University anniversaries

Sesquicentenary 1999-2002

Official opening of the heritage stairs linking the University of Sydney Campus with Victoria Park

The University of Sydney Sesquicentenary celebrations commenced in 1999 and commemorated various important phases in the foundation of the University.

Sesquicentenary Celebration Day was held on 13 October 2002 to celebrate the inauguration of the University of Sydney. It was a celebratory, festive day encompassing a multiplicity of events for alumni, students and friends of the University and the general public to experience and enjoy the University.

At one event , the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Chancellor joined the Mayor of South Sydney Council in a ribbon cutting ceremony to declare "open" the new heritage stairs linking Victoria Park and the University. This completed the re-establishment of the historic vista from the Quadrangle Clocktower to the University's original entrance on City Road.

View photos of this ceremony.


The University was delighted by the opportunity to build the terrace and stairs linking the University of Sydney Campus with Victoria Park. This was made possible by a collaborative and visionary local Council and their decision to renovate the park.

The aim of the project to build the terrace and stairs linking the University of Sydney campus with Victoria Park was to transform the main ceremonial entrance of the University, linking the campus to Victoria Park and reinstate the historic vista from the Quadrangle clock tower to the University's entrance on City Road.

The project, to re-establish a landscape feature of considerable heritage significance to the University, was undertaken as part of the University's Sesquicentenary celebrations.

The work on the stairs followed the work undertaken by South Sydney Council in Victoria Park where a pedestrian boulevard now follows the original vehicular route to the boundary of the University.

A feature of this project was the pedestrian terrace which provides a major visual focus for pedestrians and drivers entering the campus.

Sandstone walls and steps were used in the design of the terrace to retain the level change between the University and Victoria Park. The feature defines the Victoria Park boundary and creates a welcoming and grand public entrance to the University. It affords panoramic views over the park and provides a place for pedestrians to pause and appreciate both the University's Quadrangle clock tower at the top of the vista and the magnificent Victoria Park.

The project aimed to complement the historic Victorian character of the setting with careful consideration to scale, symmetry, materials selection and detailing of existing site attributes.

A new gatehouse was installed as part of the project. While contemporary in design the gatehouse incorporated sandstone cladding and a copper roof to embody the materials of existing buildings. Identical new gatehouses were built at Ross Street and City Road entrances.

The road was reconstructed along the existing alignment while new footpaths were located further away from the roadway to achieve a more sympathetic design and a more desirable pedestrian route. New replica heritage lights were installed.