The Quadrangle

The Vice-Chancellor's Courtyard

The Vice-Chancellor's Courtyard was created in 1927 by Professor Leslie Wilkinson, Professor of Architecture and University architect.

Photos are courtesy of the University Secretariat unless otherwise indicated.

The courtyard

The courtyard

Another view of the
courtyard -

A view of the courtyard - enlargement,
photo, copyright David White.

The courtyard

Once the Organic Chemistry Lecture theatre and the Quadrangle building between the Great Hall and the (then) proposed Western Tower had been completed by Professor Leslie Wilkinson, a small area was left behind the Vice-Chancellor's wing which was bordered on all four sides by buildings of different periods and architectural styles:

  • the Chemistry Lecture Theatres and Laboratory (1890) (now Pharmacy)
  • the Organic Chemistry Laboratory (1917) (now Administration)
  • the Organic Chemistry Lecture Theatre (1922) (now GLT1)
  • the Vice-Chancellor's wing (1924)

View an image of the area before it was turned into a courtyard.

Professor Wilkinson put forward plans for the layout of the Vice-Chancellor's courtyard which were approved in October 1926.

  • Paths of re-used stone (probably from Darlinghurst Gaol) were laid in the small quadrangle in about 1927.
  • At the request of Sir Mungo MacCallum, the Vice-Chancellor, a garden was designed by Professor E G Waterhouse and included azaleas, fuchsias in black and white tubs, camellias, hydrangeas, oleanders and Christmas bush.
  • Professor Wilkinson also modified the walls of the earlier buildings so that all walls bordering the courtyard matched the more Mediterranean character he had created in Science Road - stuccoed brick with stone detailing and small paned windows.
Courtyard courtyard

Facing the wall of the former Organic
Chemistry laboratory, now
Administration -

Facing the former Vice-Chancellor's
wing, with the University's arms on the wall -

c c

Facing the Prince of Wales' doorway
at the end of the former
Vice-Chancellor's wing, with General
Lecture Theatre 1 (formerly
the Chemistry Lecture Theatre) on the right -

Facing the wall of General Lecture Theatre 1 -

Read a biography of Leslie Wilkinson, professor of architecture
Read about Professor Eben Gowrie Waterhouse

Three bronze sculptures

There are three bronze sculptures in the Vice-Chancellor's Courtyard:

  • statue of Mercury
  • statue of Fortuna
  • a copy of the 1989 bronze entitled "Horse" , given by the artist Shona Nunan.

View images and information about the three sculptures.

The Prince of Wales' doorway

The Prince of Wales's feathers form his heraldic badge. They appear above a doorway into the Vice-Chancellor's garden - with the date "23 June" and "1920" on either side of the badge, when the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) visited the University and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws ad eundem gradum at the ceremony in the Great Hall.

This memorialises the spot below which the Prince of Wales addressed the undergraduate students following the conferrring ceremony.

The badge comprises three silver (or white) feathers rising through a gold coronet of alternate crosses and fleur-de-lys. The motto "Ich Dien" (I serve) is on a dark blue ribbon beneath the coronet. Its use in royal heraldry goes back to the time of Edward Prince of Wales (the Black Prince) in the 14th century.

View image.
Read about the Prince of Wales's feathers
Read about the Prince of Wales' visit to the University in 1920.


Underneath the Prince of
Wales's feathers, the year 1924 is
carved representing
the year when the Vice-Chancellor's
wing was completed -