Students at the University of Sydney

Students and World War I

Over 1800 members of the University were engaged in active military or naval service in World War I. In addition to graduates and University staff, a large number were undergraduate students.

The women students of the University formed an organisation for women's work in connection with the Red Cross and other services, and rendered valuable assistance.

Of those who enlisted, 197 gave their lives. Over 240 decorations were won, including one Victoria Cross awarded to Lieut. Percy Valentine Storkey, a student in the Faculty of Law.

Garden Party, 29 October 1919

A garden party to welcome returned University soldiers was given by the Chancellor and members of the Senate at the University on 29 October 1919, when the University Library (now MacLaurin Hall) and Laboratories were thrown open to the visitors.

The Chancellor (Sir William Cullen) and Lady Cullen received the guests on the inner lawn, and were assisted by the Vice-Chancellor Justice David Ferguson. There were over 100 of the men present, nearly all in uniform, with their relatives and friends.

After the reception, the visitors adjourned indoors to witness a performance of "The Wheel Heaver", a Wessex one-act play presented by members of the Sydney University Dramatic Society. An organ recital was given and the Sydney University Scouts' Military Band and the Metropolitan Band played. Tea was served in the Great Hall and in the cloisters.


Photos are from The Sydney Mail, 5 November 1919, Google News Archive.

Click on image for enlargement.

The Chancellor receiving the guests

The Chancellor receiving the guests.

"The Wheel Heaver"

The kitchen scene from the play "The Wheel Heaver", photo, Hermes, December 1919, University of Sydney Archives.

"The Wheel Heaver"

The characters in "The Wheel Heaver": Miller Spurdle (Ross Smith), Simon Kynaston (W H MAtheson) and Deborah Cary (Lelie Coppola), photo, Hermes, December 1919, University of Sydney Archives.

Afternoon tea in the cloisters
Afternoon tea in the cloisters

Afternoon tea in the cloisters

The Garden Party

From left: The Registrar Mr Barff, Professor McCallum and Chancellor Sir William Cullen.