range.

The carvings and other decorations were a memorial for World War I and the contribution of the University to the fighting forces.

The south face of the Nicholson gateway

The south face of the Nicholson gateway

The Nicholson Gateway with MacLaurin Hall to the left - enlargement,
photo, 2008 University Annual Report.

The Nicholson Gateway - enlargement,
photo, copyright David White

Decorative features include:

  • two lion grotesques standing guard on either side of the entrance and supporting the shield from the Royal arms - one pictured below.
  • a lion finial, also supporting the shield from the Royal arms, stands on the roof gable - view image.
  • gargoyles - unusual, fantastic, mythical or eerie carved creatures - see below.
  • grotesques above the arch - see below and view images.
  • grotesques on either side of stairs further down from the Gateway - view images.
  • on the arch, bosses of symbols representing various fields of university study, including law, medicine, engineering and music - view images.
  • carved faces of early University figures - view images.
  • the Royal arms and coats of arms of governors of the time - see one below and view image.
Lion A gargoyle Another gargoyle

A lion on the left of the
Gateway entrance -


A gargoyle
on the Gateway -

Another gargoyle
on the Gateway -

Grotesque Arms of Sir Gerald Strickland

One of a number of grotesques
above the arch -

The coat of arms of Sir Gerald
Strickland, Governor of NSW
1913-17 on the Gateway -

The Nicholson Vestibule

The Nicholson Vestibule features the following:

  • elaborately carved vaulted ceilings, with symbols representing mythical creatures and various fields of University study - see below and view more images and information.
  • the entrance to the Nicholson Museum - view images and information about the Museum.
  • a marble statue of a Roman Republican from the first century BC, part of the original collection donated to the University by Sir Charles Nicholson - find out more.
  • a carved stone staircase leading upstairs to the Professorial Board Room and MacLaurin Hall - see below.
  • two grotesques - one at the foot and the other at the top of the stairs - view images.
  • stained glass windows above and on either side of the Gateway's entrance door, and on the landing above - see below.
  • three stained glass windows above the stairwell which were installed in 1920 and were memorials to the army and navy of World War I, and to Sir Henry Normand MacLaurin - see below and view all images and information.
The ceiling above the foyer  Stained glass in the foyer Elaborate carving on the stairs

The vaulted ceiling
decorated with bosses
above the stained
glass window in the foyer -

Detail of the
stained glass
in the foyer -

Elaborate carving on the stairs -

The top of the MacLaurin stained glass window stairs Stained glass


The top of the MacLaurin stained
glass window on
the staircase -
view the full window


The landing above the stairs
leading to the Professorial Board
Room on the left and the
MacLaurin Hall on the right -

A stained glass window
on the landing -

The ceiling over the stairs A grotesque boss on the ceiling above the stairs

The vaulted ceiling 
above the stairscase -

A grotesque boss
on the ceiling
above the stairs -